Generations divided over the government’s response to housing and inflation

A notable finding from today’s Sunday Independent/Ireland Thinks opinion poll is the apparent and growing divergence between younger and older generations, largely influenced by housing issues.

At the end of a week in which the government announced a €11 billion budget, support for the coalition parties remained broadly unchanged, while support for the main opposition party, Sinn Féin, rose to a record 37 percent.

The rising cost of living remains the most pressing concern for people as winter approaches, although the budget appears to have calmed public concerns somewhat. In summary, 50 percent of the public believe the budget will make some or even a big difference in their ability to cope with soaring inflation, driven primarily by energy costs, while 46 percent believe it will make no difference .

This finding is symptomatic of what we might call the Great Divide. Overall, older generations are more satisfied with their households and consider the government’s response to the current crisis to be appropriate.

Younger generations in lower-paying jobs are less satisfied with their household, with almost half (46%) of 18-34 year-olds believing the government has not done enough – and it is these voters who are in growing numbers are reporting to Sinn Féin, taking support for the party to a new high.

In this opinion poll, we look at the demographics that explain the surge in support for the Mary Lou McDonald’s party and highlight data that clearly illustrates the gap between them

Among those who do not own their own home, 51 percent support Sinn Féin. Of this cohort, just 9 percent said they would vote for Fine Gael, with support for Fianna Fáil being even lower at just 6 percent. This is a sobering realization for the two major coalition parties.

The government may claim some degree of mitigation for its failure to deal with the housing crisis, citing a rising population, rising construction costs and investors and landlords looking elsewhere, but the bottom line is that the situation isn’t improving fast enough to satisfy the locked-out generation.

On the contrary, concerns about housing are on the rise again – up three points in this survey and identified by more than half (55 percent) as one of the top two priorities government should have today.

We’ve already seen government warnings that the Housing for All plan is missing important targets. It will come under further pressure as the country faces headwinds from inflation, economic slowdown and a possible recession over the next year.

None of this means that a Sinn Féin-led government is inevitable, as some commentators have suggested.

Even without a budget increase, the combined total of Fine Gael/Fianna Fáil remains just ahead of support for Sinn Féin at 38 percent. However, there is a lingering feeling that the ground is shifting ahead of a harsh winter. Generations divided over the government’s response to housing and inflation

Fry Electronics Team

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