A poll conducted by Trinity News shows the Social Democrats to be the most popular Irish political party among Trinity Students for the third year running.
Just over a fifth of students polled (20.1%) said that if a general election were held tomorrow, they would give the Social Democrats their first preference vote, while the People Before Profit-Solidarity (PBP-Solidarity) alliance and Sinn Féin received 17.9% and 16.9% respectively.
For both the Social Democrats and PBP-Solidarity, these figures are far higher than in national polls, in which both parties rarely poll above 3%, indicating that students and young adults make up a significant proportion of these parties’ support bases.
For Sinn Féin, the numbers represent a decrease of more than half in comparison to their performance in recent national polls, which place them at around 35%, perhaps indicating that the party’s recent surge does not owe as much to young people as has been estimated – or simply that Trinity students are an unusual demographic.
It is the first time that PBP-Solidarity has overtaken Sinn Féin in Trinity News’ annual poll at least in recent years, up from 15.9% in last year’s poll and 13% in 2021.
The party may be enjoying increased popularity due to its vocal criticism of the government’s response to the cost of living crisis affecting many students, as well as its enthusiastic welcome of refugees which left-leaning students have also embraced in response to far-right protests.
Rather than continue on a downward trend, the Green Party has held steady among Trinity students, polling at 13% for the third year in a row. Despite a devastating tumble from the top of the poll in 2020, the party seemingly has a loyal bloc of student supporters keeping support consistent throughout their time in government.
Among the other two government parties, Fine Gael holds a not insignificant 9.9%, while Fianna Fáil holds a less favourable 3% of first preferences, smaller than the proportion of people who said they would not vote or would spoil their ballot.
4.8% of students indicated a preference for independent candidates, while votes cast for other parties included two for the National Party, one for Aontú, one for Republican Sinn Féin, and one for An Rabharta Glas – Green Left.
The poll, which was carried out between 22-25 February, closed before the announcement of Holly Cairns as new leader of the Social Democrats.
Cairns is due to make her maiden speech as leader of the party at 3pm this afternoon in The Tara Building, Tara Street.
The poll uses a representative sample of 463 students, with a margin of error of 4%.