Northern Ireland news

Opinion poll gives Sinn Féin 10-point lead

Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald saw her personal approval rating rise from 42 per cent to 43 per cent

A NEW opinion poll has gives Sinn Féin a 10-point lead over its nearest political rivals in the Republic.

The Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll puts Sinn Féin at 32 per cent, ahead of the main governing coalition parties Fine Gael on 22 per cent and Fianna Fail on 20 per cent.

Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald saw her personal approval rating rise from 42 per cent to 43 per cent, while the remaining three main party leaders experienced a fall in their approval rating.

The result is the highest ever rating for Sinn Féin in the poll series which have shown the party has gained support among older and wealthier voters.

The Sinn Féin result is up one per cent on the previous poll while Fianna Fail is unchanged and Fine Gael has fallen by 5 per cent.

Ministers would have been hoping for a `Covid bounce' with the easing of restrictions and re-opening of society in recent months, but it does not appear to have materialised.

The Irish Times opinion poll looks at the popularity of the parties when undecided voters and those unlikely to vote are excluded and was conducted among 1,200 adults at 120 sampling points across all constituencies on October 2, 4 and 5.

It puts the Green Party at seven per cent (up one per cent) and Labour on four per cent (up one per cent).

The Greens are now at the same point as the last general election, while party leader Eamon Ryan's personal approval rating has slipped by one point to 25 per cent - the lowest of all the party leaders.

Among the Independents and smaller parties, the Social Democrats are on three per cent (up one per cent); Solidarity-People Before Profit on two per cent (no change); Aontú on one per cent (no change) and Independents on 10 per cent (up two per cent).

The results also show a drop in the satisfaction rating of the coalition government from 53 per cent in June to 46 per cent.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin's personal approval rating fell by eight points to 41 per cent and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar saw a substantial drop of 13 points to 43 per cent.

Fine Gael and the Tánaiste are at their lowest level since the last general election and follows a backlash over the appointment of former minister Katherine Zappone as a UN special envoy and a motion of no-confidence in Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney.

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