Fine Gael has opened an eight-point lead over Fianna Fáil, according to the latest opinion poll.

With the Dáil returning this week, tomorrow's Sunday Times/Behaviour & Attitudes poll will give a big boost to the party just weeks ahead of the Budget.

Next week will mark 100 days since Leo Varadkar was elected Taoiseach and this poll - the first of the new political season - comes as the party prepares for the first Budget under its new leader.

Almost 1,000 people were interviewed nationwide between August 31st and September 12th with a margin of error of just over plus or minus 3%.

The findings show:

  • Fine Gael are 33%, up four points since the last similar poll in July
  • Fianna Fail are 25%, down five points
  • Sinn Fein are 19%, up one point  
  • Independents are 10 %, up one point  
  • Ind Alliance are 3%, down one point 
  • Labour are 5%, no change
  • Solidarity/PBP are 1%, up a point
  • Soc Dems are 1%, no change
  • Greens are 2%, no change 

Fine Gael will hope this is the start of a 'Leo bounce'.

All the significant movement in the poll is between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, with the government party gaining at the expense of its main rival. 

But the question is whether the poll marks the beginning of a trend that is sustainable or if it reflects past experience where Government parties often see an increase support in polls taken after a long recess of the Dáil.

All the other parties and groups remain pretty much as they were in July. And, as always it is the longer trend in polling that counts.