FINE Gael will lead the next Government but is destined to fall short of an overall majority, according to the latest Irish Independent/Millward Brown Lansdowne opinion poll.
Enda Kenny's party has maintained the strong lead it built up over the course of the election campaign and now stands on 38pc support.
But the party has stopped short of the territory where it can lead a single-party government without requiring a coalition with the Labour Party.
Mr Kenny now seems almost certain to be Taoiseach in a Fine Gael--Labour coalition.
His party pulled up in the high 30s after the first week of the campaign and has stayed at that level ever since. A result like that repeated on the day would mean Fine Gael winning well in excess of 70 seats.
However, the party would need to push on above 40pc as a percentage of the vote in order to win enough seats to leave Labour out of the equation.
Mr Kenny's own personal satisfaction rating dropped back two points to 39pc over recent days but he is still well above the 26pc position at which he started the campaign.
Mr Kenny yesterday pledged to reverse the reduction in the minimum wage when his party gets into power and bring in a new Finance Bill within 100 days of taking power.
The Fine Gael leader said the plan would create 20,000 jobs a year over the next five years.
"We need a new political plan so a new government can engage, again, with young people whose hearts have been broken, whose dreams have been ruined, whose trust has been shattered by old government, old politics, and an old system," he added.