FF halts the slide, but support levels are still bleak
Published 13/02/2010 | 05:00
FIANNA Fail has halted its slide from the historic low its support levels slumped to last year.
But despite overcoming hurdles, the Irish Independent/ Millward Brown Lansdowne opinion poll reveals that support for Fianna Fail has risen just two points to 27pc from the low recorded the same time last year.
While the main government party could expect to win a larger share of the vote in a general election, they still have no chance of being re-elected on latest poll findings.
The party's latest hammering at the polls comes after Fianna Fail suffered its worst electoral result in last year's local elections, where it secured just 24pc of the overall vote.
Since then, the party has overcome three major hurdles during a defining '100-day' period for the Government.
It passed the Lisbon referendum at the second time of asking, got the controversial NAMA legislation through the Dail and emerged from last December's Budget relatively unscathed.
But the findings of the poll clearly show Fianna Fail's attempts to salvage the economy have failed to win back a significant proportion of supporters who defected to Fine Gael.
The results are stark. Despite a tiny 1pc rise in Brian Cowen's satisfaction rating, around one in five voters do not think the Taoiseach is doing a good job.
His shocking 72pc dissatisfaction rating, the same as last year's all-time low, contrasts strongly with Finance Minister Brian Lenihan who has seen his satisfaction level more than double from 21pc to 53pc.
Less than half of voters (43pc) are dissatisfied with Mr Lenihan's performance compared to almost three-quarters (72pc) of those polled last year. Overall, just 13pc are satisfied with the Government's performance.
The poll, which was conducted at the height of the George Lee controversy, shows Fianna Fail are clearly failing to capitalise on Fine Gael's woes.
It is almost certain Fine Gael would not be able to translate their new high in the polls into a majority government in a general election scenario.
But Fianna Fail now lag seven points behind their rivals and stand to lose anything up to 30 seats if an election was called today.
Mr Cowen can draw some crumb of comfort as the gap between Fianna Fail and Labour has widened to eight points, five more than last year's poll when the Soldiers of Destiny were in danger of being overtaken by the third biggest party.
But overall the picture remains bleak for Mr Cowen who has still failed to convince the majority of voters that he is the man to steer the country out of the economic crisis.