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Brian Cowen has seen his Fianna Fáil party slump to just 18% in the SBP/Red C poll - losing 6% in a month. Julien Behal/PA Wire
Opinion Poll

Fianna Fáil support plummets as Labour gains ground

Tomorrow’s Red C opinion poll in the Sunday Business Post shows FF support returning to shocking lows.

Updated 10:20am

SUPPORT FOR Fianna Fáil has fallen by over a quarter in just a month, according to the latest public opinion polls.

This morning’s Sunday Business Post, which carries a poll commissioned by Red C, shows support for the party dropping down to just 18% of the electorate, from 24% when the last poll was published on September 26 – just four weeks ago.

Fine Gael remains the party with the largest support, at 32% – up one point from last month’s poll. It is Labour, however, who will feel it has the most to cheer: its support has climbed by four points to 27%.

Sinn Féin support has fallen by one point to 9%, while support for the Green Party increases by one point to 4%. 10% of respondents said they would vote for another party, or an independent candidate, if a general election were to be held tomorrow.

Economy a major factor

A massive 60% of the poll’s respondents said they expected the economy not to grow next year, with just 20% believing output would increase in 2011 and 20% unsure.

Just 25% (down 5%) said they had confidence in how Fine Gael and Labour would manage the economy, with 43% saying they did not have confidence, and 32% unsure of the performance of the prospective alternative coalition.

Previous Red C surveys had shown Fianna Fáil performing relatively well, and Labour relatively averagely – so the latter’s increase by four, leaving it just five percentage points behind Fine Gael, will be seen as a welcome boost to the party’s confidence.

The droop in support for Fianna Fáil, however, will heap further pressure on Brian Cowen and inevitably kickstart rumours of another heave against his leadership, as a nervous government prepares yet another horrific Budget in December.

Indeed, the poll could sway the support of independent TDs Jackie Healy-Rae and Michael Lowry – upon whom the government will be reliant if it is to have the Budget passed at all.

This morning’s Irish Daily Mail reports that when it called enterprise minister Batt O’Keeffe seeking his reaction to the poll’s findings, he had not yet heard the results – and responded with a shocked, “Oh, Jesus” when he was informed of his party’s dismal showing.

The Sunday Business Post/Red C results at a glance:

  • Fianna Fáil 18% (-6%) – Irish Times 24%, TV3 22%
  • Fine Gael 32% (+1%) - Irish Times 24%, TV3 30%
  • Labour 27% (+4%) – Irish Times 33%, TV3 35%
  • Green Party 4% (+1%) - Irish Times 2%,T V3 2%
  • Sinn Féin: 9% (-1%) – Irish Times 8%, TV3 4%
  • Others/Independents: 10% (+1) – Irish Times 9, TV3 8%

Comparison polls are from the Irish Times’s/Ipsos MRBI poll of September 30, and TV3/Millward’s poll of September 23.
The previous SBP/Red C poll was published on September 26.
Surveying for the latest poll took place on Monday September 18 through Wednesday September 20.

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