Issue polls

Poll: FG strong on economy and jobs, weak on social issues

Respondents indicate Sinn Féin best on community and protecting vulnerable

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Fianna Fáil did not lead in any category but it was second in five and its ratings spanned economic and social concerns

Stephen Collins

Sat, Dec 6, 2014, 08:15

Fine Gael outscores the other parties on major economic issues while Sinn Féin does best on community and social issues, according to the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll.

In the poll people were asked which of the political groups would be best at handling 10 major issues.

Fine Gael came out well ahead of the others on four issues.

They were growing the Irish economy, creating jobs, managing the country’s relationship with the EU and keeping Government spending under control.

Sinn Féin was ahead of other parties for putting money in people’s pockets, lowering taxes, playing an active role in the community and protecting the vulnerable.

The Independents and Others were viewed as best at speaking openly and honestly. They also tied with Sinn Féin as the most likely to reform the way we do politics.

Representative sample

The survey was undertaken last Monday and Tuesday among a representative sample of 1,200 voters aged 18 and over, in face-to-face interviews at 100 sampling points in all constituencies. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.8 per cent.

Fine Gael’s rating for managing Ireland’s relationship with the EU was 26 per cent; creating jobs, 22 per cent; growing the Irish economy, 25 per cent; and keeping Government spending under control, 25 per cent.

Fine Gael’s lead on the major economic issues was based on strong support from middle-class voters and farmers.

For instance, 42 per cent of AB voters, 32 per cent of C1 voters and 44 per cent of farmers felt the party was best at growing the economy, but that view was only held by 12 per cent of C2 voters and 12 per cent of DE voters.

Sinn Féin’s best score was for playing an active role in the community, 21 per cent, followed by lowering taxes, 19 per cent, and an 18 per cent score for protecting the vulnerable in society and putting more money in people’s pockets.

Poorer voters

The party’s score was based on high ratings among poorer voters but it also had a spread across the social classes.

For instance, the party’s best score of 21 per cent for playing an active role at community level was based on a 27 per cent score among DE voters, and it got 20 per cent from C2 and C1 voters and even scored 17 per cent on this issue among AB voters.

However, on growing the Irish economy the party got just 3 per cent among AB voters, 9 per cent among C1, 13 per cent among C2 and 20 per cent among DE voters.

Independents and smaller parties had a similar rating on the economy but did best on speaking honestly and openly.

On that issue the group got 18 per cent among AB voters, 21 per cent among C1, 15 per cent in C2 and 21 per cent among DE voters.

Fianna Fáil did not lead in any category but it was second in five and its ratings spanned both economic and social concerns.

Labour had poor scores in almost all categories but did best on protecting the vulnerable in society.