Fightback flops as just 12pc say they will vote FF
Published 16/02/2011 | 05:00
MICHEAL Martin has failed to lead a Fianna Fail fightback as support for his embattled party slumped to a historic low.
Just 12pc of the electorate now say they will vote for Fianna Fail at the polls on February 25 -- a drop of four points in the space of just two weeks.
The party had been praying the election of Mr Martin as leader could help drag it out of the doldrums.
But according to the latest Irish Independent/Millward Brown Lansdowne poll, Fianna Fail faces a massive general election backlash from angry voters.
If this result was repeated in the election, the party would be left with less than 20 seats in the 31st Dail -- almost a quarter of the 78 it secured in 2007.
Fianna Fail finds itself in serious trouble all over the country as traditional party supporters switch their allegiances to Fine Gael, which is enjoying huge momentum with just over a week to go before the country goes to the polls.
In the capital, the party is likely to be reduced to just a handful of seats.
And it finds itself in the humiliating position of having to battle it out with Sinn Fein to be the third largest party in the country.
Sinn Fein also suffered a slight drop in support, but it is only two points behind Fianna Fail, according to the poll.
The poll findings also show a drop in Mr Martin's personal popularity.
While his personal satisfaction rating only dropped slightly from 44pc to 42pc, the number of those dissatisfied with his performance over the past fortnight has jumped from 30pc to 44pc.
Despite an energetic start to his leadership, it is clear Mr Martin faces an uphill battle to turn things around.
The Cork TD has endured a difficult week.
On Friday, he was embarrassingly forced to give up his lucrative ministerial golden handshake, which is worth almost €88,000.
Mr Martin dramatically performed a U-turn on giving up his ministerial severance payment -- after he came under sustained pressure on the issue over the previous few days.
He was also embroiled in a bitter row over his party's links to property developers.
An irate Mr Martin was dragged into renewed and damaging allegations from Fine Gael over his involvement in former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern's contacts with the Cork property developer Owen O'Callaghan.