Consumer mood impacts political landscape – latest SBP tracking poll Jun 2014

Published by: Richard Colwell

2014.06.30

Vote intentions just five weeks after the local and European Elections, see Government parties in better position than they had been just after the elections. Fine Gael return to solid footing by securing 25% of the first preference vote, and while the Labour vote remains low at 7%, this is not as bad as seen when the leadership of the party was less clear.

Sinn Féin retain their strong position following the Local and European elections by securing 22% of the vote, which is 4% higher than they had been reaching prior to the elections. Fianna Fail however continue to suffer, this time possibly impacted by Brian Crowley’s decision to change voting block in Europe. They secure 18% of the vote, which leaves them in similar territory as at the last General Election. Independent candidates and other parties retain very strong support at 28% of the vote, although this is down slightly on that achieved immediately after the local and European elections.

The consumer mood is having a very definite impact on the political landscape. For some time REDC has identified voters’ anger at continued austerity to be one of the defining reasons for changes in vote behaviour, away from the government parties towards both Sinn Féin and Independent candidates. This is further underlined by looking at vote intentions in the context of the consumer mood.

Those who are struggling are far more likely to say that they intend to vote for either Sinn Féin or Independent parties, and far less likely to vote for Fine Gael. At the same time those that are living comfortably at the moment are far more likely to say that they intend to vote for Fine Gael.

While one might suggest this would have been the case anyway, a more detailed look at those who have switched away from Fine Gael and Labour since the last election provides an even clearer picture. Lapsed Fine Gael and Labour voters, who have shifted support to Sinn Féin or Independent candidates, are far more likely to be struggling than those who have remained loyal to the parties. Lapsed voters from all the three recent government parties including Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fail are also likely to suggest that those parties have broken their promises.

This analysis of switchers does appear to give some hope to Fine Gael and Labour. If they can help those voters to start to feel the benefit from any recovery, there still appears to be an opportunity to win back lost support. Of course this is pretty large task, with the country’s own debt demanding that austerity is not thrown out of the window at a national level.

Also, while Fine Gael and Labour supporters are more likely to feel that a recovery is happening and that they are benefitting, this still only equates to about 40% of those that voted for them in 2011. It will be vital for their fortunes at the next election that this proportion improves and their past voters at least feel they are getting some benefit for having supported the parties at the last election.

Download the full report below
SBP June 2014 Poll Report

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