Lockdown takes its toll as happiness falls, impacting FF vote

Published by: Richard Colwell


Are you feeling gloomy?

Well you are not alone, because so do a large proportion of people in Ireland right now.

In today’s poll we asked whether people felt happy with their life at the moment. Unusually for Ireland, we found the majority of people we’re not happy with their life. This in a society that is regularly lauded for having some of the happiest people on the planet.

Of course, people feeling down is no surprise, with the current pandemic running for over a year and a lock down that feels like it has gone on forever.  However, these results provide sober reading for anyone in business, industry, and politics in truly understanding the current consumer mood.

RED C have been measuring consumer happiness in Ireland for a number of years. This is the first time ever we have recorded a majority of people saying that they are unhappy.  Before the pandemic began, we asked about people’s happiness and 62% of people suggested they were happy at that time. Now less than half of the population (46%) agree that they feel happy with life at the moment. And only just over 1 in 10 (12%) agree strongly.


Those who are most likely to say that they are unhappy right now are women where just 42% claim to be happy, and those in the youngest age groups of 18 to 24, where just 37% claimed to be happy.

Having children or not doesn’t make a major difference over how happy you feel with life at the moment, but whether you are in employment does.  Those in full time work much more likely to suggest that they’re happy, than those not in work.  The happiest of course are those who have retired.

The isolation of being single during a pandemic is also brought into focus, with the lowest rate of happiness among all groups seen among those who are single at just 36%.

Happiness also has quite a strong correlation with how you would vote. Those who are most happy tend to be more likely to vote for the establishment in particular Fianna Fail. Those least happy tend not to vote for government parties, with the highest proportion of unhappy people suggesting they will vote for Sinn Fein.

This suggests that how happy people are, has a direct correlation with support for the government parties at the time. For Fianna Fail this means their support right now, with a gloomy electorate, is once again under significant pressure.  Today the party secures just 11% of the vote.

In fact, there is a 15% gap in support for those that are loyally sticking by the party compared to those who voted for the party at the last election but are now claiming they will move their vote elsewhere.

So where does this unhappiness from previous Fianna Fail voters come from? There appears to be a strong link in their party support, and whether people are happy with how the pandemic is being managed, not seen for their government coalition partners.

Back in September when Fianna Fail support was last this low, there had been a collapse in satisfaction in the government’s response to the crisis. Gains made over the winter, appeared to be mainly a reflection of the public agreeing with Fianna Fail’s strong stance on going back into lockdown over Christmas. Now the collapse in public satisfaction with how the vaccine rollout is being handled, again seems to be impacting on Fianna Fail much more than their government partners.

Public satisfaction with the vaccine rollout has fallen from a not very high 46%, to a pretty dismal 29% of people who think that the government is doing a good job of it.  This is almost certainly a little unfair, given the government is constrained by supply and that the proportion of people vaccinated here is very similar to other countries in the EU.

These perceptions however will be difficult to shift, especially as the public look enviously at the situation of our nearest neighbours, of which they are constantly reminded through the media we consume.  Rightly or wrongly, right now far more people believe that the EU is doing everything they can to get vaccines for member states, than believe the government is doing a good job in distributing them.

Of course, all this can change if the vaccine roll out does ramp up as expected.  If it doesn’t materialize as promised however, it may not be forgotten by an unhappy electorate.

Download the full report below.

Business Post RED C Opinion Poll Report – March 2021