Adrian Kavanagh, 24th September 2015
Today sees the third in the series of Irish Times-Ipsos MRBI opinion polls for 2015, with this being the first such poll held for a number of months – since the May 18th poll (held before the Marriage Equality referendum). The first Irish Times-Ipsos MRBI poll of 2015, back in March, reflected the trend of improving fortunes for the government parties, which was evident in opinion polls in the first part of the year. In May poll, Fine Gael gained a further three percentage points, but there was no movement in the Labour figures. This poll, by and large, is quite similar to the government support trends evident in the May 2015 poll, although Labour does gain one percentage point. However, it could be argued that the time lapse between the two latest Irish Times-Ipsos MRBI polls does cover a period of government support slippage in the earlier part of Summer 2015 and then recovery in the latter part of the Summer/early Autumn, as evident in the latest Sunday Business Post-Red C poll. While the overall trend across 2015 is positive for these parties, their combined support levels are still off the level required to be able to form a government at the next election – whether as a minority government supported by one or two other groupings or as a government with a Dail majority (albeit very much reduced!). Hence, the likelihood of an early election appears a bit more remote than it might have seemed after the recent Sunday Business Post-Red C poll.
There is no movement in this poll for Fianna Fail, although the Independents and Other grouping gains one percentage point, while Sinn Fein support levels fall by two percentage points. Combined with the May figures, this points to a loss of five percentage points in terms of Sinn Fein support since the March 2015 poll. This Irish Times-Ipsos MRBI poll estimates party support levels as follows (and relative to the previous such Irish Times-Ipsos MRBI poll): Fine Gael 28% (NC), Independents and Others 25% (up 1%), Fianna Fail 20% (NC), Sinn Fein 21% (down 2%), Labour Party 8% (up 1%). My constituency-level analysis of these poll figures estimates that party seat levels, should such national support trends be replicated in an actual general election, would be as follows: Fianna Fail 31, Fine Gael 56, Sinn Fein 28, Labour Party 7, Independents and Others 36. Continue reading