Second poll shows Fine Gael ahead by twice the margin of any other southern party…

Usual caveats and health warnings attach to’s poll for political preferences in today’s Sunday Times. It’s the youngest of all three polls and probably the most erratic. It was first to show a bounce for Sinn Fein and now shows a significant drop in sentiment for that party just days after the more established Irish Times poll showed a significant leap.

What it does demonstrate is the party with most consistent support (despite some seriously dropped ball) is Fine Gael. For some reason, the Greens (who have no TDs in this Dail) get a 5% rating. Labour are on 14%, which like the Irish Times poll means they are close to their traditional pre Gale support (and where they’ve been in most polls since last October).

Fianna Fail remain steady as do the Independents.

The only big move is a drop for Sinn Fein to 16% from 25% (see Paul’s correction in the comments below) in a similar poll in February. The analysis being offered for this is that it’s a big drop in their rating. Hard to see that there’s not some outlier effect on both these polls (unless someone else can proffer an explanation.

Otherwise, it seems that SF is experiencing huge mood swings in public opinion, maybe because it is not easy to ascertain what the party is actually standing for, other than arguing against almost anything the government proposes. One of the reasons Labour is suffering now is that it’s surge in the polls was based on promises made to the public that found it could not keep in coalition with FG.

The good news for them is that they remain bundled with two parties that were formerly much bigger than them in the Dail. The bad news is that the people are as volatile as hell…

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty