Sinn Fein are now Ireland’s second most popular party – as support for the Fine Gael-Labor Party coalition collapses.

An Irish Times opinion poll shows a major drop in support for the government in wake of the recent household charge furore.

The first poll, taken during the storm over water meters this week, has support for the Enda Kenny led government down by 14 per cent.

The Coalition now enjoys just 23 per cent support from the electorate while Fine Gael are down three per cent to 33 per cent and Labor are down six to 13 per cent.

Fianna Fail are also down, dropping one per cent to just 14 per cent support.

The big winners are Sinn Fein with Gerry Adams’ party now the second most popular outfit in the state, up six per cent to 21 per cent support.

Independents, up four to 19 points, have also gained from the recent government efforts to increase indirect taxation via water charges and household levies.

The paper reports that the core vote for the parties compared with the last Irish Times poll was: Fine Gael, 25 per cent (down four points); Labour, 10 per cent (down five points); Fianna Fáil, 11 per cent (down one point); Sinn Féin, 15 per cent (up two points); Green Party, 1 per cent (no change); Independents/Others, 13 per cent (up two points); and undecided voters, 25 per cent (up six points).

The new government rating is far lower than anything achieved by the Fianna Fáil-led governments during Bertie Ahern’s tenure from 1997 until 2008 while only the performance of the Brian Cowen government from November 2008 until February 2011 was worse.

Enda Kenny’s support has dropped by ten points to 42 per cent with Labor’s Eamon Gilmore down 14 points to 27 per cent, the lowest he has achieved as party leader.

A second Irish Times’Ipsos MRBI poll shows that 39 per cent of the Irish electorate are still undecided as to how they will vote in the European Fiscal Treaty referendum on May 31.

Just 30 per cent of voters said they will vote yes while 23 per cent said they will vote no with eight per cent stating they will abstain.


Sinn Fein's President Gerry AdamsAFP/Getty