Updated at 2pm
MINISTER BRENDAN HOWLIN has defended the Labour Party’s time in government and expressed defiance in the face of the results of a poll which puts support for his party at just 4%.
Leaked results from the latest Behaviour & Attitudes opinion poll, due to be published in the Sunday Times tomorrow morning, have dealt a massive blow to the Labour Party, less than a week before voters go to the polls.
The poll puts support for the coalition party at just 4% – down from 8% in the last Behaviour & Attitudes poll. If the poll results are reflective of how people actually vote in the election, the party may win just a small number of seats.
Speaking at Labour HQ today, Public Expenditure Minister Howlin said that he was ‘certain’ that support for his party was not at 4%.
“The one thing I’m certain of is that we’re not at 4% or anything in the ballpark of 4%, I’m absolutely sure of that,” the minister said.
If you ask me what figure we’re on, I don’t know – I don’t know what anyone else is on either… And anyone who tells you that they do is not telling you the truth.
Howlin tried to dampen down the results of the latest poll, saying that he had knocked on ‘thousands of doors’ and that the main thing he noticed was the lack of movement in public opinion.
“I’ve talked to every other party as well and the one thing that is consistently said to me… was the lack of movement in public opinion,” he said.
Howlin said this was ‘almost unique’ in his 30 years of campaigning.
“If you ask me would I prefer to be on a higher opinion poll rating then the answer is yes.. but so would every other party,” said the Minister.
He then went on to reiterate the question being put by his party to the voter – on whether they want a ‘stable’ Fine Gael/Labour government or to risk the recovery on the ‘throw of a dice’.
Results of the poll appeared online last night and indicate support for Fine Gael is at 30% while Fianna Fáil was at 22%.
Respondents were asked which party or group they were most likely to give their first preference vote to and results do not include undecided voters.
15% said they would give a first preference to Sinn Féin and support for independents and others is at 30% in this new poll.
Earlier, a spokesperson for Labour said “this is a baffling and disputed number that, we are confident, will be at odds with other more reliable polls that are due”.
Labour sources said they attached “no credibility whatsoever” to the poll, describing it as “an outlier” amid others due to be published ahead of the election on Friday.
They also noted British election results differed from “a number of inaccurate poll results” in the run up to polling day.
With reporting from Cormac Fitzgerald