Kenny on ropes as FG level with FF in new poll
FINE Gael leader Enda Kenny was dealt a massive blow last night when his party's popularity dropped to the exact same levels as Fianna Fail in a new opinion poll.
Fine Gael TDs and senators were at their weekly parliamentary party meeting when news of the devastating opinion poll came in via a text message. Mr Kenny read the results out to the assembled group but made no comment.
One TD said the room was "shocked" and left in "complete silence". The TD described the opinion poll as a "disaster" for Fine Gael but claimed that there was still no appetite to start another heave against Mr Kenny.
"The sooner Enda realises himself that he needs to go, the better," the TD added.
The Labour Party stormed to the top of the latest opinion poll with a four-point increase, making it by far the most popular party in the country.
Despite a turbulent few weeks for Fianna Fail and Taoiseach Brian Cowen, the party scored a three-point hike in the polls.
But in a major setback for the already troubled leadership of Mr Kenny, Fine Gael fell back by three points, leaving the party level with Fianna Fail.
Mr Kenny is also commanding just 25pc in the leadership popularity ratings -- putting him only six points clear of the Taoiseach.
And the Fine Gael leader is a staggering 24pc off Mr Gilmore, who commands the highest ratings of any leader at 49pc.
The new poll will raise more questions about Mr Kenny's leadership, despite a failed party heave three months ago.
The Ipsos MRBI poll for the 'Irish Times' revealed that Fine Gael under Mr Kenny is roundly failing to capitalise on any of Fianna Fail's unpopularity after massive budget cuts and multi-billion bank bailouts.
Extraordinarily, Fianna Fail and Fine Gael now find themselves equal on 24pc.
The Labour Party is cleaning up on voters' dissatisfaction with the Government and has now climbed four points to 33pc in the Ipsos MRBI.
This is the second-highest level of support the party has ever achieved. Last week's Millward Brown Lansdowne poll for TV3 put Labour on 35pc.
Last night's latest poll leaves Labour nine points ahead of Fianna Fail and Fine Gael and makes it the most popular party in the country.
Following weeks of controversy over the infamous 'Morning Ireland' interview, Mr Cowen's popularity ratings are still low on 19pc.
But incredibly he is not the most unpopular leader in the country. That title now falls to Green Party leader and Environment Minister John Gormley whose popularity ratings have fallen by three points to 18pc.
His party's support has also fallen back by two points to 2pc -- making for a wipe-out at the next general election.
The Ipsos MRBI poll was carried out on Monday and Tuesday among a sample of 1,000 voters in all 43 constituencies.