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FG surge to 26% in Dublin South Central

By Liam Keegan

A NEW POLL shows Fine Gael and Labour both on 26 per cent of first-preference votes in Dublin South Central, with Fianna Fáil on 12 per cent.

The Poll, conducted this week for The Liberty by journalism students from DIT School of Media, shows Fine Gael’s growing strength in the constituency, where the party won just 14 per cent of the vote in the 2007 general election.

Sinn Féin candidate Aengus Ó Snódaigh TD, at 16 per cent, appears favourite to top the poll on the first count, since the Fine Gael and Labour votes will be split among three candidates for each party.

The figures will be disappointing for Labour, who had been regarded before the start of the campaign as being in with a shout of winning three seats here, in this five-seat constituency. They appear to be in a fight to win just two.

People Before Profit (PBP) candidate Joan Collins is at 8 per cent in the poll, as are other Independents. The Green Party bottomed the poll at 3 per cent, suggesting a fall in popularity since entering coalition with Fianna Fáil.

The Greens polled 6 per cent here in 2007. Fianna Fáil were on 33 per cent in 2007.

Although the poll did not ask Fine Gael and Labour voters for specific candidate preferences, analysts predict Fine Gael’s Catherine Byrne TD is likely to retain her seat, and Labour’s Eric Byrne will probably be elected to replace Mary Upton as local Labour TD.

O Snodaigh also looks likely to be elected, on the basis of this opinion poll.

The allocation of the remaining two seats remains unclear, with sole Fianna Fáil candidate Michael Mulcahy probably depending on transfers to retain his seat. The other FF TD for the area, Sean Ardagh, has retired.

The 8 per cent for Joan Collins in the poll may understate her support, as she ran as an Independent for many years prior to joining PBP. Some of her supporters may mistakenly have indicated “Independent” to the pollsters. She may also benefit heavily from transfers from Independents in the second and subsequent counts.

A number of other questions were put to potential voters. The poll shows that only 26 per cent would be happy with a single party Fine Gael government.

When asked if they would vote for a party for a part that would offer a free national health service and free third level education at the expense of raising taxes, 65 per cent said yes.

The poll was conducted in 10 locations throughout the constituency, polling a total of 274 people who said they planned to vote and expressed a preference, with many of those who were polled undecided on their final vote. The results have a margin of error of between 3 and 5 per cent.

When asked if they would vote for a party that would offer a free national health service and free third level education at the expense of raising taxes, 65 per cent said yes.

Only 26 per cent would be happy with a single-party Fine Gael Government

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