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Support for Fine Gael holding up in latest Red C poll, slight drop for Labour

It appears the passing of the Protection of Life Bill hasn’t damaged support for Enda Kenny’s party: they’re up one point in the latest political opinion poll, while Labour is down by the same margin.

Image: Paddy Power / Red C

IT’S PRETTY MUCH ‘as you were’  for the main political parties, according to the latest poll carried out by Red C on behalf of Paddy Power.

The recent passing of the abortion legislation hasn’t hampered support for Fine Gael, as some had been predicting – in fact, they’ve gained one point since a similar poll carried out for the Sunday Business Post in June, moving to 29 per cent.

Labour have dropped by one point – moving from 12 per cent to 11. Outside of the coalition, Sinn Féin are faring worst – down two points to 15 per cent. Fianna Fáil are holding steady on 22 per cent (no change), while support for independents and smaller parties (including the ULA) is at 23 per cent, up two.

Managing Director of Red C Richard Colwell says the relatively strong showing from Fine Gael shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise. He told TheJournal.ie:

Fine Gael have had a pretty good result. They may have been expecting a more negative result following the abortion legislation – but from all our polling we’ve never seen this as a national issue for the party. Having said that, they were doing a lot better this time last year.

There have been a number of speculative stories – most notably in the Irish Independent at the weekend – about a possible challenge to Micheál Martin’s leadership of Fianna Fáil, and Colwell says the party’s position on the Protection of Life Bill may have harmed their support (Martin allowed TDs a free vote on the issue, and only a minority of party deputies followed his lead and voted for the legislation):

In terms of the poll’s overall findings, Colwell says that parties who tend to receive less media attention during the Dáil summer recess often experience a drop in support: “Sinn Féin, for instance, haven’t been in the media much of late and so when that happens some of their core vote tend to switch off quickly”. He continues:

Also, you see that as the big political parties aren’t getting as much media coverage, the independents tend to come back into the spotlight.

People also tend to fall back to the independents and the smaller parties too in the summer months, due to uncertainty – although you often see their share of the vote decrease coming towards elections, as voters’ minds are focused by the polling date.

The phone poll of 1,002 adults from across the country began on Bank Holiday Monday and concluded yesterday. A random digit dial method is used by Red C to ensure that all households are covered, even those that are ex-directory.

Read: Here are the TDs who voted against the abortion bill

Read: Labour says Senator Denis Landy’s ‘bribe’ claim is ‘a matter for himself’

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Daragh Brophy

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