A Farmers' Journal puts FG at 49%, an increase of 10% on the last poll result in March. FF are at 36%, 1% up.
The poll was taken by telephone and involved a sample of 500 farmers. 60% believe the controversy over Ahern's finances will damage the prospects of a Fianna Fáil-Progressive Democrat government being re-elected.
I heard the story on the radio and one interesting thing it said was that Farmers still preferred an FF/PD government. They don't trust labour or the greens. One part of the electorate where the transfer pact won't work.
On the wider point, do Labour members not get annoyed that the entire political benefit of this coalition seems to be going to FG, while your party remains static in the polls.
Sorry, I should have mentioned that the story is at the bottom of Stephen's piece about the hand grenade Albert Reynolds lobbed into the FF campaign yesterday. The link is to Stephen's piece. The poll is in the last 2 paragraphs.
FG on the rise as FF feel the heat - Bertie's woes hit Government
By Ken Whelan & Mairead Lavery
Fine Gael have opened up a nine-point lead over Fianna Fail in the battle for the farming vote and are out-gunning their Government rivals when it comes to political presentation, canvassing and organisation, according to the second Irish Farmers Journal/Behaviour&Attitudes poll just completed.
And the poll shows that 60% of farmers expect the impact of the coverage of the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern's personal finances will "disimprove'' the chances of the FF/PD coalition being returned to power.
Opinion poll of 500 farmers shows: 60% believe coverage of Taoiseach's finances has hit FF/PD chance of victory; FF/PD still farmers' preferred Government; High satisfaction rating for Minister Mary Coughlan
It also shows that the Labour party's hill-walking proposal is not as hot an issue with farmers as first thought. Some 64% of those polled say the proposal will have no impact on the general election but 30% of farmers polled believe it will hinder the chances of a Fine Gael/Labour victory.
The poll, which was conducted by Behaviour and Attitudes over the May Bank holiday used the computer aided telephone research system. A sample of 500 farmers across the usual age and geographic spectrums and weighted proportionately between fulltime and part time farmers was used in the poll.
The poll was taken when the full impact of the latest revelations about the Taoiseach's finances had been digested by the public and when the Tanaiste, Michael McDowell sought and was given a commitment by the Taoiseach for a fuller public explanation of his finances before the General Election on May 24th .
It was taken before this week's election of a new administration in Northern Ireland for which Mr Ahern is generally given shared credit with the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair and others.
The new poll shows a decisive anti-Government trend among farmers as compared with the first general election poll commissioned by the Irish Farmers Journal at the end of March. The trend set by farmers reaction to the question on the Taoiseach's personal finances is tending to underline their changed attitudes on all issues.
In the March poll it was nip and tuck between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail with FG in a 39% to 35% lead but with sufficient "Don't Knows'' (11%) to put the farming vote there for the winning.
When excluding the Don't Knows this latest poll information, shows a 5% rise in the Fine Gael vote among farmers and a 4% decline in the Fianna Fail share of this vote.
This nine point turn around in favour of Fine Gael is further firmed up when you look at the responses to questions posed on the campaign performance of the parties so far.
Only 9% of farmers thought Fianna Fail got off to the best election start as compared with 63% saying Fine Gael was best out of the traps.
39% of farmers believe that Fine Gael is canvassing hardest as compared to 16% for FF.
Fianna Fail finds itself in the unusual position of being 4 points behind FG (35% to 31%) in farmers' perceptions of which has the better organised election machine.
Satisfaction with the political leaders also shows Enda Kenny edging ahead of Bertie Ahern when it comes to farm voters.
On a satisfaction scale of one to five Enda Kenny achieves 2.86 as against Ahern's 2. 85.
Kenny is beating Ahern by 46% to 42% on the "fairly satisfied'' scale. Pat Rabbitte is getting a "fairly satisfied'' rating of 44% with farmers.
The smaller parties simply do not rate with farmers when it comes to casting their first preferences. The combined vote of Labour, the Greens, Sinn Fein and the PDs amounts to 7% - just above the total for Independents at 6%.
On transfer patterns, the intentions of those polled will not give much comfort to the Taoiseach as the responses show that the farming supporters of Fianna Fail are more likely to give their transfers to Fine Gael than the PDs (FG to get 22% of these transfers) while farming supporters of Fine Gael say they are more likely to transfer to Labour (39%) or Greens (10%).
Asked whom they thought would win the election the IFJ /Behaviour and Attitudes respondents chalked Fine Gael up to 42% and Fianna Fail at 41%
The highest level of consensus among those polled favours Fine Gael/Labour and the Greens with 33% of those polled expecting this overall election result as against 29% who anticipate a return to power for the present Government.
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