Usual caution applies, but of the two polls published today, one in the Sunday Independent, the other in the Sunday Business Post, the one with more value to observers is the long-running tracking poll in the Post, as compiled by Red C. The tracking poll confirms a continuing, if slight, downward drift in first preferences for Fianna Fail and a significant boost for Fine Gael which leaves the prospective coalitions neck and neck on 38% each. The other parties show mixed fortunes with the Green party reaching 9% for the first time and Sinn Féin, who last month appeared to receive a bounce from coverage of the NI elections, losing most of that gain, 2 points – falling back to 8%. Red C’s director Richard Colwell gives his analysis hereRed C’s figures, of those expressing a preference
Fianna Fail 35% (-1)
Fine Gael 27% (+4)
Labour 11% (-1)
Green Party 9% (+1)
Sinn Féin 8% (-2)
Progressive Democrats 3% (no change)
Indepedents 7% (-1)
The above figures do not seem to include a growing number of undecided voters
Undecided 20% (+5)
More from Richard Colwell
When we examine the three-month rolling trend data, the figures are not good news for Fianna Fail, with a downward trend since the high levels of support seen in January after the budget. On the other hand, Fine Gael has finally pulled away from the 22 per cent support it has been stalled on for the past three months, rising to 24 per cent on the past three months’ rolling figures.
The other gain is for the Green Party breaking the 9 per cent support level for the first time. The Sunday Business Post/ Red C polls also isolate those most likely to vote, as this is a good indication of voting behaviour among those who will definitely turn out to vote. The picture among this key group is slightly more positive for Fianna Fail, which takes 36 per cent of the vote, but Fine Gael still holds on to 27 per cent. Sinn Fein falls back further among this group, while the Green Party hits double digits at 10 per cent.
This poll is also interesting in that the level of undecided voters has actually increased, with 20 per cent undecided, versus 15 per cent last month. This may explain such a dramatic rise for Fine Gael, though it does not take away from the party’s gains. It also suggests the events of the last few weeks have left people even more unsure than they were beforehand, creating a big group of voters still to play for in the next three to four weeks.