Final PP GE11 campaign poll results2011.02.23
The final poll of the GE11 campaign, with polling conducted right up to the 22nd February, sees voters continue to make up their minds leaving just 13% undecided, as we move into the final few days. Fine Gael support continues on the gradual ascent seen throughout the campaign, with the party securing 40% share of the first preference vote overall, up another 1% since the weekend, but perhaps a little short of what may be needed for an overall majority. Labour manages to correct some of its decline in recent polls by securing 18% share.
This may suggest the party has turned the corner on its recent declines, and may yet see further small improvements by polling day. Today’s poll does leave the party at almost double the support they achieved in 2007, but it is still somewhere behind where they had hoped to be at the start of the campaign. Fianna Fail support falls back slightly in this final poll, leaving the party on just 15% first preference share. When adjustments are made for possible “shy voters” the party may secure closer to 17% – but this is still a long way behind the mid 20’s target set when Michael Martin took over as leader. Sinn Fein support also slips back slightly in this poll to leave them securing 10% of the first preference vote. Given that the parties voters are possibly the least likely to actually go and vote, to achieve this share on polling day would certainly be an improvement on the 7% achieved in 2007. The Green Party takes a 3% share of the vote, although the reality is that the party has been trending at 2.5% throughout the campaign and continues to do so. It is only rounding which leaves them on either 2% or 3% in different polls.
They will however be happy to see support stronger in Dublin at 5%, where most of their possible seat takers are based. Support for Independents & Other Parties, remains very high at 14%, where they have been consistently polling during the campaign. However, the seat return on this may not be as high as expected, as there are so many independent candidates that their share of the vote is likely to be fragmented So how likely is it that this poll will be replicated on Election Day? The fact that the undecided voters is so low gives confidence to the results. However, it should be noted that there are still 32% who are pretty sure, but haven’t completely made up their minds; and another 9% who definitely haven’t made up their minds yet. This means that parties do have votes to fight for in the last days. The Independent candidates share of the vote looks most at threat from this uncertainly, with almost half saying they have not completely made up their minds yet. Given how many Independent Candidate voters were previously Fianna Fail supporters, this does perhaps suggest that FF could potentially get a small boost come Election Day.
There are also 9% of those claiming they will vote Fine Gael who also suggest they have not completely made up their minds yet. This suggests that Fine Gael do still need to be careful not to mess anything up, between now and Election Day. At the same time loyalty to the Fine Gael vote has grown very quickly during the campaign, with 29% now definite to give the party their first preference, up from 20% at the start. A further 17% say they are likely to vote for the party, which still allows for a possible majority for the party if they have a great last few days. This hardening Fine Gael loyalty is also supported by the leader ratings, which confirm that Kenny is the leader that most people would now like to see as Taoiseach; with 35% now supporting him, up a staggering 12% since the start of the campaign. Gilmore is the leader to have suffered most as the campaign has progressed, slipping from 26% support in January, down to 21% in today’s poll. §The leaders debate which takes place after this poll was taken, will of course put the spotlight on Kenny again and this may yet have an impact; but how much is debatable, with less than half of all voters (47%) saying that the debates so far have had an impact on how they will vote. Instead, news and media coverage (71%), manifestos (68%) and discussions with friends and family (58%) are all seen to have more impact on how people will have made up their mind to vote.
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