29th January 2020

Majority believe neither Leo Varadkar nor Micheál Martin can address the issues of rural Ireland — 360 poll

Results from the second in 360’s 2020 Leader poll series, which tracks public attitudes towards the Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil leaders, show that 55% of respondents believe neither Leo Varadkar nor Micheál Martin can change things for the better for rural Ireland.

Only 16% chose Leo Varadkar, the Fine Gael party leader and Taoiseach. Nearly twice as many, 29%, chose Micheál Martin, the Fianna Fáil party leader.

The poll, undertaken last Friday (24 January) by Amárach Research among a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults, evaluated public attitudes towards Leo Varadkar and Micheál Martin on key campaign issues, including housing, health, the economy and cost of living, crime, Brexit, and climate change.

Dan Pender, Managing Director

“The fact that this poll finds that a majority of those surveyed do not yet have confidence that either Micheál Martin or Leo Varadkar can address the issues of rural Ireland is concerning for both parties.

“Those living in rural Ireland have come under increasing strain due to lowering farm incomes, inadequate transport infrastructure, and insufficient employment opportunities. The electorate of rural Ireland has not experienced the economic recovery relative to other parts of the country, in particular the east coast.

“This lack of confidence in the ability of either leader to effect meaningful change for rural Ireland is a sign that unrest in the agricultural community, like the ongoing beef protest, is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

“Interestingly, out of those poll respondents who believe one of either Leo Varadkar or Micheál Martin can address the issues of rural Ireland, nearly twice as many opted for the Fianna Fáil leader. This points to the fact that the Fine Gael campaign has yet to resonate with rural voters. However, this still leaves 55% of respondents who believe neither leader is capable of addressing challenges in rural Ireland.

“It’s still over a week from polling day, but it’s clear that the challenge for party strategists will be how to get voters more engaged and to convince them that their respective leader can provide for rural Ireland.”

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