Adrian Kavanagh, 2nd March 2017
After a series of poor figures across opinion polls in the earlier months of 2017, this morning’s Irish Times-Ipsos MRBI poll brings better news for Fine Gael – offering the party its highest support level across most of the recent polls and leaving it standing just one percentage point behind Fianna Fail. Fianna Fail’s support level here is in line with that party’s strong showing across most of the polls carried out in the first few weeks of 2017, as is Sinn Fein’s – given that the Irish Times/Ipsos-MRBI opinion poll was published on 8th December 2016, the four percentage points gain for that party in this poll can be seen to reflect trends in other polls across the past few weeks/months. As it stands, the three largest parties command a combined support level of 78% in this opinion poll (roughly fifteen percent higher than the combined support level for these parties in the February 2016 election), while support for Labour, a number of the smaller parties/groupings and independent candidates has declined relative to the support levels at the last general election. Could it be that the Irish party system is becoming less fragmented, with support levels starting to harden around the three largest parties???
The 2nd March Irish Times/Ipsos-MRBI opinion poll estimates party support levels as follows: Fianna Fail 29% (down 1% relative to the previous Ipsos-MRBI opinion poll), Fine Gael 28% (up 1%), Sinn Fein 21% (up 4%), Independents and Others 18% (down 2%) – including Anti-Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit 3%, Social Democrats 1%, Green Party 3%, Independents 10% – Labour Party 4% (down 2%). 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 54, Fine Gael 54, Sinn Fein 34, Labour Party 1, Anti Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit 3, Social Democrats 1, Green Party 2, Independents 6. Continue reading