Donald Trump once said he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue in New York and he wouldn’t lose voters.
The government here could go down O’Connell Street in Dublin handing out €50 notes and it seems they won’t win voters.
One of the questions following the inflation budget last week was whether the announcements made would boost popular support for the main government parties.
Well, the answer is there – and it’s no.
If anything, it’s the opposite.
In this month Sunday independent/Ireland Thinks, we asked if the budget would make a difference in how people would vote in the next election: 25 percent said yes, although they would most likely vote for a ruling party. This is gratitude to you.
The poll also shows a slight increase in support for Sinn Féin to a new record high of 37 percent, with Fine Gael (21 percent) flat and Fianna Fáil (17 percent) up one point.
The government would say that it makes decisions not to win public approval, but to do what needs to be done.
That’s true to a certain extent, but not necessarily. The coalition may be disappointed this weekend, but it will also hope its fortunes improve once the money ends up in people’s pockets.
When Covid struck two years ago, it did the right thing too – €31 billion was allocated for direct action to see the country through the situation.
Among other things, this colossal spending helped the economy recover as the pandemic receded.
And that recovery helped in part to provide the wherewithal for that living budget.
But popular support for the government did not increase either as the Covid miasm eased. In something it then also decreased.
So there is precedent to support the claim that this is an unloved government – or a government in power at an unloved time.
War, plague, disease, the onset of winter, rising bills and for many people no home of their own – what is there to love?
Still, the government would have thought that providing €11 billion in the budget – including over €4 billion to cut the cost of living – would have earned it at least some reluctant gratitude.
But no, at least not noticeably. However, if you look closely enough at the survey results, there is some satisfaction that the cost of living should decrease somewhat.
For many, the budget has done exactly what it says on the tin – it will defuse the cost of living this winter. No more and no less.
Micheál Martin often points out that opinion polls are a snapshot and the times we live in now are not comfortable for anyone.
This is backed up in this poll, with around a third (33%) admitting everyone is having a hard time right now, with younger people (27%) feeling particularly hard — and they tend to support Sinn Féin.
However, the Taoiseach is right – when it comes to general elections, people tend to take their mind off their daily lives and look at the bigger picture.
And in fact, in the last week of the election campaign, there is often a decisive change for or against one party or the other.
The next election is more than two years away. Who will win? Ask us with five days to go, but as of this writing, it looks doubtful that Sinn Féin’s support will wane significantly in due course.
It’s also doubtful there’s a person in the country seriously considering their second and third preference votes this weekend.
They’re much more likely to be wondering how long they can get away with turning the heat off. In fact, 87pc will turn on more slowly this winter.
The realists in government will get all of this.
This weekend, they will note with gratitude that more than a quarter (27 percent) feel they will be better off because of the budget, and half (49 percent) at least feel they will be the same as before.
When asked to what extent the budget will help them manage living expenses, 44 percent say it will make some difference and 6 percent say it will make a big difference.
And as for the level of people’s concerns about their overall financial situation… Well, the only good news is that 16 percent have fewer budget worries and 51 percent are the same as before — which is probably worry enough.
Here’s the bitter truth of life – there’s always something to worry about.
In this survey series, we routinely ask which issues should be prioritized by government. This month, the cost of living (66 percent) has fallen slightly, by seven points.
But there will always be something else for this whack-a-mole government: Housing (55 percent) and health care (20 percent) are both up three points.
According to our survey, most people believe it will take up to two or more than two years to overcome the cost-of-living crisis.
With a possible recession next year, it is increasingly looking like Housing Secretary Darragh O’Brien has just two years left to show the love to this government. Then no pressure.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/money-cant-buy-them-love-sunday-independent-poll-reveals-no-budget-bounce-for-government-as-sinn-fein-hits-record-37pc-42032941.html Money can’t buy them love – an independent Sunday poll shows no budget jump for the government as Sinn Féin hits a record 37 percent