Northern Ireland news

New poll reveals popularity of Sinn Féin in Republic hits record high

Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald is the most popular political leader in the Republic, according to the poll

THE popularity of Sinn Féin in the Republic has hit a record high with Mary Lou McDonald the most popular political leader, according to a new poll.

Support for the party has risen to 36 per cent - up one point from the previous rating - and means it is just one point behind the combined level of support for the government parties Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.

The Ireland Thinks monthly poll series for the Sunday Independent also comes just two months after Sinn Féin became the largest party in the recent Assembly election in the north, winning 27 seats.

It also marked the first time a nationalist party won most seats and been entitled to the First Minister role.

The survey, which was carried out on Friday and polled 1,133 people, found that support for Fine Gael is at 22 per cent, up two, and Fianna Fáil is on 15 per cent, down two.

The other member of the coalition, the Green Party, is on 4 per cent (up one), the same as Labour which is unchanged.

Support for the Social Democrats’ support fell by two points to 3 per cent, while support for Solidarity-People Before Profit remained unchanged on 3 per cent and Aontú, also on 3 per cent.

Support for Independents and other parties stands at 10 per cent, an increase of two points.

However, while Ms McDonald came out top as the most popular leader with 44 per cent, her support falls behind President Michael D Higgins, whose approval rating stands at 66 per cent.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin's approval rating is on 41 per cent (down three), with Tánaiste Leo Varadkar on 35 per cent (down three) and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan on 18 per cent (down 3).

The poll also found that the cost of living and the housing crisis remain the two most important priorities that voters in the Republic believe need to be dealt with.

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