DUBLIN (Reuters) - Support for Ireland's governing parties has increased sharply since December and support for left-wing challenger Sinn Fein has fallen in the same period, a leading pollster said on Saturday.
The improvement coincides follows strong economic data, including 2014 economic growth of almost 5 percent, which the government hopes will provide a boost before elections due in early 2016.
The Fine Gael Party of Prime Minister Enda Kenny is supported by 27 percent of voters, according to the monthly Red C/Sunday Business Post poll, up from 21 percent in December. Junior coalition partner Labour was on 10 percent, up from 6 percent in December.
Sinn Fein, the former political wing of the Irish Republican Army, which has seen its support surge during seven years of austerity budgets, posted its worst result in the poll in a year with 17 percent, down seven points since December.
A rival Irish Times/IPSOS-MRBI poll on Friday also showed a significant improvement for Fine Gael since December, rising form 19 percent to 24 percent. But that poll also put Sinn Fein on 24 percent, tied for first place.
(Reporting by Conor Humphries; editing by Andrew Roche)