It has emerged that stark divisions exist within Fine Gael over whether or not a general election should be held in 2015.
Latest opinion polls show that support for the Coalition has dropped badly, and it currently stands at 22%. Yet, some senior figures within the party believe that calling a general election next year would catch the opposition off guard.
Though the Taoiseach has so far favoured the idea of letting the Government go full term before calling an election, there are now internal motions in the party that advocate for an election in October next year, just after a tax cut in the budget, the idea being that people’s opinions may swing in Fine Gael’s favor if there is some sort of sweetener deal fresh in people’s minds.
Another alternative is to call a snap election in early 2016, after the changes introduced in the budget begin to kick in.
All parties are gearing to be on an election footing. Sinn Fein’s election strategy, for instance, is set to be well advanced. Support for the party now stands at 26%, the highest for any party at this time.
Fianna Fail is also preparing for the possibility of an election next year, even though their support remains low at 20%.
And finally, Labour so far opposes the idea of an early election, instead favoring the idea of waiting until a ‘give back’ budget is done, to have any hope of remaining a significant political force. Its popular support currently stands at 7%, and it is widely expected that Labour will cease to exist as a party at the next election.