RED C interviewed a random sample of 1003 adults aged 18+ by telephone between the 21 st & 23 rd June 2010.
A random digit dial (RDD) method is used to ensure a random selection process of households to be included – this also ensures that ex-directory households are covered.
Half of the sample are interviewed using an RDD landline sample, with the other half conducted using an RDD mobile phone sample, this ensures 98% coverage of the population reaching landline only households, mobile only households and those with both a landline and a mobile.
Interviews were conducted across the country and the results weighted to the profile of all adults. A further past vote weighting is included that takes the current recall for how people voted at the last election, compares this to the actual results, and weights the data to halfway between the two.
Finally vote intention results are based on those who will actually go and vote, using a 10 point scale, where 1 is not at all likely and 10 is very likely, those rating 5 to 10 are included as being those who will actually go and vote.
SUNDAY BUSINESS POST – 27 th June 2010 - Opinion Poll
A real three party race looks on for the next election, as big party politics takes centre stage
All the major parties hold on to, or increase, support in this vital poll following a month of political upheaval, with the leadership challenge in Fine Gael, sparked by falling support for the party over the last few months in the polls. Fine Gael, and in particular Enda Kenny, who won that challenge, will be delighted to see support for the party re-bound to 33%. This is an increase of 3% and reverses some of the losses in the previous two months. However, while this gain is positive for Fine Gael, it must be tempered by the fact that Labour also make significant gains in today's poll.
Labour secure 27% of the first preference vote a jump of 4% since last month, and the highest level of support that the party has managed since we began polling. The upward trend in support for Labour is very strong over the past two years. It is somewhat astonishing to think that back in June 2008 the party was regularly polling at about 10% of the electorate, meaning they have managed to increase support by a massive 17% in the intervening two years. It certainly appears that as the electorate become disenfranchised with the two main parties and they are looking for another option.
The interesting point to make here however, is that the gains for both Labour and Fine Gael in today's poll have not come at the expense of Fianna Fail. In fact Fianna Fail retain 24% of the first preference vote in this poll. While this means they have been pushed back into third place, it is by no means the worst share of vote they have seen before, and could be considered relatively respectable based on the past few months.
This means that the gains for Labour and Fine Gael are coming from those people who previously had supported the smaller parties and Independent candidates. In fact all the smaller parties are squeezed in today's poll as the big parties take centre stage. Sinn Fein secure 8% of the first preference vote, down 2% on a month ago, but pretty much in line with support recorded over this year. The greens will be concerned however to see their support drop to just 2% in today's poll. This is a fall of 3% since last month, which is within margin of error and may be more about the lack of coverage the party has received while the larger parties have dominated media coverage.
Support for Independent candidates also falls back by 3% to leave them securing just 6% of the first preference vote. This is the lowest level seen for a year, and perhaps reflects the popular wave of support to the main opposition parties. This may mean gains seen this month for both Labour and Fine Gael, are possibly somewhat inflated by the heavy media coverage for these parties over the last month.
This initial evaluation of simple party support would suggest that the decision by Fine Gael to retain Enda Kenny as leader was a prudent one, with 3% gains and the halt of the downward trend in first preference vote share. However, these gains must be tempered by the fact that Labour has also made gains, and now stand just 6% behind Fine Gael. In order to understand the impact that the confirmation of Enda Kenny as leader might have on the party we also asked some questions specifically related to this.
Firstly, we asked voters whether the whole process had given them more or less confidence that Enda Kenny could make a good Taoiseach. After all many of his own front bench had challenged him on this fact, but his strong defence of his position may have had a positive impact on the electorate. The main view held by 49% was that the whole process had made little difference to their opinion of Enda Kenny. On a more positive note over a quarter 28% felt that the process had given them more confidence that he could make a good Taoiseach. While at the same time 1 in 5 (21%) felt they the process had given them less confidence in the party leader.
This meant that the leadership challenge and victory by Enda Kenny, rather than having a negative impact overall on his standing, has instead improved his position overall among voters, with a net gain of 7% improvement. When analysed further, it is clear that these gains were mainly among loyal Kenny supporters – with the highest gains seen among those living in the Connaught and among those that voted Fine Gael at the last election. However, more interesting are the gains that his tough political approach to the challenge has had among those is less well off and manual working groups, where he obtained a net gain in terms of making a good Taoiseach of 11%.
The next question is whether these gains mean he now has a positive standing generally among the electorate. On a number of attributes he remains relatively weak. When asked whether he understands people (42%) do agree, and this is some way ahead of a similar question asked about Brian Cowen who managed just (31%) just a couple of months ago. However, this does still mean that 50% disagree.
Similarly when asked whether he would make a good Taoiseach just 38% agree. This is again ahead of Brian Cowen’s rating taken in April at 27%, but some way behind where Cowen was before he became Taoiseach himself when he obtained a much larger 72% approval. The same proportion agree that Enda Kenny is capable of leading Ireland out of recession, which is again just 9% ahead of Brian Cowen.
What is interesting is that Kenny’s best ratings come when we ask voters whether they believe he is a safe pair of hands. On this attribute he obtains 49% agreement. While still some way behind where Brian Cowen was back in 2008, this is positive for him, and suggests that maybe this attribute of “strong and stable when needed” is what he should play on to build his reputation further.
Finally, when we directly ask the public, putting party support aside, who do they think will make the best Taoiseach, the pressure is piled back on Kenny. As it is Eamonn Gilmore, who secures the largest support from voters, with 40% suggesting they believe he will make the best Taoiseach. This is a very powerful endorsement for the Labour party leader and underpins the strong surge in support for the Labour party seen over the past two years.
It is in stark contrast to Fine Gael, who many in the party feel should and would be doing better themselves with a stronger leader. To highlight this, Kenny receives the backing of just 28% of the electorate, meaning that 5% of the those who say they will vote Fine Gale at the next election, do not believe he will make the best Taoiseach among the current party leaders.
Meanwhile Brain Cowen languishes at just 18% of the electorate backing him as the best current candidate for Taoiseach, with a further 14% stating they wouldn’t choose any of them.
This poll therefore reiterates the successful and continuous upward trend in support for Labour, underpinned with the excellent ratings and backing of the electorate for its leader. At the same time Kenny’s leadership has stabilised support for Fine Gael. In all it suggests that Ireland is seeing a significant change in the political landscape, and that we very much have a three party race in the run up to the next election.
Fine Gael Fianna Fáil Labour Sinn Féin Green Party Independents/ Other If there were a general e lection tomorrow, to which party or independent candidate would you give your first preference vote ? ( Base: All adults WHO WILL VOTE 18+)
Fianna Fáil Fine Gael Labour Sinn Féin Green Party Independents/ Other General election 2007 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 If there were a general e lection tomorrow, to which party or independent candidate would you give your first preference vote ? ( Base: All adults WHO WILL VOTE 18+)
Dec ’ 05 If there were a general election tomorrow, to which party or independent candidate would give your first preference vote ? ( Base: All adults 18+) Fianna Fáil Fine Gael Labour Sinn Féin Green Party PDs 33% 24% 27% Independent Mar ’ 06 Jun ’ 06 Oct ’ 06 Jan ’ 07 Apr ’ 07 May ’ 07 GE 2007 Oct ’ 07 Jan ’ 08 Apr ’ 08 Jun ’ 08 8% Oct ’ 08 Jan ’ 09 2% Apr ’ 09 GE 2002 Sep ’ 09 Nov ’ 09 2006 2007 2008 2009 Mar ’10 2010 Jun ’10 6%
If there were a general election tomorrow, to which party or independent candidate would give your first preference vote ? ( Base: All adults 18+) Fianna Fáil Fine Gael Labour Sinn Féin Green Party PDs 33% 24% 27% Independent GE 2007 Sep ’ 07 Oct ’ 07 Nov ’ 07 Jan ’ 08 Feb ’ 08 Mar ’ 08 Apr ’ 08 May ’ 08 Jun ’ 08 Sep ’ 08 8% Oct ’ 08 Nov ’ 08 Jan ’ 09 2% Feb ’ 09 Mar ’ 09 Apr ’ 09 May ’ 09 May ’ 09 Sep ’ 09 Sep ’ 09 Nov ’ 09 Oct ’ 09 Jan ’ 10 2008 2009 Feb ’ 10 Mar ’ 10 2010 Apr ’ 10 6% May ’ 10 Jun ’ 10
If there were a general e lection tomorrow, to which party or independent candidate would you give your first preference vote ? ( Base: All adults WHO WILL VOTE 18+) CURRENT FIRST PREFERENCE SUPPORT Core figures 27 th June 2010 Excluding undecided 2007 Election Results % % % Fine Gael 28 33 27 Fianna Fáil 20 24 42 Labour 23 27 10 Sinn Féin 7 8 7 Green Party 2 2 5 Independents/Others 5 6 6 Undecided 15
Impact of Fine Gael leadership challenge victory by Enda Kenny on attitude towards him making a good Taoiseach ( Base: All adults 18+) NET GAIN More confidence that he can make a good Taoiseach Has made no difference NET GAIN TOTAL Male Female 18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 65+ Fianna Fáil Fine Gael Labour Sinn Fein Gender Party Support at last GE Age Less confidence that he can make a good Taoiseach 29% 21% 49% Don’t know +7% 1% ABC1 C2DE Dublin ROL Munster Conn/Ulster Social Class Region
Yes No Understands people like me Will make/ Has made a good Taoiseach Is a safe pair of hands Image of Enda Kenny among the electorate vs. Brian Cowen ratings in March 2010 ( Base: All adults 18+) Capable of leading Ireland out of recession Don’t Know 8% 7% 7% 5% 5% Jun’10 Mar’10 Jun’10 Mar’10 Jun’10 Mar’10 Mar’10 4% 4% Jun’10 6%
Putting party support aside, which of these current leaders do you believe would make the best Taoiseach for Ireland ( Base: All adults 18+) None of these Eamonn Gilmore Enda Kenny Eamonn Gilmore Support TOTAL Male Female 18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 65+ Fianna Fáil Fine Gael Labour Sinn Fein Gender Current Party Support Age Brian Cowen ABC1 C2DE Dublin ROL Munster Conn/Ulster Social Class Region % 1 st preference
Putting party support aside, which of these current leaders do you believe would make the best Taoiseach for Ireland ( Base: All adults 18+) None of these Eamonn Gilmore Enda Kenny Brian Cowen % Best Taoiseach x Current Party Support FF FG Labour Other (SF, Green, Ind) 24 28 80 46 18 59 10 17 49 7 6 20 9 5 3 17