Sinn Féin has risen to its highest ever level in an Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI opinion poll tonight, with 31 per cent support from likely voters, putting the party well ahead of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.
Approval for the Government’s handling of the pandemic has also risen very substantially in recent months.
Fianna Fáil sees a six-point jump in support since February, suggesting a “vaccination boost” for the Government as the programme rolls out and society reopens. Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar also see increases in their personal ratings.
Independents are the big losers, seeing their aggregate support fall by five points since the last poll, while Fine Gael support drops by three points.
The state of the parties, when undecided voters and those unlikely to vote are excluded, is as follows: Fianna Fáil 20 per cent (up six); Fine Gael 27 per cent (down three); Sinn Féin 31 per cent (up three); Green Party 6 per cent (no change); Labour 3 per cent (no change); and Independents/others 13 per cent (down six).
Among the Independents and smaller parties, the results are as follows: Social Democrats 2 per cent (down one); Solidarity-People Before Profit 2 per cent (up one); Aontú 1 per cent (no change); and Independents 8 per cent (down five).
The poll was conducted among 1,200 adults at 120 sampling points across all constituencies on Monday and Tuesday of this week. Respondents were interviewed at their own homes, a change from February’s poll which was conducted via telephone because of coronavirus restrictions.
The accuracy is estimated at plus or minus 2.8 per cent.
The poll suggests that the public mood has switched considerably since the last poll in February, when the country was under lockdown to contain the third wave of coronavirus.
Seven out of 10 voters (70 per cent) say that the Government is doing a “good job” in its handling of the pandemic – an increase of 25 points since February – with just over a quarter (26 per cent) saying it is doing a “bad job”, a reduction of 25 per cent.