Sinn Fein’s housing policy drives record popularity

When leader Mary Lou McDonald stood in front of Sinn Féin’s annual conference in October, she said things were “going nowhere” according to traditional Irish parties. “We are the side of change,” she affirmed.

Voters seem to be listening. Sinn Féin has successfully established himself as a champion, not only of the working class and supporters of a united Ireland, but also of a pivotal issue that is hurting many of the land’s 5 million inhabitants. countries, especially young people: housing cannot afford or is not available.

That policy is now paying dividends: Sinn Féin has seen its support grow historical high 35%, according to a new Times of Ireland poll published by Ipsos/MRBI on Friday.

Not only is it far ahead of Ireland’s two traditional rivals, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, who both have 20 percent, but Sinn Féin’s left wing is far behind them among middle- and middle-aged voters. As well as the coerced, who hope the untested party will provide a better future, the poll found the support of nearly a third of voters over the age of 35 and more than a third. quarter of the middle class.

“They’re very professional, they’re delivering the message very effectively, they’re protesting very effectively, and they’re delivering a message of hope, a message of hope,” said Gail McElroy, professor of political science at Trinity College. The future is like Nirvana. Dublin. “We have been 21 months into a pandemic. . . everyone is tired and [Sinn Féin] has a wonderful message of change and hope. ”

Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Cumann na nGaedheal (the predecessor to Fine Gael) have supplied every Irish government since the founding of the state in 1922 and are now allied with the Greens.

The no three people was fired even though Sinn Féin won the popular vote in last year’s election. It was closed from government because for many, its links to the republican army during three decades of sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland’s Troubles made it too toxic.

The party’s populist spending and taxing plans have spooked Ireland’s wealthy. Its past has also put it off-limits for everyone, even among its core constituencies, who remember the Troubles. As one former senior union member put it: “I’d rather die than vote for Sinn Féin.”

Ireland’s elections will run until February 2025, but Sinn Féin is widely expected to cement the party’s position as the most popular in both the north and south on the island by winning won the election in Northern Ireland, an area of ​​the UK, next May.

Still, analysts are wary of seeing a win in Ireland as inevitable.

“I wouldn’t say they are unstoppable,” said David Higgins at financial consulting firm Carraighill, who said that the fatigue of the ruling parties mirrors a trend seen in major coalitions in Germany. , Austria and the Netherlands.

But he noted: “They are not only gaining the advantage of government parties, they are gaining the benefit of other opposition parties. It points to Sinn Féin’s success in communicating a very clear policy on housing. ”

The average age of first-time homebuyers in Ireland has now increased to 34, from 29 15 years ago, due to high prices and meager supply. “I know people who are starting to like Sinn Féin – it really comes back to housing,” says Higgins of 30-year-olds in well-paying finance jobs.

Despite the booming economy – Ireland is the only EU country developed in 2020 and toward 15% GDP growth this year — voter concerns suggest “not everyone’s boat is lifted by economic buoyancy,” McElroy said.

But Kevin Cunningham, a politics lecturer at Dublin’s University of Technology, says even die-hard Sinn Féin fans may not be able to see with the naked eye. For example, young people may like party promises to tackle the housing crisis but disagree with opposing a carbon tax.

Meanwhile, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil together are still voting 40%, with time to cash in on job growth and rent limit increased.

But McDonald’s will be hoping, as she told loyalists in her group, that “writing on the wall.”

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