Doesn’t seem like that long since I was giving my last amateur analysis to an opinion poll in the 26 counties, but a month later and it seems the Irish people have changed tack again.
Bertie will be a happy man this morning (Man Utd’s defeat yesterday aside) as Fianna Fáil seem to have had a great performance with Fianna Fáil’s support jumping up 5 percentage points to 38%. I’m sure FF will be congratulating themselves on a job well done as their boost in support seems to have come from both SF and Fine Gael. Sinn Féin have gone down to 8%. This will most probably be attributed to the Easter commemorations. Fianna Fáil will be hoping that their attempt to grasp the mantle of Republicanism has helped them in the polls. But remember this – Republicanism is for life, not just for Easter.
It will be interesting to see if Fianna Fáil can maintain these strong figures. I somehow doubt it. I’ve always predicted that Sinn Féin’s current natural level is around 10% and I don’t think their showing the next election will be too far away from that figure. How that will translate into seats will be the big question. Fianna Fáil have done well this month but it must be remembered that as well as the parade, the Dáil was also in recess and its difficult for a government to make mistakes when they aren’t sitting. Fianna Fáil currently have a huge 15% lead over Fine Gael, something that must worry Enda Kenny. While I’m sure FG will close the gap, I’m not sure if Fine Gael will ever garner enough support in the next year to be a viable governing party.
Its also interesting to note that despite having the focus of party conferences, neither the PDs nor the Greens have been able to make any gains.