Fianna Fáil support falls back
The standout feature of this poll is the fall-back in Fianna Fáil support following a recent revival that saw them neck-and-neck with Fine Gael on voting intention. Their support now stands at 24% while 30% express an intention to vote for Fine Gael. While speculative, there are a number of “live” issues that may have contributed to this change of sentiment:
The recent revelations about John McGuinness’ request that spouses should in some circumstances be allowed to accompany their partners on state business may have re-opened old wounds for voters who had edged back into the FF-fold, serving as a reminder of the “old-school” mentality that has dogged the party.
Likewise the tirade from Marc MacSharry (FF) in relation to Enda Kenny, labelling him a ‘clown’ and accusing him of urinating on the Seanad may have back-fired and galvanised support for the Taoiseach and caused some members of the electorate to reconsider their tentative support for FF.
The media commentary in relation to the most recent polls which showed FF and FG support tied may too have contributed to a backlash of sorts with a consistent refrain from media suggesting that voters had a short memory and questioning their speedy return to support FF.
Regarding the Seanad abolition this issue is “hotting-up” in the media and the indications are that it will be a hard-fought battle for those seeking to retain the Seanad in its current form. At a national level just over half (52%) of all adults support the view that the Seanad should be abolished, with a further 34% taking an opposing view and 14% yet to decide.
When the views of likely voters who express a view in either direction are isolated, the percentage in favour of abolition of the Seanad rises to 61% with 39% believe it should be retained. However, the debate is likely to become more nuanced as a referendum nears and the No campaigners pitch their view that a note vote is, in fact a vote for reform. A reformed Seanad was not an option in this referendum poll and nor would it be on polling day.
Fine Gael supporters (intending voters) are most likely to follow their leader and vote for its abolition (64%), with Fianna Fail voters least likely to do so (52%). The other parties all hover around the 60% mark. However regardless of party support a majority of those with a view are currently in favour of its abolition. Whether this is due to a general negativity toward the political system and a consequent desire for radical reform or a genuine ideological opposition to the Seanad is unclear.