RED C interviewed a random sample of 1000 adults aged 18+ by telephone between the 22 nd & 24 th March 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 – 28 th March 2010 - Opinion Poll
Voters steer clear of Fianna Fail again, and appear unimpressed with Cowen’s cabinet reshuffle
Voters have turned again on Fianna Fail after two months of slightly more positive polling results, and appear unimpressed with Brian Cowen’s re-shuffle according to their reaction in today’s Sunday Business Post/RED C poll. The poll was taken this Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, meaning two thirds of all those questioned were asked their opinion after the reshuffle had taken place on Tuesday.
The biggest shift in today’s poll is Fianna Fail’s share of the vote falling back by a significant 3%, leaving the party securing just 24% of the first preference vote. This will be a major disappointment for the party after the first two months of the year had seen Fianna Fail secure a relatively better share of 27%, which had perhaps led the party to believe that maybe the corner had been turned. It also suggests that the impact of the re-shuffle has certainly not had a positive impact on voter opinion. Coming on the back of party back benchers questioning Brian Cowen’s credentials, this poll will not be welcomed by the leader.
The apparent negative public reaction is further emphasised by specific reaction among voters to Brian Cowen himself. In this month’s poll we asked voters what they thought about Brian Cowen and his leadership of the country. We asked voters to rate him on several attributes, some of which were the same as those we had asked voters about when he was just about to become party leader and Taoiseach in 2008. This gives us a good benchmark in order to determine how opinion had changed in the past two years.
The first attribute we quizzed voters about was how much they felt Brian Cowen understood people like them, in other words what affinity they had to him. Back in 2008, 54% of voters felt they had a close affinity with the Taoiseach, but in today’s poll this had fallen dramatically, with just 31% now stating they felt Brian Cowen understands people like them.
The next measure we looked at was whether he had made a good Taoiseach, and we compared this to how voters had originally felt he would do as Taoiseach. Just before he became leader in 2008, 72% agreed that he would make a good Taoiseach, but now this has also fallen heavily, with to just 27% who now believe that he has made a good Taoiseach.
Most worrying perhaps for Mr Cowen however is the public’s view of him as a “safe pair of hands”. This was the key trait that voters really attributed to Mr Cowen back in 2008 with 74% agreeing this to be the case. But in the past two years this attribute has been decimated among the public, with just 31% agreeing he is a safe pair hands in this week’s poll.
Given the importance we have seen in terms of ability with regard to the economy on voter support, we probed further on this, asking voters whether they believed he was capable of leading the country out of recession. Just 29% of all voters agreed that he was capable, and perhaps even more worryingly for the party 30% of current Fianna Fail supporters did not agree that he was capable, while 52% of those that supported the party at the last election do not believe he is capable.
This collapse in Brian Cowen’s own ratings are of course closely linked to the change in economic fortunes the country has witnessed in the past two years, but the scale of their fall will not help his case among his own party backbenchers already voicing concern.
For Fine Gael this is of course all very good news. Off the back of their own National Conference last weekend, they have improved their own share, gaining 1% of the first preference vote to leave them securing 35% overall. While the focus of this poll has by its nature been on Fianna Fail, Fine Gael remains the party with the largest share of the vote, with the party consistently polling in the mid 30’s. A concern if any for them will be that they didn’t pick up more of the Fianna Fail decline, particularly in light of the coverage the party received last weekend. It appears perhaps that just as Fianna Fail has a baseline support level of about 25%, similarly Fine Gael struggle to break through the 35% support barrier.
Labour have also failed somewhat to capitalise further on Fianna Fail woes, but do retain 17% of the first preference share, the same they have secured in the last four polls taken. Instead it is Sinn Fein and Independents who mop up the loss of support for Fianna Fail. Both parties increase their share of the first preference vote by 1%. For Sinn Fein this is the second such gain in the past two months, suggesting they have seen an upward trend in support this year that has regained the ground lost in January.
The Green Party also retains the same share of the first preference vote, taking 5% share, suggesting that the junior government partner has not been damaged by the re-shuffle or the public sectors growing industrial action.
Today’s poll also gauged voter opinion on the public service sectors growing industrial action. In this regard it appears that events at the passport office may not be doing the public sector workers any favours with the general public. Almost two thirds (62%) of all voters state that they agree that public sector workers should stop their actions and get back to work, with just 35% supporting actions being taken by public sector workers.
But this negative reaction to the industrial action does the government no favours, suggesting voters don’t like what has happened in the past, but as has been seen in previous polls do perhaps believe that the government is right to take tough measures on the economy. The positive reaction to Brian Lennihan seen in previous polls, and the public’s apparent acceptance that he is capable of handling the economy; perhaps further emphasises the negative reaction seen in today’s poll to Brian Cowen, his leadership abilities, and the reaction to his reshuffle by the public, and will lend further fire to apparent discontent among his backbenches.
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 October 2009 November 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 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 35% 24% 17% Independent May ’ 09 Mar ’ 06 Apr ’ 06 May ’ 06 Jun ’ 06 Jul ’ 06 Sep ’ 06 Oct ’ 06 Nov ’ 06 Jan ’ 07 Feb ’ 07 Mar ’ 07 Apr ’ 07 May ’ 07 May ’ 07 May ’ 07 May ’ 07 GE 2007 Sep ’ 07 Oct ’ 07 Nov ’ 07 Jan ’ 08 Feb ’ 08 Mar ’ 08 Apr ’ 08 May ’ 08 Jun ’ 08 Sep ’ 08 9% Oct ’ 08 Nov ’ 08 Jan ’ 09 5% Feb ’ 09 Mar ’ 09 Apr ’ 09 10% GE 2002 Feb ’ 06 Jan ’ 06 Nov ’ 05 Sep ’ 05 May ’ 09 Sep ’ 09 Sep ’ 09 Oct ’ 09 Nov ’ 09 Jan ’ 10 2006 2007 2008 2009 Mar ’10 2010 Feb ’10
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 35% 24% 17% Independent GE 2007 Sep ’ 07 Oct ’ 07 Nov ’ 07 Jan ’ 08 Feb ’ 08 Mar ’ 08 Apr ’ 08 May ’ 08 Jun ’ 08 Sep ’ 08 9% Oct ’ 08 Nov ’ 08 Jan ’ 09 5% Feb ’ 09 Mar ’ 09 Apr ’ 09 10% May ’ 09 May ’ 09 Sep ’ 09 Sep ’ 09 Nov ’ 09 Oct ’ 09 Jan ’ 10 2008 2009 Feb ’ 10 Mar ’ 10 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+) CURRENT FIRST PREFERENCE SUPPORT Core figures 28 th Mar 2010 Excluding undecided 2007 Election Results % % % Fine Gael 30 35 27 Fianna Fáil 21 25 42 Labour 15 17 10 Sinn Féin 8 10 7 Green Party 5 5 5 Independents/Others 7 9 6 Undecided 14
Yes No Understands people like me Will make/ Has made a good Taoiseach Is a safe pair of hands Image of Brian Cowen among the electorate ( Base: All adults 18+) Capable of leading Ireland out of recession Don’t Know 8% 7% 7% 5% 5% Apr’08 Mar’10 Apr’08 Mar’10 Apr’08 Mar’10 Mar’10 4% 4%
Brian Cowen ratings since becoming Taoiseach ( Base: All adults 18+) Fianna Fáil 1st Preference share 24% Apr ’ 08 May ’ 08 Jun ’ 08 Sep ’ 08 Oct ’ 08 Nov ’ 08 Jan ’ 09 Feb ’ 09 Mar ’ 09 Apr ’ 09 May ’ 09 May ’ 09 Sep ’ 09 Sep ’ 09 Nov ’ 09 Oct ’ 09 Jan ’ 10 Cowen takes over as leader and Taoiseach Feb ’ 10 Mar ’ 10 40% Brian Cowen ratings April 2008 Understands people like me 52% Will make a good Taoiseach 74% Is a safe pair of hands 74% Brian Cowen ratings March 2010 Understands people like me 31% Has made a good Taoiseach 27% Is a safe pair of hands 31% Is capable of leading Ireland 29% out of recession
Attitudes towards public sector industrial action ( Base: All adults 18+) Agree strongly Agree slightly Disagree slightly Disagree strongly Don’t know The public sector workers should stop all action and get back to work I fully support the actions currently being taken by public sector workers I would not be happy to see an escalation of actions above the current level