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Sinn Fein popularity hitting unseen heights in Republic as Mary Lou McDonald takes 15pc lead over both Fine Gael and Fianna Fail


Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald speaking during the Sinn Fein Ard Fheis (Damien Storan/PA)

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald speaking during the Sinn Fein Ard Fheis (Damien Storan/PA)

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald speaking during the Sinn Fein Ard Fheis (Damien Storan/PA)

Sinn Fein has increased its lead in the Republic over Fine Gael and Fianna Fail to a record high and is now 15pc ahead in a new opinion poll.

The latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI opinion poll shows that Sinn Fein has the support of 35pc of voters, as coalition partners Fine Gael and Fianna Fail both have 20pc backing.

Support for Mary Lou McDonald’s party has risen by three points to 35pc since the last poll in October.

Satisfaction with the Government has fallen by three points to 43pc.

The ratings of the party leaders sees little change, with Taoiseach and Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin up two to 43pc; Fine Gael leader and Tanaiste Leo Varadkar up two to 45pc; and Ms McDonald up one to 44pc.

The Irish Times reported on the state of the parties when undecided voters and those unlikely to vote are excluded.

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The results of the remaining parties show that 5pc of voters support the Green Party (down two); 4pc back Labour (no change); and 15pc back Independents/others (up three).

Among the Independents and smaller parties, the Social Democrats is on 2pc (down one); Solidarity-People Before Profit is on 2pc (no change); Aontu is on 1pc (no change); and Independents are on 11pc (up one).

The majority of voters felt the Government has done a good job managing Covid-19.

When asked “all in all do you think the Government has done a good job or a bad job handling the Covid-19 pandemic”, 57pc responded that it has done a good job, against 29pc who said it had done a bad job.

However, this marks a decline since a similar question was asked in October, which saw 74pc of voters saying the Government was doing a good job.

Respondents to the poll were also asked about potential further Covid-19 restrictions, and which measures the Government should or should not consider.

31pc said the Government should consider closing bars and restaurants, while 66pc said it should not be considered.

On closing gyms, 37pc were in favour of considering the move, with 58pc opposed.

66pc of voters were against banning attendance at outdoor sport events, with 30pc in favour.

The majority of respondents were against the possibility of school closures, with 72pc saying it should not be considered, and just 23 pc in favour.

However, there was majority support for limiting household gatherings over Christmas (53pc), continuing mask-wearing for those aged nine to 12 (61pc) and limiting numbers in bars and restaurants (69pc).

54pc of voters also said that the Government should consider banning international travel.

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