A new opinion poll appears to have vindicated Enda Kenny’s decision not to hold the general election until 2016.
The poll in tomorrow’s Sunday Times shows the government parties with the combined support of only 32% of voters.
The Behaviour & Attitudes poll was taken between October 5 and 14, meaning it was almost entirely taken before the Budget.
Nonetheless the poll is a clear sign that the government parties have work to do if they are to successfully retain power.
Fine Gael drop three points to 24% compared to two months ago, while Labour gain two points to 8% but their combined support is well short of re-election levels.
Fianna Fáil fall one point to 19%, and now stand level with unchanged Sinn Féin, but the poll also shows how the electorate is becoming increasingly fractured.
Independent candidates have 17% support, including 5% for the Independent Alliance.
The combined left bloc of the Socialist/Anti Austerity/People Before Profit alliance are on 7%, Renua are on 2%, while the Greens, Social Democrats and the Workers Party are each on 1%.