Shane Coleman: Squeeze on Sinn Féin’s commanding lead in opinion polls as election nears

Party led by Mary Lou McDonald still holds a commanding lead, but drop in support will worry Sinn Féin bosses

Rose Conway-Walsh of Sinn Féin was recently appointed to the crucial public expenditure portfolio. Picture: Rolling News

Has the Sinn Féin bandwagon stalled? For the past two years, it has been regarded as a de facto truism in political and media circles that Mary Lou McDonald will be Taoiseach after the next general election. But two well-regarded polls, including one in this newspaper last weekend, have seen the party drop 4-5 points to hit its lowest level of support since 2021.

This isn’t crisis territory for the party – not close. The Red C and Irish Times polls show Sinn Féin is still, by some distance, the most popular party in the state. It is between 7 and 10 points ahead of its closest rival.