Sinn Féin vote stalls in Irish Republic but future could still be Green

The result of a poll Millward Brown IMS in the Sunday Tribune (subs needed) puts Sinn Féin at 8%, down one percentage point from the last equivalent poll in November 2005 and just one per cent higher than its general election result in 2002. Fianna Fáil is still unchanged at 37% and Fine Gael is up two to 26%. Labour is stalled at 12%, up just one per cent on four years ago while the PDs at 4% and the Greens on 5% are unchanged.

It seems that while 52% of voters were dissatisfied with the Government’s performance, compared to 43% who were satisfied. Bertie Ahern is still FF’s best asset. When asked who they wanted as Taoiseach, exactly 50% of the electorate opted for Bertie Ahern, while 29% chose the Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny. 14% wanted neither and 7% did not know.

Former PD leader Mary Harney appears to have got out just in time with her satisfaction rating in freefall, down five percentage points to 38%. Gerry Adams’ rating is down seven to 41% although his high figure last November came in the wake of the announcement on IRA decomissioning.

As things stand, it seems FF are still in with a strong chance of forming a coalition government but both FG-Lab and FF-PD would most likely fall short of the necessary 83 seats. It seems the Green Party could be the kingmakers.

Trevor Sargent, leader of the Green Party and a man who received a 37 per cent “don’t know” in the polls satisfaction ratings, said at his party’s autumn think-in in Wicklow last week that his opposition to a coalition with Fianna Fail after the next election has ‘‘not changed one iota’’, despite his declaration that he saw little difference between the Fine Gael-Labour alternative and the current government.

Sargent previously said he would not stay on as leader if the Greens decided to join a coalition with FF but some members believe it should negotiate the best deal it can for government, irrespective of who its partners might be. The Green Party’s agreed position is that it has not ruled out any coalition option at this point.

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