Election Predictions

Image Credit: Mark Dalton via Unsplash

Caoimhe Doyle analyses the latest IPSOS/Irish Times polling data, offering her predictions for the next General Election.

 With fifteen months at most left before the next general election, opinion polls are indicating that Sinn Féin are set to become the largest party in the Dáil. The latest Irish Times/Ipsos poll, taken at the end of September, shows that Sinn Féin now leads Fianna Fáil by 14 points and Fine Gael by 16, with 34% of voters saying they would cast their first vote for Sinn Féin. 

Following a slip in support in the first half of this year, Sinn Féin have made a remarkable comeback and are now the most popular party among every demographic in Ireland, except the over 65s, where Fianna Fáil leads on 35 per cent, and among farming households, where Fine Gael leads on 31 per cent. Sinn Féin are at their most popular amongst young people, with 44% of those aged 18-24 and 43% of those aged 25-34 saying they intend to vote for them. This data does not come as a surprise, considering that the younger generation are at the forefront of the housing crisis, an issue that Sinn Féin have made their priority in recent years. 

The poll has also revealed a marked dissatisfaction with the status quo amongst the electorate, with 89 per cent of voters saying they would like to see a change to the way in which the country is run. This attitude will only benefit Sinn Féin, as they are the party that has, more than any other, promised to bring radical change to the way that Ireland is governed. 

 Sinn Féin are well aware of their popularity and have consistently been working to appeal to as many voters as possible ahead of the next election. This has involved a gradual move towards the centre, away from some of their more radical policies. They have scrapped their controversial pledge to abolish the Special Criminal Court for example. Their taxation policy however would still bring significant changes to Irish society, with higher earners being taxed significantly more if Sinn Féin were in government. 

Despite these optimistic projections, the road to power will still not be simple for Sinn Féin. Although it looks inevitable now that they will become the largest party in the next Dáil, a lot can change between now and election day. Additionally, they will likely have to form a coalition with one or more of the other parties after the election. The most likely option will be Fianna Fáil, who have yet to say definitively whether they are willing to enter a coalition with Sinn Féin. Fine Gael have already ruled this out. March 2025 may not seem like a long way away, but a week is a long time in politics, and therefore, nothing is guaranteed.