Support for two main Government parties has slumped, poll shows

Confidence in its handling of the pandemic has also slipped, a new opinion poll reveals.
Support for two main Government parties has slumped, poll shows

Both Taoiseach Micheál Martin and the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly both receive unfavourable ratings from more than 50% of voters, the poll suggests. Picture:Gareth Chaney/Collins Photos Dublin

Support for the two main parties in Government has slumped and confidence in its handling of the pandemic has also slipped, a new opinion poll reveals.

The latest Ipsos MRBI poll for the Irish Times shows that the state of the parties, when undecided voters and those unlikely to vote are excluded, is as follows: Fianna Fail 14%  (down three); Fine Gael 30% (down five); Sinn Féin 28% (down one); Green Party 6% (up two); Labour 3% (down one); Social Democrats 3% (up one); Solidarity-People Before Profit 1% (no change); Aontú 1% (no change); Independents/others 13% (up five).

According to the poll, published on Wednesday night, a majority of voters say that they think the Government is “not doing a good job” handling the pandemic.

Only 45% of respondents to the poll say that the Government is “doing a good job” in its management of the Covid-19 pandemic, a drop of 13 points since the most recent poll in the series.

"Not doing a good job"

According to the Irish Times poll, those saying the Government is “not doing a good job” have jumped to 51%, an increase of 15 points.

Both Taoiseach Micheál Martin and the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly both receive unfavourable ratings from more than 50% of voters, the poll suggests.

Worrying for Fine Gael is the finding that the personal rating of Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, meanwhile, has slumped by 13 points, though he is still the most popular of the party leaders.

On individual leaders, just 39% of voters said Mr Martin was doing a good job handling the pandemic, with 56% saying he was doing a bad job.

Mr Donnelly also attracts a net negative rating, with 52% saying he is not doing a good job, against 42% who believe he is doing a good job.

Half of voters (50%) say Mr Varadkar is doing a good job on the pandemic, with 45% disagreeing. 

By far the highest rating is for the Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan, with 83% of respondents saying he is doing a good job, against just 13% who say the opposite.

Popularity slump

Despite the drop in support for the main Government parties, there are no gains for the main Opposition party, with Sinn Féin slipping back one point to 28%.

The Independents and smaller parties have benefitted and their aggregated support has increased by eight points to 19%.

There is a jump in the number of undecided voters, from 18% in October to 23% today.

The poll was taken on Monday (February 22) and (February 23) Tuesday of this week, with researchers interviewing 1,200 adults by telephone. A return to telephone sampling was necessitated by pandemic restrictions, while the October poll used face-to-face interviewing.

The accuracy level is estimated at plus or minus 2.8%.

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