Voters reactions to the first few days of campaigning proper has seen support for the current coalition under pressure from where they were at the start of the campaign, with smaller parties securing more of the first preference vote.
Paddy Power / Red C Political Opinion Poll
· Fine Gael secures 30% of the vote, and this has been a relatively steady average for the party across all the polls, but does represent a small fall back compared to the last RED C poll. More positive news for the party is seen in satisfaction with Enda Kenny’s own performance as leader of the party which increases in the poll vs last December.
· Labour support also falls back with a more pronounced drop of 2%, while still within the margin of error, this means they drop from a solid 10% they have seen in last few RED C polls. At the same time the leader ratings show less satisfaction with Joan Burton performance than last recorded for Paddy Power back in December.
· Fianna Fail sneak back up 1% since last week, leaving the party in a stable but unspectacular position at this stage of the campaign. More worrying is the relative performance of their leader MichealMartin which does fall back, particularly among their own party supporters.
· Sinn Fein support is steady at 17% of the first preference vote, and again highlights the need for the party to persuade its supporters to actually go and vote, with support stronger among the total population and dropping off slightly among those who say they will definitely vote.
· Independent candidates and other parties have the most success in this poll, with parties such as the AAA-PBP (4% +1), Renua (2% + 1) and the Independent Alliance (4% +2) all picking up support vs. the last RED C poll –while the Social Democrats (3% =) also retain gains seen last week.
· More positive news for the Government partners are seen in underlying voters attitudes. Firstly, there has been a surge in the number of voters since December who believe returning the current coalition will be best for Ireland, while 44% of voters would like to see the coalition partners back either on their own, or with the support of Independents. Secondly, Labour will take some solace from the fact that of all the main parties, it has the greatest levels of “possible or potential” support to add to its current first preference share. Suggesting it could do better as voters finally make up their minds how to vote.
· Voters claim that they are more likely to vote with regard to National interests, rather than personal interests, when making up their minds how to vote, with a relatively similar split among those voting for various different parties.
· When voters are asked about attitudes toward various facets of General Election campaigns they are not very positive. Well over half (58%) of all voters claim that they pay no attention to election leaflets that are door dropped across the country by campaigners, suggesting instead they generally go straight in the bin.
· hose currently suggesting they are undecided or plan to give an Independent candidate their first preference vote are least impressed with leaflets, suggesting these leaflets are unlikely to help secure possible floating voters to vote for a particular party.
· Half of all voters (51%) also believe that candidate and party posters should be banned during general elections. With again greater dislike for these promotional devices among those currently undecided or supporting Independent candidates, and also among those living in Munster, Connaught and Ulster
· Better news is that the at least two thirds of voters (67%) claim they are honest with canvassers about how they will vote when they call to the door. Undecided voters admit to being less honest, with only 49% stating they will tell them the truth.
· Just 15% claim that they have no interest in what happens at the next election. Of concern to Sinn Fein is that those claiming they will vote for Sinn Fein are more likely not to care what happens than those supporting other parties, another signal that their claimed support may not turn out as well as others on Election Day. The flip side of this is that Fine Gael and Labour voters are least likely to say they don’t care, and as a result most likely to turn out and vote.
Government after next election
5/1 FG Minority
10/1 FG/Lab/Social Democrats
11/1 FG/Lab/SD/Any other party(s)
14/1 FG/Lab/Renua/Any other party(s)
18/1 FG/FF/Any other party(s)
22/1 FG Majority
66/1 FF/Lab/SD/Any other party(s)
80/1 FF Minority