“For the Green Party, the news just keeps getting better and better”

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.

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  • SuperSoupy

    The Sindo is class. They managed to do that entire article without actually mentioning Sinn Féin’s percentage. Every other party has it’s figure mentioned.

  • good forensics supersoupy

    What’s the chances of McDowell not being in Gov’t after the Gen election: based on these polls?

    If the minor parties joined together to form the Independent progressive green sinn fein democratic labour party they’d have 38% between them and be serious contenders.
    Just a thought.

  • kokane

    A question the opinion polls never seem to ask is “Who would make the best taioseach or however you spell it. They always ask satisfaction with party leader – which avoids direct comparison. Or have I missed this?

    Whats the chance of the boy Grizzly coming out on top if they asked the first question. He never drops his H’s and would ate Bertie or the bozo Enda alive in a debate.

  • sammaguire

    My money’s on a FF/SF coalition. Of course neither party will have a good word to say about the other prior to the election but I can still see it happening.

  • páid

    Don’t agree koke.

    The bearded one looks very wobbly talking about anything other than the process.

    Opinion polls for the ROI should be treated with (even) more scepticism than those for GB. This is because of the nature of multi-seat constituencies, tactical voting and personal relationships.

    Neatly described once as 42 mini general elections.

  • Mick Fealty

    On the popularity of leaders and their parties:

    According to Clifford Smyth’s 1987 biography of Ian Paisley, the University of Lancaster carried out a piece of research in 1966 that put the core support for Ian Paisley at or about 200,000. A figure he broke for the first time in a real poll in the 1984 Euro election. It took his own party a further 19 years before it was able to break that same figure.

    Adams clearly has real star quality when it comes to the camera (even if, at times, he seems to have a very poor grasp of policy detail, and an especially poor grasp of economic issues), but I don’t need to tell the SF activist regulars here that gaining real power will take hard graft, constituency by constituency.

    The truth is that SF don’t yet register on the issues concerning most people in the Republic. That is largely a function of still having too small a team in the Oireachtas to matter when it comes to electoral horse trading. If they can push their representation up to 10 plus, that could change dramatically (whether they join the government, or not).

  • If the minor parties joined together to form the Independent progressive green sinn fein democratic labour party they’d have 38% between them and be serious contenders.

    That’s more or less what happened in 1948 and it wasn’t a happy experiment…

  • Valenciano

    Sammy, don’t know if that analogy is a good one – first it was 60 years ago and secondly that coalition brought together a far more disparate bunch who had often little in common with each other, other than to be an “anyone but Fianna Fail” ticket. Labour, the Greens, Sinn Fein and Independents like Gregory could certainly come to a workable understanding on policies, although I really couldn’t envisage the PDs becoming involved. Would the ex-sticks in Labour buy it though?

  • I really couldn’t envisage the PDs becoming involved. Would the ex-sticks in Labour buy it though?

    Those were the two things that screamed ‘1948’ at me, Val.

  • Wilde Rover

    I can’t help thinking that if the IRA had called a ceasefire in 1984 instead of 1994 Sinn Fein could have caught that whole Celtic Tiger wave and established themselves in the Republic before their potential voters had realized the planet was going down the shitter and decided to vote for the other Green.

    I guess karma’s a bitch.

  • Brian Boru

    Think this will be the most competitive election since 1997 or maybe even 1982. I expect FF to fall to 66 seats, FG to rise but to fail to get many seats they should be taking due to running too many candidates in some constituencies like Clare and Louth. Labour will stay the same or even lose 1 seat. I think the PDs will poll about the same as last time but lose a few seats – after which Liz O’Donnell will take over as leader. SF and the Greens I expect to get 9-10 seats. However SF seems to be flatlining from the heady days of 10-12%. Both this and the IMS poll has them on 8%. Even so I think the odds are heavily in favour of 1-2 gains in Donegal. I think we cannot rule out a FF-SF govt despite the denials from the former.

    Obstacles to FG increasing it’s seat tally include:

    A: 2 many 3-seaters in which even a big decline in the FF-vote may not be enough to get one for FG e.g. Cork North Central seems to be such a constituency judging by the latest poll where a 10% drop in the FF vote still comfortable holds 2 FF seats.

    B: Running too many candidates in some places e.g. Louth, Clare. 2 recent polls in Clare deny FG a second seat because of the decision to run 4 candidates in a 4-seater constituency. In Louth 1 poll suggests FG will only get 1 seat in Louth (Mairead McGuinness) at their own expense (Fergus O’Dowd). The decision to run 3 candidates here is the reason.

    C: 2 local polls in Carlow-Kilkenny has the party failing to increase its tally from 1. The Greens however are likely to get one (Deputy leader Mary White).

    I expect them to make 3 gains in Dublin though.