The politics of austerity hang onto poll position

Fianna Fáil has finally hauled back Fine Gael. But support for the 'pro-austerity' parties is remarkably consistent, writes Pat Leahy.

25th May, 2013
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin: his party has been closing the gap on Fine Gael since last year. Photo: Photocall

In October 2008, in the wake of Brian Lenihan's first austerity budget that sought to withdraw the automatic right to a medical card for those over 70 and sparked a pensioners' revolt, Fine Gael first overtook Fianna Fáil in a Red C opinion poll.

It was not a blip, it was a trend. As the country descended into an unprecedented economic crisis, Fine Gael's numbers strengthened and Fianna Fáil's declined, culminating in the general election...

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