Sinn Féin sees surge of support among farmers while Fine Gael slips

Some 37 per cent of farmers would vote for Fine Gael, 23 per cent would vote for Fianna Fáil and 16 per cent would vote for Sinn Féin in a general election.
Sinn Féin sees surge of support among farmers while Fine Gael slips

Kenneth Fox

Sinn Féin has trebled its support among farmers since 2016, but farmer support for the party still lags well behind its overall support levels.

Recent opinion polls have Sinn Féin at around 35 per cent, twice the level of their support among farmers, according to an Irish Farmers Journal survey.

The poll has some bad news for Fine Gael though.

The party is currently at its lowest level of farmer voting since 2007 at 37 per cent, a drop of 11 per cent since 2018.

Political correspondent with the Irish Farmers Journal, Pat O'Toole, told Newstalk that it is the first time Sinn Féin has broken the 10 per cent mark when it comes to farmer support.

The survey of 1,248 farmers carried out by the Irish Farmers Journal revealed what way farmers would vote in a general election.

Some 37 per cent of farmers would vote for Fine Gael, 23 per cent would vote for Fianna Fáil and 16 per cent would vote for Sinn Féin in a general election.

In terms of how different farmers vary, Almost 60 per cent of tillage farmers would vote for Fine Gael, 14 per cent for Fianna Fáil, 12 per cent for independent candidates and two per cent for Sinn Féin.

Declining farm income

A total of 32 per cent of beef farmers said they would vote for Fine Gael, 25 per cent would vote for Fianna Fáil, 18 per cent for Sinn Féin, and 20 per cent voting for independents.

Some 48 per cent of dairy farmers would vote for Fine Gael, 22 per cent for Fianna Fáil and 12 per cent for Sinn Féin.

Finally, Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin are neck and neck for the sheep farmers’ vote at 20 per cent and 19 per cent, respectively, with 35 per cent voting for Fine Gael.

80 per cent of farmers expect their farm income to decline this year and 97 per cent are concerned about their 2022 profitability, the survey found.

A total of 16 per cent of respondents believe their income will fall by less than 10 per cent. while 10 per cent believe their farm income will decline by over 50 per cent this year.

When asked about their current outlook on farming, 46 per cent of farmers said they have a negative outlook, 27 per cent said they were indifferent and 27 per cent had a positive outlook.

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