PUBLIC support for Sinn Féin has dropped for the first time in more than eight months, a new poll reveals as the party gathers for its ard fheis in Dublin this weekend.
Mary Lou McDonald’s party is still by far the most popular in the country, its support dropping three points to 34%, according to the latest Ireland Thinks poll for the Sunday Independent.
It is the first poll reversal in the Ireland Thinks series for the Sunday Independent since March this year.
There is no increase in support for government parties, however, with Fine Gael unchanged at 21%, Fianna Fáil also unchanged at 17% and the Green Party down a point at 3%.
The poll also reveals that the public is equally divided over whether they would prefer Tánaiste Leo Varadkar to become Taoiseach next month or Micheál Martin to continue in the position.
Ahead of the planned rotation of the Taoiseach’s office, 39% of voters want Varadkar to replace the leader of Fianna Fáil, while 39% want Martin to remain in the lead in the election. Just over a fifth of voters, 22%, are unsure.
The fall in support for Sinn Féin, which comes as it rallied for its ard fheis at the RDS on Saturday, follows a series of controversies involving the party in recent weeks.
They include the jailing of former councilor Jonathan Dowdall for his role in the Regency Hotel murder, a new biography of former minister Shane Ross which has raised questions about how Mary Lou McDonald paid for the renovation of his family home and the current legal action by the leader of Sinn Féin. against RTE.
The party also came under fire last week after Sinn Féin housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin suggested sacking a senior civil servant – a remark he has since retracted.
Sinn Féin’s fall has benefited other smaller parties with the Social Democrats up one point to 4pc, while Aontú, which is led by former Sinn Féin TD Peadar Tóibín, is also up one. at 4 pcs. The Independents and Others are up two points to 10%, while Labor remains unchanged at 3%.
Solidarity-People Before Profit is also up 1-5%.
The survey was conducted with a sample of 1,002 people with a margin of error of +/- 3 pc.
For more polls and analysis see Tomorrow’s Sunday Independent and Independent.ie