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Support for Fine Gael has finally taken a dip... and Sinn Féin are the big winners

The news marks a long run of consistently higher polling for Leo Varadkar’s party.

pjimage Leo Varadkar (left), and Mary Lou McDonald Source: PA Images

A NEW OPINION poll suggests that support for Fine Gael has taken its first significant dip for a long time.

The latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI opinion poll shows that the country’s largest party has seen support drop from 34% to 31% since the last poll was taken three months ago.

The fall in numbers could be seen as a reaction to the fallout from the Ireland 2040 debacle, which saw the government accused of asking media editors nationwide to run articles that were effectively advertising but not indicated as such.

That has seen the Taoiseach’s much-talked-about Strategic Communications Unit bite the bullet. It’s expected to be disbanded later in the summer.

Sinn Féin is the big winner in the poll, rising three points to 22%, in the wake of Mary Lou McDonald assuming the role of president of the party from Gerry Adams in February.

Popularity

Fianna Fáil rises one point to 26%, Labour is also up one point to 5%, and the Green Party remains unchanged at 3%.

When looking at the core vote of the largest parties, ie the figures arrived at when undecided voters are excluded, the poll is a significantly more close-run thing, with Fine Gael at 24% (-2%), Fianna Fáil at 21% (+1%), Sinn Féin at 18% (+3%), Labour 4% (+1%), and all others at 12% (-3%). Undecided voters stood at 21%.

There is no change for any of Solidarity-People Before Profit (2%), the Social Democrats (1%), and the Independent Alliance (1%), while Independents4Change have dropped one point to 1%. Non-party independents remain unchanged on 6%.

As regards the personal popularity of the various leaders, while Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has seen a 5% drop (from 60% to 55%), he remains by far the most popular leader per the poll.

Micheál Martin of Fianna Fáil is down 2% to 40%, and McDonald rates 39% approval on her first showing. Labour’s Brendan Howlin remains unchanged at 18%.

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