MRBI Poll results – December 2010 –

Fianna Fáil plunges to record low level of support in latest poll
STEPHEN COLLINS, Political Editor
SUPPORT FOR Fianna Fáil has dropped to its lowest ever point, according to the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll which also shows Taoiseach Brian Cowen and the Government at record lows.

The poll reveals a surge in support for Sinn Féin, while Fine Gael has bounced back to regain its status as the most popular party. The Labour Party has come down by eight points from the peak it achieved in the last Irish Times poll in September.
The drop in support for Fianna Fáil and the Government has come in the wake of the four-year national recovery plan, the EU-International Monetary Fund bailout and the Budget. It indicates the recent robust performance by Mr Cowen has not turned the tide of public opinion.
When people were asked who they would vote for if there was a general election tomorrow, the figures for party support (when undecided voters are excluded) compared with the last Irish Times poll on September 30th were: Fianna Fáil, 17 per cent (down seven points); Fine Gael, 30 per cent (up six points); Labour, 25 per cent (down eight points); Sinn Féin, 15 per cent (up seven points); Green Party, 2 per cent (no change); and Independents/Others, 11 per cent (up two points).
The poll was taken on Monday and Tuesday of this week among a representative sample of 1,000 voters aged 18 and over, in face-to-face interviews at 100 sampling points in all 43 constituencies. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 per cent.
The core vote for the parties (before undecided voters are excluded) compared with the last Irish Times poll was: Fianna Fáil, 13 per cent (down six points); Fine Gael, 23 per cent (up three points); Labour, 18 per cent (down nine points); Sinn Féin, 11 per cent (up five points); Green Party, 1 per cent (down one point); Independents/Others, 9 per cent (up one point); and undecided voters, 25 per cent (up seven points).
Satisfaction with the way the Government is doing its job is just 8 per cent (down five points) while the number expressing dissatisfaction is running at 90 per cent (up seven points). Satisfaction with the Taoiseach is 14 per cent (down five points). These are the lowest ratings achieved by a government or taoiseach since MRBI began polling for The Irish Times in the autumn of 1982 and the same is true of support for Fianna Fáil.
The poll reveals the scale of the challenge facing Mr Cowen and Fianna Fáil in the next general election which has the potential to transform the Irish political landscape.
All party leaders have seen a drop in their satisfaction rating. Enda Kenny is on 23 per cent (down two points); Eamon Gilmore is on 44 per cent (down five); John Gormley, 13 per cent (down five); and Gerry Adams, 28 per cent (down one).
The poll shows 64 per cent of people have made up their minds how they will vote while 34 per cent may change their minds.
Among decided voters, the figures for party support were: Fine Gael, 32 per cent; Labour, 21 per cent; Fianna Fáil, 19 per cent; Sinn Féin, 17 per cent; Greens, 1 per cent; and Independents/Others, 10 per cent.
The result suggests Fine Gael is back on course to become the biggest party in the Dáil for the first time in its history, but Labour is still on target to have its best election result and pass out Fianna Fáil in Dáil seats. An intriguing feature is while Labour and Fine Gael combined have 55 per cent of the vote, a combination of Labour, Sinn Féin and Independents/Others has 51 per cent.
A serious source of worry for Fianna Fáil is that the party is down to 11 per cent in Dublin where it trails in fourth place. It may be left without seats in some Dublin constituencies.
The category where support for Fianna Fáil is strongest is the over-65s, largely insulated from cuts. Here it retains 33 per cent support.
A continuing strength for Labour is the fact Eamon Gilmore remains easily the most popular party leader.
Enda Kenny’s rating has fallen since the last poll but that has not hampered significant gains by his party. The Green Party is in a very vulnerable position and could lose all six of its Dáil seats.