Sinn Féin is benefiting from the growing home ownership divide in Irish society

Sinn Féin’s popularity has hit a new all-time high, with support for the main government parties in the latest Sunday Independent/Ireland Thinks opinion poll, carried out three days after the coalition’s massive €11 billion budget to tackle the cost-of-living crisis , remained largely unchanged.

And in another important finding, the survey also shows that Sinn Féin now enjoys the support of more than half of those who do not own a home.

After the budget, the cost-of-living crisis has receded somewhat as a government priority for people – but it remains the number one issue for a clear two-thirds majority (66 percent).

However, there is growing renewed sentiment that housing (55 percent), up three points, should be the government’s top priority.

The poll found that up one point, Sinn Féin (37pc) now has a 16-point lead over Fine Gael (21pc) and a 20-point lead over Fianna Fáil (17pc), also up one point.

For the first time in this survey series, it was found that more than half (51 percent) of those who do not own a home support Sinn Féin.

And of those people, only 9 percent support Fine Gael, while 6 percent intend to vote for Fianna Fáil in the next election.

This finding highlights what is now a major public divide around ownership and home ownership, and goes a long way to explaining the surge in support for Sinn Féin.

The governing parties will be disappointed this weekend that they didn’t get an increase in support after the budget, although the Green Party (4pc) is up two points after its poor performance in the September poll.

While the poll found the public was generally happy with the budget, with 55 percent saying the government’s response was appropriate, significant concerns remain about the cost of living this winter.

When asked how budget would affect their ability to cope, 44 percent of respondents said some difference, 6 percent said a big difference, but 46 percent said no difference at all, and 4 percent weren’t sure.

This finding also points to a nation divided not only on housing, but also on the cost of living, the other major issue facing the country.

The poll shows that half of the public (49 percent) believe they will be financially level after the budget, while 27 percent believe they will be better off and 24 percent believe they will be worse off.

Public concern about their financial situation remains high – just 16 percent are less concerned post-budget, while half (51 percent) are just as concerned and a third (32 percent) are more concerned.

The government’s three €200 energy credits (37 percent) were by far the most popular measure announced in the budget, followed by an adjustment to the income tax margin (16 percent).

However, a majority (51 percent) disagreed with the government’s decision not to cap energy bills, as suggested by Sinn Féin.

When asked if the budget would affect their vote in the next general election, 25 percent said yes, including 15 percent who said it would make them less likely and 10 percent more likely to vote for a ruling party.

There is significant opposition to the government’s proposal to impose a specific levy to pay mica reparations, which experts say will raise the cost of a new home to €4,000: 59 percent disagreed with the proposal, 27 percent agreed and 14 percent were not sure.

Yesterday, Sinn Féin confirmed it will table a Dáil motion to abolish the levy, a move that is expected to capitalize on unease in government over the proposal, particularly among Fianna Fáil’s backbench TDs.

Also in today’s poll is support for Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien (25%), down three points since last December, while Sinn Féin’s Eoin Ó Broin (40%) remains the country’s favorite housing minister. Sinn Féin is benefiting from the growing home ownership divide in Irish society

Fry Electronics Team

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