Here’s the latest figures from the Irish Times Ipsos /MRBI poll…
Fine Gael: 26%
Sinn Féin: 23%
Fianna Fáil: 22%
Right about now is when Labour party activists should be hitting the panic like hell button. As Adrian Kavanagh notes, the party has not seen ratings like this in twenty five years, though it has to be said, the change is right on the margin of error.
Labour’s absences, as noticed by Miriam Lord, from the National Ploughing Championship is likely just symptomatic of bad feeling building up inside a party who’s leadership is not yet focused on the terrible fire sale that may lie ahead.
Of the rest, the only other statistically significant change is the drop in Fianna Fail’s rating from 26% down to 22%, and independents who rise within their customary corridor to 21%.
The wicked genius of FG was divide the Ministry of Finance in two and give Labour the hard task of public sector reform (erm, that’s spending cuts to you and I), whilst Michael Noonan took the glory for various deals some of which took his natural machine guile and others arising from the realisation at the ECB that you can bleed a thing to death.
The Seanad Referendum has been a good gig for Enda and Fine Gael, which is borne out in the figures of the poll. Damian Loscher comments:
Fine Gael’s stance on the referendum is broadly in tune with public opinion. While it is viewed as cynical and populist by some, the majority of voters back the proposal to abolish the Seanad (62 per cent in favour). Overwhelmingly, Fine Gael voters (77 per cent) are intending to vote Yes.
Good news for Sinn Fein. Yes, undoubtedly. And not just in their contention in the twenties with the big boys, but it also shows they are demographically strongest with new voters by some way:
They register 23 per cent support in today’s poll, a gain of two points, and are especially strong among those aged 18-34 (32 per cent support), where they are the party of choice by some distance.