Fianna Fáil’s decision to extend the lifespan of the minority government has seen the party’s support drop by five points in the latest Sunday Business Post/Red C poll.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin prolonged the three-year confidence and supply deal for a further year before Christmas, saying he was putting the “national interest ahead of party interests" during the sensitive Brexit negotiations. He was widely praised for doing so.
But his party’s support level has dropped by five points to 22 per cent since the previous Red C poll last November.
There will be relief in Fine Gael that the party’s support level is down by just two points to 32 per cent after a rocky period in office. The government has been struggling to deal with questions about its preparations for a hard border in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
There are 6,000 women who will have to get cervical smear tests again because their previous tests were not processed in time. The National Children’s Hospital has trebled in cost to over €1.7 billion. And the first of a series of one-day strikes by 39,000 nurses is due to start on Wednesday.
Voters who are disillusioned with Fianna Fáil have switched largely to Independents
However, the threat from Brexit is so great that it is overwhelming these issues. Sinn Féin is unchanged on a support level of 13 per cent. There was a show of force by the party during the week, with all its Northern and Southern elected reps marching out on the plinth in Leinster House ahead of the Dáil 100 celebrations in the Round Room in the Mansion House. But it remains out of government in the North and a long way yet from government in the South.
Voters who are disillusioned with Fianna Fáil have switched largely to Independents. Their support level in this poll is up by four points to 14 per cent. The Independent Alliance is unchanged on a healthy five per cent, which is up on the 4 per cent it got in the 2016 general election.
The Labour Party, which has been talking recently about coalition red lines, is still on 6 per cent as it has been for almost three years now. There is no change either for the Green Party, who are on 3 per cent, or the Social Democrats, who remain on 2 per cent. However, there is a boost for Solidarity-People Before Profit who are up by two points to 2 per cent after two successive ‘zero’ poll ratings.
The telephone poll of 1,000 voters by Red C was taken between Thursday January 17 and Thursday January 24.
For in-depth analysis, plus an exclusive poll on Brexit, read tomorrow's Sunday Business Post