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Sinn Féin support hits lowest level in three years, falling by six points, poll shows

Irish Times/Ipsos B&A poll shows party’s lead cut as Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael hold firm and smaller parties gain

poll 2023

Support for Sinn Féin has slumped in the latest Irish Times/Ipsos B&A opinion poll, with the party falling to its lowest level in three years. The results see Sinn Féin support fall to 28 per cent, a six-point drop since the most recent poll in September.

With a general election due within the next year the results of the poll will cause alarm in Sinn Féin, long presumed to be the favourite to lead the next government. The poll results cast doubt on those assumptions. Although it maintains a healthy lead over both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, this is as low as Sinn Féin has been since just after the last election.

However, there is no sign of any substantial comeback for Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. The gains instead have gone to the smaller parties, including the Greens, who see support grow from 3 per cent to 5 per cent. The Social Democrats also see support increase by two points, to 4 per cent.

The state of the parties, when undecided voters and those unlikely to vote are excluded, is as follows: Sinn Féin 28 per cent (down six); Fianna Fáil 20 per cent (no change); Fine Gael 19 per cent (up one); Green Party 5 per cent (up two); Labour 4 per cent (up one); and Independents/others 25 per cent (up three).


Among the Independents and other smaller parties the results are as follows: Social Democrats 4 per cent (up two); Solidarity-People Before Profit 2 per cent (up one); Aontú 1 per cent (no change); and Independents 17 per cent (down one). Rounding may affect the totals.

Undecided voters – which are excluded from the above figures – grow by two points to 25 per cent.

Satisfaction with the Government is also up by three points to 35 per cent. The approval rating for all the Coalition leaders also rises – Micheál Martin by three points to 44 per cent, Leo Varadkar by one to 40 per cent, and Eamon Ryan by two to 20 per cent. But satisfaction with Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald falls by four points to 38 per cent, her lowest level in the series since before the last election.

Leader support

Despite the good news for the Government, however, a majority of voters still think the country is going in the wrong direction – 54 per cent, against 37 per cent who say it is going in the right direction.

The poll comes in the wake of the revival of the powersharing institutions in Northern Ireland, with Sinn Féin’s Michelle O’Neill nominated last weekend as First Minister. However, this seems to have made little impression on Southern voters.

The poll was conducted among a representative sample of 1,200 adults at 120 sampling points across all constituencies between February 2nd and 6th. Respondents were interviewed at their own homes. The accuracy is estimated at plus or minus 2.8 per cent.

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Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy is Political Editor of The Irish Times