Farmer voting intentions have remained almost unchanged since the summer, the latest Irish Farmers Journal survey of 1,600 farmers has revealed.

Fine Gael continues to hold the support of roughly one in three farmers, having dropped a single percentage point from 34% to 33%.

Fianna Fáil has closed the gap on its coalition partners, gaining a single percentage point to sit at 24% support, just under a quarter.

That gain has seen Fianna Fáil leapfrog the Independents in terms of support from farmers.

Support for the likes of Mattie McGrath, Michael Fitzmaurice, and the Healy-Raes remain strong, with Independents retaining 23% of farmer voters’ support.

Sinn Féin has gained slightly too, rising from 12% to 13%. While it’s progress, it still leaves the party’s support from farmers at way less than half their level of popularity among the general public.

The remaining 7% is divided among Aontú and the Green Party (2% each) and People Before Profit/Solidarity and the Social Democrats (1% each).

The barely-changed picture suggests farmers remain very conservative in their political outlook.

Perhaps it’s a sign of the older, and more male, demographic profile of farmers compared to the general voting public.

There is some regional and sectoral disparity among farmer support for the various political parties.

Claire Kerrane, Sinn Fein spokesperson on agriculture. \ Donal O' Leary

Fine Gael fares best among tillage, cattle finishers, dairy and others (pig, poultry, fruit and vegetable and forestry farmers) with 38% to 39% support, with Leinster and Munster being its strongest areas of support.

Fianna Fáil is strongest in Connacht and Ulster, and among suckler, tillage and cattle finishers. Sinn Féin is also strongest in Connacht and Ulster (hitting 21% support in Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal, where they have four TDs out of 10), and among sheep, suckler and cattle finishers.