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THE MORNING LEAD

Simon Harris's leadership makes 15% of voters less likely to vote for Fine Gael - poll

The results do not bode well for Taoiseach Simon Harris in his first week in office.

SOME 15% OF Irish voters have said they are less likely to vote for Fine Gael in the upcoming European elections as a result of Simon Harris becoming leader of the party. 

The results from the latest The Journal/Ireland Thinks European Elections series  published today will come as a knock to Harris, with the biggest loss of support visible among the 18-34-year-old age group. 

Today’s The Journal/Ireland Thinks poll also took a look at the popularity of the parties and asked voters which election is more important to them – the EU elections or the local elections. 

The poll of 1,334 people was carried out between the 6 and 7 April and has a margin of error of 2.7%.

On the question of Harris’s leadership, some 23% of 18-34-year-olds said they would be less inclined to vote for Fine Gael candidates in June under his leadership.

Among all age groups, 6% said his leadership would make them more likely to vote for Fine Gael while 79% said their voting intentions were unaffected by his leadership.

The poll shows Harris to be slightly more popular among women than men, with 7% of women saying his leadership makes them more likely to vote for Fine Gael compared to 4% of men. Some 12% of women said his appointment made them less likely to vote Fine Gael compared to 17% of men.

Among Fine Gael voters, 20% said Harris’s leadership would make them more likely to continue to vote for Fine Gael compared to just 1% saying his leadership makes them less likely to vote for Fine Gael candidates. 

These results come as Sinn Féin remains the most popular party for voters ahead of the EU elections – with 23% of the vote share. 

The state of the other parties are as follows:

  • Fine Gael 20%;
  • Fianna Fáil 17%;
  • Independents candidates 15%;
  • Social Democrats 6%;
  • The Green Party 6%;
  • Aontú 5%;
  • Labour 3%;
  • Solidarity-People Before Profit 3%;
  • Others 2%.

This latest poll shows a slide for Sinn Féin, down from 26% in February. Meanwhile, Fine Gael is up 1 point and Fianna Fáil down 2 points – both within the margin of error. 

Sinn Féin is most popular among renters – with 50% of those who rent from a Council saying they intended to vote for a Sinn Féin candidate and 27% of private renters saying the same. 

By comparison, 17% of private renters said they intended to vote for Fine Gael, while just 11% of private renters said they would vote for a Fianna Fáil candidate. 

Breaking the popularity of the parties down by age, at 25% Sinn Féin was the most popular party among 18-34-year-olds. 

Among the other age groups, the most popular parties were as follows: 

35-44-year-olds: Sinn Féin 21%; 

45-54-year-olds: Sinn Féin 29%;

55-64-year-olds: Sinn Féin 24%;

65+: Fine Gael 31%.

Locals versus Europeans

The Journal also asked voters which election was more important to them, the upcoming European Parliament elections or the upcoming local elections. Both elections will be held on 7 June. 

The results show that voters overwhelmingly view the local elections as more important. 

Some 56% of respondents said the local elections were more important; 23% saw them as equal; and just 16% said they viewed the European elections as more important. 

Some 4% of respondents said they were unsure.

Voters outside of Dublin were significantly more likely to view the local elections as more important, with some 47% of Dublin voters saying the locals were more important compared to 59% in Leinster; 61% in Munster; and 60% in Connacht-Ulster.

It was the youngest and oldest voters who were most likely to see the European elections as more important with 21% of 18-34-year-olds and 20% of those aged 65+.

The Journal/Ireland Thinks series of polls will run each month ahead of the European Parliament elections in June. It will continue to explore voter intentions, measure Irish public sentiment towards the EU on a number of issues and highlight any potential opinion gaps between different demographics of Irish society on matters important to them.

***

This work is co-funded by Journal Media and a grant programme from the European Parliament. Any opinions or conclusions expressed in this work are the author’s own. The European Parliament has no involvement in nor responsibility for the editorial content published by the project. For more information, see here.

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