We don’t touch on every poll that comes out (and I’m not sure we even blogged Fianna Fail on 33%). [Hold on, Declan says you did! – Ed]. But this one is interesting if only in that it confirms that the loose political peloton formation that was such a feature of polls during the last government hasn’t gone away:
Fine Gael, 26 per cent (up two points); Fianna Fáil, 26 per cent (down seven points); Labour, 5 per cent (no change); Sinn Féin, 19 per cent (up three) and Independents/ Others, 24 per cent (up two).
Seven points is a big drop in anyone’s language, but I’d view the last result as an outlier for Fianna Fail. And yet the detail in the poll is interesting, particularly with regard to the two traditionally bigger parties:
At 26 per cent, support for Fine Gael is only up marginally on the election but it will be some relief to the party that it has drawn level with Fianna Fáil after falling well behind its rival in the last poll.
Fine Gael will also be encouraged by the fact that at 28 per cent it is well ahead of other parties in Dublin with twice the level of support obtained by Fianna Fáil in the capital.
It does not fare as well in the rest of Leinster and Munster where it is well behind Fianna Fáil but the two parties are neck and neck in Connacht-Ulster.
As for the others…
Sinn Féin is up three points since the last poll and is now well ahead of its general election performance of last February. However, this is a repeat of the pattern that applied after the 2011 general election.
Support for Independents and smaller parties has increased since July but is down on their general election performance.
In truth, this poll represents (with the exception of SF, who tend to under-poll, as FF over-polls, in actual elections) a calm return to the results of February. But with the stock of all four major political leaders dropping:
Note these aren’t comparative figures (a common mistake amongst commentators), it’s more how each correspondent rates in their own performance as leader. As such they are much more volatile than say the core figures for each party.
But interesting that they are all falling after the Summer. That may reverse once the Dail season is fully under way.
Long term, Fianna Fail is doing better, by five or six points, than last term, but 26% is exactly where it fell to in the very immediate aftermath of the bank bailout. They have a long way to go: particularly amongst the C1s and C2s in Dublin burned in the crash.
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