Polls show Euro election picture is as clear as mud

World of Politics with Harry McGee

Politicians say publicly they pay no heed to polls. The only poll that matters, so the cliche goes, is the one that happens on election day.

The reality is different. On the week of an opinion poll in The Irish Times, if politicians get wind of it, they will be quick to get onto you to see if they can wrangle the results from you before publication. Once it’s published, they will be on once more, to see if you can provide any breakdown.

Sometimes, these will be the same people who will go on radio to say they have no interest whatsoever, nada, in the stuff that was published.

Late last week, over three days, we published three very fascinating sets of findings from opinion polls we had conducted.

The first was the state of the parties. The story here was Sinn Féin. There was a widespread view that its really high showings since the 2020 election might be overstated. But the finding form the Ipsos poll last week was dramatic. In July 2022, its support levels hit a dizzy 36 per cent. Even last September it was still at 34 percent.

After a succession of falls, the latest poll last week put its support levels at 23 percent. It is dramatic, there is no way about it.

By contrast, Fine Gael had risen to 23 per cent, in equal footing with Sinn Féin.

Fianna Fáil is back at 20 per cent; more or less where it has been for some time. The latter has dipped a few times since the 2020 election, at one stage recording only 14 per cent support levels. This is the first time since 2021 that Fine Gael has been level or ahead of Sinn Féin.

The other parties were at five per cent (Labour), four (Greens) and below that for the others. Independents are steady at 17 per cent.

The drop in Sinn Féin support is undoubtedly down in part to the issue of immigration. Some of its former supporters have decoupled from the party because they think its stance on immigration is not tough enough.

Pictured: Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus and local election candidate Louis O’Hara taking a break on the canvas this week.


For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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