Kenny on the brink of single-party rule
FF could take just 13 Labour slides further FG headed for 78 seats
Published 16/02/2011 | 05:00
ENDA Kenny is on track to lead a single-party government following a massive surge in support for Fine Gael, a new Irish Independent/ Millward Brown Lansdowne poll reveals.
But Fianna Fail is facing the nightmare scenario of a complete meltdown as it hits a record low in the latest survey of voter intentions.
New party leader Micheal Martin has failed to lift the party out of its relentless slump. It is now down four points to just 12pc.
Support for Fine Gael has soared by eight points over the course of the two-week general election campaign to date, putting Mr Kenny's party on 38pc.
The growing momentum behind Fine Gael spells serious trouble for Labour, which is down one point to 23pc. It may not be needed to form a new coalition.
If the latest result was repeated at the polls, Fine Gael would end up with 78 seats, Labour with 42 and Fianna Fail with as few as 13.
But the wind behind Fine Gael has led party strategists to believe it can push on and break the crucial 80-seat mark.
After a lacklustre campaign, Labour leader Eamon Gilmore is countering the Fine Gael surge by warning of the dangers of single-party government.
But Fine Gael insiders believe the party's message of credible policies and a desire to reduce the exchequer deficit as quickly as possible to get out of the economic crisis is resonating with the voters.
The poll is the second major blow to Fianna Fail in a day after another poll carried out by Millward Brown Lansdowne for the 'Evening Herald' showed the party coming in on just 10pc of support of Dublin, meaning it would win just a handful of seats in the capital.
The latest poll also shows the Green Party is in serious difficulty, pulling in just 1pc of support nationally, which would result in a wipeout.
Sinn Fein's rise has come to a halt with the party's early campaign results being reversed. Gerry Adams's party is down 3pc to 10pc.
Independents are still going strong and are up 1pc to 16pc.
Last night, one of the country's leading political science experts, NUI Maynooth's Dr Adrian Kavanagh, said if the results of the opinion poll were repeated on polling day on Friday week, February 25, the allocation of Dail seat numbers would be:
- Fianna Fail 13 TDs.
- Fine Gael 78 TDs.
- Labour 42 TDs.
- Green Party 0 TDs.
- Sinn Fein 13 TDs.
- Independents 20 TDs.
Dr Kavanagh factored in the seat bonus garnered by parties who achieve a surge in support, as well as the negative effect for parties when their vote drops below a certain threshold.
The Irish Independent/Millward Brown Lansdowne poll also shows Mr Kenny is the only party leader to register a rise in his satisfaction rating during the campaign so far.