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Latest poll

Here's what people's housing situation tells us about how they will vote

Fine Gael’s popularity lies with homeowners, while 50% of those in council rented accommodation back Sinn Féin.

SUPPORT FOR SINN Féin is strongest among voters who live in local authority rented accommodation, private rented accommodation and those that live at home with their parents. 

In comparison, support for Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil is strongest among voters who own their home outright or who have a mortgage. 

The results from the latest The Journal/Ireland Thinks European Elections series reveals just how much people’s tenure tells us about how people vote and also gives an insight into where political parties position themselves in the housing debate. 

The poll reveals that of those that live in local authority rented houses, 50% said they would vote Sinn Féin in the European elections, while 27% of those living in private rental accommodation said they would give the party their vote.

Of those living at home with their parents, 37% said they would vote for Mary Lou McDonald’s party in the upcoming European elections. 

Of those that own their own property outright, 16% said they support Sinn Féin, while those that have a mortgage, 23% said they would back the party.

Those living in the box room

Turning to the new Taoiseach Simon Harris’ party, Fine Gael, the results show that their popularity lies with homeowners.

Of those that own their property outright, 28% support the party, while of those that have a mortgage, 16% support Fine Gael. 

Of those living in council rented accomodation, just 6% support Harris’ party, 17% of those living in private rented accommodation support Fine Gael.

Of those living with their parents, 10% would vote Fine Gael. 

In his Ard Fheis speech two weeks ago, Harris specifically mentioned how people were stuck living at home with their parents. 

However, interestingly his wording appeared to address the parents — the home owners — rather than those living in the box room. 

“I am of a generation where home ownership can feel out of the reach of many. To young people, I want you to know your future is here in Ireland,” he said. 

And I want your parents to know we will move mountains to get the children out of the box room and into a home of their own. We have to fix housing for once and for all.

In terms of Fianna Fáil, 24% of those that own their own home would support the party, while 13% of mortgage-holders said they would vote for Micheál Martin’s party in the upcoming European elections. 

Of those that live in council rented housing, 0% said they would vote for Fianna Fáil. Of those living in private rented accommodation, 11% said they would vote for the party, while only 8% of those living at home with their parents said they would. 

Independent candidates, based on the spectrum available, are seeing a mix of support from those that own their own house as well as those in council housing. The poll shows that 22% of mortgage-holders plan to vote Independent in the European elections, while 25% of those in council rented housing are backing the Independent candidates. 

Party agendas on social media

Given the result, it is interesting to look at where Sinn Féin, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil position themselves in the housing debate, and in particular, where they might focus their attention. Expect things like mortgage interest relief, the eviction ban or the renters’ tax credit continue to come up in media debates and key speeches – even if they fall outside the remit of the European Union. 

Housing is back on top as one of the key issues of concern to people, with the theme bypassing immigration in the latest Irish Times snapshot poll last month. 

There is no doubt that the next general election will be won or lost on the issue of housing. How it will figure in the June European Elections will depend on how candidates push themselves forward. 

IMG_7337 Fine Gael Instagram post taking aim at Sinn Féin. Fine Gael Fine Gael

All three parties have been carving out their corner in terms of the debate, with Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil clubbing together to criticise Sinn Féin on its housing policies, which they claim are non-existent and will hold people back. 

IMG_7841 Sinn Féin's Pearse Doherty in an Instagram post explaining his party's housing policies. Sinn Féín Instagram Sinn Féín Instagram

Each party is using social media to make their claims, with Martin pointing to how Sinn Féin has pledged to scrap the Help-to-Buy scheme which provides funding to first-time-buyers for their deposit, with 44,000 availing of it so far. 

The party also plans to end the First Home Scheme, which gives funding in exchange for the government taking a stake in your home. 

Screenshot - 2024-04-11T133523.295 Fianna Fáil X account taking a pop at Sinn Féin housing policy. Fianna Fáil X Fianna Fáil X

On the flipside, Sinn Féin is keen to highlight the rising homeless numbers on the government’s watch.

Recently in the Dáil, Ó Broin said Darragh O’Brien will only be remembered as the minister for homelessness.

He claimed that for the fourth year since the minister took office, the government’s affordable housing targets have been missed. 

O’Brien responded by saying that there were no affordable homes delivered in any way for a 10-year period.  

“Now we see first-time buyers buying homes and drawing down mortgages at a rate of about 500 a week, the highest since 2006. In 2023, over 4,000 affordable housing supports were delivered for people across the country, up from 1,757 in the previous year. 

“While that did not meet the target, it is a very significant jump in activity, a 128% increase,” said the housing minister.

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


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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