Support for Sinn Féin rises following troubling fortnight for government
The latest polls show support for the coalition is waning.
Compounding what has been a difficult number of weeks for the coalition government, the latest Sunday Times/Behaviour & Attitudes opinion poll has shown that support for political rivals Sinn Féin continues to grow.
The poll breaks down the latest figures regarding support for each of the major Irish political parties, with the numbers making for stark reading for the coalition parties.
Support for Fianna Fáil has fallen an alarming four percentage points since the previous poll was conducted, just over a fortnight ago.
That means that now just one-fifth of the electorate (20%) are now in support of Micheál Martin's party, which are an astonishing 12 percentage points behind Mary Lou McDonald's party (32%) in the opinion polls.
Things look only marginally better for the other coalition party, with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's Fine Gael party stagnating in terms of electorate approval.
At just 23%, these figures highlight the fact that at present, just 43% of voters would opt for the coalition parties in the event of a general election.
The news of the worrying figures will come as little surprise to keen political onlookers, following the PR nightmare which has embroiled the Taoiseach and his government over the past number of weeks.
From announcing a much-maligned redaction of the Pandemic-induced eviction ban to the news that the Taoiseach himself has become a landlord, the news cycle of the last fortnight has been a tough one for the coalition to endure.
Similar negative coverage has stemmed from the embarrassing failure of the government's new housing scheme alongside the releasing of figures which highlighted Ireland's ever-worsening refugee accommodation crisis.
Even an escape to Washington D.C for St. Patrick's weekend couldn't spare the Taoiseach from making the headlines for all the wrong reasons, with his "ill-judged" remark regarding Bill Clinton forcing an apology from a government spokesperson.
The poll also shows that support for both the Green Party and Labour Party remains unchanged at 5%, whilst the backing of the Social Democrats has doubled to 4%.
With murmurings surrounding a possible November general election emanating from Leinster House this week, both Varadkar and Martin will be keen to utilise the coverage surrounding the visits of Joe Biden and King Charles III in the coming months to deflect attention.
The pair are set to visit both sides of the border to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, an opportunity for the government to obtain some much-needed respite as they seek to break the cycle of negative media coverage.
- Taoiseach in hot water over “Intern” remark on St. Patrick’s Day Washington visit
- Days after defending landlords, Leo Varadkar becomes a landlord for the first time
- New government housing scheme falls flat on its face
- Asylum Seeker figures soar alarmingly as refugee crisis spirals