Fianna Fáil have dropped to their lowest support level in almost a year, in the latest Sunday Business Post/Red C poll.
The party is down by three points to 22 per cent, as its TDs return to the Dáil next week after the summer break.
The poll comes at a sensitive time for Martin, as some in his party are pushing for an end to the party’s confidence and supply agreement with Fine Gael, which is due to expire once all the Budget 2019 measures are passed by next January.
There is also a fall in support for Fine Gael, which is down by one point to 33 per cent after a week where there was continued focus on the housing crisis and the publication of the report by Dr Gabriel Scally into the cervical cancer scandal.
But Fine Gael has extended its lead over Fianna Fáil from nine points in the most recent Sunday Business Post/Red C poll last May to 11 points in this one.
The focus in government is very much on finalising the details of the Budget, which is now just weeks away. Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe gave his cabinet colleagues a memo last week to again warn that he has just €800 million for new tax cuts and spending commitments. But that will expand with new revenue raising measures like the carbon tax, which will be justified on the grounds that something has to be done to reduce carbon emissions.
The poll was taken over the course of a week, from Thursday September 6 to Thursday last week.
Sinn Féin party leader Mary Lou McDonald will be disappointed to see that a two-point gain in the most recent poll has been lost, with the party down to 14 per cent again. The winners are Independents whose support tends to fluctuate in line with Sinn Féins. They are up by four points to 13 per cent. There is also a stable result for the Independent Alliance, who remain on four per cent.
The poll is problematic for Labour leader Brendan Howlin, ahead of his party think in event in Drogheda tomorrow. His leadership has been publicly questioned by Labour councillors. Labour’s support level is stuck on 6 per cent, where it has hovered for most of the past two years.
There are mixed fortunes for the smaller parties. The Social Democrats are up by one point to 2 per cent, while Solidarity-People Before Profit are down by one point to 2 per cent. The Green Party is unchanged on 2 per cent. Renua is up by one point to 1 per cent, while others are at 1 per cent.
For full analysis, read tomorrow's Sunday Business Post, which will also contain the results of a new presidential election poll.