A new Trinity News poll conducted last week has revealed little student support for government policies. Only 27% of students polled were confident in coalition policies, while 48% who were not and 25% were unsure.
Despite this, both coalition parties can salvage some comfort from our survey. If an election were held tomorrow, Fine Gael would take 28% of Trinity students’ vote, slightly above the 24% they took in the nationwide Ipsos MRBI poll published last week in the Irish Times. In joint second place, Labour enjoyed the support of 13% of students interviewed, also scoring 4 points above their Irish Times total, while the Green Party also polled at 13%, significantly more than the 2% of the vote they polled nationally in the last general election.
Our poll brought little joy for Fianna Fáil supporters. Dáil Éireann’s largest opposition party emerged with the support of just 12% of respondents, well below the 19% it has averaged in national polls since the local and European elections. Despite taking second place in May’s European elections and vying with Fine Gael for first place in many national polls, there was little evidence of strong support for Sinn Féin amongst students with the party taking a mere 8% of support on campus, well below the 24% it recorded in the Irish Times’ survey and the 30% it polled in the recent Dublin South-West by-election.
The remaining 26% of interviewees intend to vote for an independent or smaller party candidate, a figure slightly above most national polls, most of which record support for independents and other parties at around a quarter of the electorate.
Core voting figures
The so-called core voting figures – before undecideds are excluded – have Fine Gael ahead with 16% support, Labour and the Greens on 8% each, Fianna Fáil on 7%, Sinn Féin on 5% with other smaller parties and independents on 15%. 13% indicated they would not vote and a significant portion of students – 29% of respondents – said they were undecided on the issue. 15% indicated that they would vote for a different party.
Fine Gael can take further comfort that Enda Kenny is Trinity students’ preferred taoiseach with 24% of the overall vote, comfortably out polling his party in the popularity stakes and his coalition rival, Joan Burton, who 15% of respondents would like to see leading the government. Third choice was opposition leader, Micheál Martin, who was 7% of students’ first choice for taoiseach. Trailing behind him, with 2% of the vote, was Sinn Féin president, Gerry Adams. 22% favoured someone other than the leaders of the Dáil’s four main parties to become taoiseach, while 30% were undecided.
Students were less indecisive on the issue of third level fees, with 55% considering the charge’s rise to €3,000 a year in Budget 2015 “too high”, 35% considering it the “correct amount” and only 2% believing it “too low” a figure. 8% had no opinion on the issue.
Trinity News interviewed 130 students face-to-face in three separate locations – the Hamilton building, Front Square and the arts block – between Wednesday 8th October and Friday 10th October.