Final poll in PR360’s ‘2020 Leaders’ Series’ finds:
- 26% of people have changed their mind on how they will vote
- 96% want ‘change’, with public services and quality of life (63%) the key change driver, rather than the political make-up of government (21%)
- Only 13% want change to mean ‘more money in my pocket’
- Micheál Martin remains in front of Leo Varadkar as choice to be next Taoiseach.
- Findings on public’s opinion of Mary Lou McDonald and all leaders to be published on Tuesday.
Close to one in three voters have yet to decide how they will vote in Saturday’s general election, a new opinion poll published today has found.
The poll, commissioned by PR360, is the third piece of research the communications consultancy has published as part of its ‘2020 Leader’ series.
The latest findings, undertaken for PR360 by Amárach Research on Friday, 31 January, show an overwhelming appetite (96%) for change among the public. Over one-quarter of those polled have changed their voting intention over the course of the campaign.
Overview of findings
Desire for change:
- An overwhelming majority (96%) want Election 2020 to deliver change, but there is a measure of differing views as to what form this change should take.
When asked whether that change should be a change in the political parties in Government; better public services and better quality of life; or more money in each one’s pocket, the poll showed the following:
- A sizeable majority (63%) want better public services and a better quality of life
- 21% of respondents want a change in the political parties that make up the next government
- Only 13% want change to mean ‘more money in my pocket’, such as through income tax cuts
- 3% did not support either of these three options as change.
In addition, 11% more women than men want to see better public services and a better quality of life, with those over 55 most likely to want to see these improvements (69%).
More men than women (25% vs 17%) view change as a change in the political make-up of the next government, with Munster voters (26%) strongest in favour of this change.
- Almost three in ten of voters (28%) still undecided on their GE2020 vote
- 11% more men than women have made up their mind on who they will vote for
- Those over age 55 have the lowest level of undecided voters.
Changing voting preferences:
- Over a quarter (26%) of voters have changed their voting preferences since the start of the election campaign
- Over a third (34%) of those aged 18 to 24 have changed their voting preferences, the largest of any age grouping
- Those over 55 years old and those living in Munster have changed their voting preferences the least since the campaign commenced, at 20% and 19% respectively.
- A majority (61%) of respondents say they are not swayed by political party election promises when deciding who they will vote for
- Only 28% state that these promises do influence their voting preferences; 11% are not sure either way
- 52% of younger voters aged 18 to 24 say they are swayed by election promises vs just 15% of over 55s.
Interest in the campaign:
- 40% of respondents say they have ‘tuned out’ of the campaign
- Those aged 18 to 24 are most disengaged at 44%
- 11% more women than men saying they have lost interest in the campaign.
- When asked to choose one of the two main political party leaders to be Taoiseach, 53% chose Micheál Martin vs 47% for Leo Varadkar.
Amanda Glancy, PR360’s Director of Policy and Campaigns, said:
“Two of the big takeaways from the third and final poll in the PR360’s 2020 Leader series are to be found in the extent of respondents who want to see change through an improvement in public services and a better quality of life, and also the significant number of respondents who have changed their voting preferences since the start of the campaign.
“On the first issue, what represents change in the minds of voters, a large majority of all respondents chose better public services and quality of life. This is three times more than those who want a change in the political parties that make up the next government and over four times more than those who want to see a change which will result in voters getting more money back in their pockets.
“This informs the ideological debate of whether voters prefer better public services over tax cuts. This poll indicates that a larger proportion of voters favour better public services; their preference will be borne out if we see large swings to parties more invested in increasing public services funding than others. The strength of the Sinn Féin vote over recent polls may already reflect this public mood.
“From a campaigning and effective communications perspective, that one in four of those polled admit that they have changed their vote since the start of the campaign will give all election candidates some solace that their efforts are not in vain.
“However, with 40% of respondents admitting to tuning out of the campaign, it suggests ongoing electioneering is falling on deaf ears with many. The challenge for all parties and candidates is how to reengage and motivate these voters in the last days of the campaign to convince them to turn out on polling day.”
Dan Pender, Managing Director of PR360, said:
“This is our third insight into public opinion over the course of the campaign. The trend for change based on issues rather than personalities or party preference is overwhelmingly clear.”
“63% of people have identified public services and quality of life as the number one change issue, with government formation and tax cuts distant change factors. The preferred choice for next Taoiseach has remained largely consistent over the three weeks.”
“With close to one-third of voters yet to decide how they will vote, and a similar number indicating that they have shifted their intentions based on how the campaign has unfolded, the last week remains crucial.”