Fine Gael surge but Kenny slips further
FF halt slide but Cowen in doldrums
FINE Gael are on track to form the next government despite George Lee's departure and Enda Kenny's plummeting popularity, an Irish Independent/Millward Brown Lansdowne opinion poll reveals.
The Fine Gael leader's satisfaction rating is still stuck in a downward spiral -- even if he is slightly more popular than Taoiseach Brian Cowen.
But Fine Gael have risen by 4pc to 34pc in the last year, leaving the party well-placed to win the next election. Fianna Fail have halted the dramatic slide in support which resulted in the party slumping to a historic low last year.
Based on the poll figures, Fine Gael would be expected to win more than 60 seats in a general election.
However, the poll indicates that Mr Kenny is simply not nailing it with the voters, who clearly see his party as the leaders of the next government.
His satisfaction rating of 26pc is down 3pc on a year ago. But his dissatisfaction rating has reached a record high of 61pc -- up another 4pc.
It is his lowest satisfaction rating since October 2003.
The opinion poll was taken among 1,056 adults at 93 sampling points nationwide on Wednesday and Thursday of this week -- in the immediate aftermath of Mr Lee's dramatic resignation.
Despite passing the Lisbon referendum, pushing through the controversial bad bank legislation and emerging relatively unscathed from Budget 2010, Fianna Fail's support has only risen by 2pc to 27pc, since the previous poll taken in February 2009. And Mr Cowen's own satisfaction rating is only up by a meagre 1pc to just 22pc.
After a disastrous 2009, the Government's satisfaction rating rose marginally by 3pc to 13pc. But Fianna Fail's vote in Dublin is down to just 16pc -- almost half of the support in the capital for Fine Gael at 30pc and Labour at 29pc.
Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore continues to be by far the most popular party leader. His satisfaction rating is again up by 2pc to 54pc, making him more than twice as popular as either Mr Cowen or Mr Kenny.
But Labour's support is still down 3pc from 22pc to 19pc.
Following the resignation yesterday of former senator Deirdre de Burca, there was further bad news for the Green Party as its support dropped substantially. The Greens are now on just 2pc -- down 3pc from last year.
Party leader John Gormley is also down 3pc to 25pc.
Not only are the Greens' numbers dropping, but their support is scattered across the country. The party's six TDs would certainly be wiped out if these results were repeated in an election.
Sinn Fein's support is up 1pc to 8pc and party president Gerry Adams' satisfaction rating remains the same at 37pc, despite the recent scandal surrounding allegations of cover-ups of child abuse within his family and the Republican movement.
Independents held steady at 10pc in the poll.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Brian Lenihan has substantially turned the public view of his performance around in the past year. But Tanaiste Mary Coughlan's satisfaction ratings remain pretty much as bad as at this time in 2009. Right now, 53pc of those polled are satisfied with Mr Lenihan -- compared to just 21pc a year ago.