A NEW opinion poll is reporting a decline in support for Fine Gael as the election looms large in Ireland.
The Red C poll published in the Business Post also indicates a surge in support for Sinn Féin's ahead of the opening of ballot boxes on February 8.
Ireland’s ruling party dropped seven points to fall to 23%.
That puts it just behind the opposition, Fianna Fáil who rose two points to 26%.
Sinn Féin made the most significant gains, climbing eight points to hit 19% according to the telephone poll of 1,000 voters.
Green Party rose one point to 8%, while Labour tell two points to 4%.
The Social Democrats climbed 3%, while Solidarity/People Before Profit is unchanged on 2% as is Aontú on 1%.
The telephone poll of 1,000 voters was conducted between January 16th and 22nd.
It represents the first time Leo Varadkar’s ruling party has fallen behind Fianna Fáil in the Red C poll series since the Taoiseach came to power in 2017.
It follows on from two other major opinion polls, published since the election campaign began, showing Fine Gael trailing 12 and 2 points respectively.
Despite earning praise for its handling of the Brexit negotiations and for overseeing strong economic growth while in power, the poll suggests many remain concerned over Fine Gael’s ability to tackle issues around health and housing.