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Sunday Independent/Ireland Thinks poll: Sinn Féin support plummets and independents now most popular with voters

Mary Lou McDonald’s personal popularity sinks as party drops seven pointsNearly one in four now say they will vote for independent candidates

Support for Sinn Féin has plummeted with less than six days until the country goes to vote.

The Sunday Independent/Ireland Thinks opinion poll has recorded a massive seven point drop, to 22 per cent, in voter support for Sinn Féin in the final week of the local and European election campaign.

This is a 15 point drop on Sinn Féin’s support record in October 2022, when the party had 37 per cent of voter support.

Mary Lou McDonald’s party is now neck and neck with Taoiseach Simon Harris’s Fine Gael, which has risen three points to 22 per cent in the last month.

McDonald’s personal popularity has fallen to 36 per cent, while Harris (48 per cent) is now the leader of the country’s most popular party alongside Fianna Fáil’s Micheál Martin (48 per cent).

However, the poll showed that the most popular choice among voters ahead of next week’s election is Independent/Other, which has increased support by four points to 23 per cent.

This means that almost one in four voters plans to vote for independent candidates or candidates representing small political parties.

In a forced election, the public voted overwhelmingly for the next government to be a combination Fine Gael-Fianna Fáil-Independents (59 per cent) rather than a Sinn Féin-led government excluding Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil (41 percent).

The status of the other parties is Fianna Fáil which is up one to 17 per cent and the Social Democrats are down one to 5 per cent. The Green Party (4 percent), Aontú (3 percent), the Labor Party (3 percent) and Solidarity-People Before Profits (2 percent) remain unchanged.

The survey was conducted between Thursday and Friday with the same size of 1,770 and a margin of error of 2.4%.

Next Friday, June 7, voters will select 949 councilors to serve in 31 local authorities.

Meanwhile, 14 seats in the European Parliament are up for grabs in the three EU constituencies: Dublin, Southern Ireland and the North West Midlands.

In Limerick, voters will also decide who will be the country’s first directly elected mayor.

Ahead of the opening of polling stations on Friday, Fianna Fáil is the largest party in local government, while Fine Gael is in second place. Despite their dramatic drop in support, Sinn Féin is expected to gain seats on the council, having won less than 10% of the vote in 2019.

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