A new opinion poll by the Irish Times shows a significant drop in support across the electorate for the Fine Gael and Labour parties, and a great surge in support for Independents and others.
Fine Gael is now at its lowest standing since 2003; Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s satisfaction rating dropped seven points to 19%, making him currently the least popular party leader in the Dail. He is at his lowest approval rating since becoming the leader of Fine Gael in 2002.
Labour Party leader Joan Burton has also seen a decline in satisfaction, and the Labour Party has seen a drop in support to just 6 percent since the last opinion poll two months ago.
Fianna Fail has improved marginally and is now almost level with Sinn Fein. Sinn Fein’s ratings have dropped two points since October, which isn’t much considering all of the negative publicity surrounding the recent Mairia Cahill abuse allegations.
Though support for Gerry Adams has dropped eleven points, he still has the highest rating of any party leader in the Dail.
Meanwhile, Independents and smaller parties are at their highest ever level in the polls. In a hypothetical election with 1,200 voters aged 18 and over, 32% said they would vote for Independents or others in an election tomorrow. 22% said Sinn Fein, 21% said Fianna Fail, 19% said Fine Gael and 6% said Labour.
Compared to the last Irish Times poll, support for Independents and others rose by nine points, Sinn Fein dropped two points, Fianna Fail rose one point, Fine Gael dropped five points and Labour dropped three points.
When asked why, 36% of voters who chose Independents and others said it was because they don’t trust the established parties, 27% said Independents and others are best at dealing with local issues, and 19% said that they like what the smaller parties stand for.