LABOUR is bearing the brunt of voter anger over Budget cuts while Fianna Fail's steady recovery continues, a series of new opinion polls reveal.
Labour will be especially worried because Sinn Fein has now comfortably overtaken it among Dublin working-class voters, one of its key supporting blocs.
The junior coalition partner has two TDs in a number of constituencies in the capital, and the second seats in these constituencies are hugely vulnerable.
Two weekend polls, the first since the Budget, showed Labour on 11pc nationally – down from the 19pc it scored at the last general election – but differed on support for Fine Gael. They also show a reverse in a brief, pre-Christmas increase in Labour support.
A Behaviour and Attitudes poll for the ' Sunday Times' put Fianna Fail, at 24pc, now just two percentage points behind Fine Gael, which is on 26pc, down from the 36pc it received at the election two years ago.
Fianna Fail is up 7pc since the election, and has seen incremental improvement month-on-month for the past year. This is seen as a more reliable pick-up than extreme, sudden jumps, and points to an ongoing recovery under Micheal Martin.
Mr Martin has also consolidated his position as the most popular leader in the country, with a 48pc approval rating, followed by Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams on 43pc. Mr Kenny is on 39pc, down two, while Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore is on 26pc, down three. Labour drops one point to 11pc, and now trails Sinn Fein, which jumps five points to 19pc. Independents are down one to 18pc.
Another poll, carried out by Red C for the 'Sunday Business Post' has Fine Gael unchanged on 28pc, and Labour down three from its last poll to 11pc.
Fianna Fail is also unchanged on 21pc, while Sinn Fein is up two to 19pc. Independents also stay the same on 21pc. The polls were taken in the wake of the Budget.
Adrian Kavanagh, a lecturer at NUI Maynooth, estimated that if the figures in the polls were replicated in the next election, it would leave Fine Gael with a seat tally in the mid 50s, Fianna Fail with around 40 seats, Labour down to the mid-teens and Sinn Fein jumping to the mid-20s. Independents would return with around 24 seats, he claims.