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FG most trusted on economy, poll finds

FINE Gael is winning the general election on the back of being the most trusted party to manage the public finances and reduce the deficit, a new Irish Independent/Millward Brown Lansdowne poll reveals.

But Fianna Fail's credibility on economic issues is destroyed and the party is now the least trusted on fiscal matters, according to the survey.

The poll findings come as the parties make their final push for votes in tomorrow's general election.

FG leader Enda Kenny yesterday said he would not be asking supporters of his party to transfer to any other party.

Mr Kenny's party is in with an outside chance of becoming a single-party government, but he is more likely to form a coalition with Labour.

But he said he was only advising his party supporters to vote for Fine Gael candidates and his party had always intended "to paddle our own canoe here" and would be offering "no direction at all after the Fine Gael team".

"We set out on this without any association with anybody," he said.

Fine Gael director of elections Phil Hogan appealed to what he described as decent Fianna Fail supporters to lend his party their votes to fix the public finances.

Ahead of his expected victory and election as Taoiseach, there is still a doubt in the minds of many over Mr Kenny's leadership qualities.

More than half (52pc) feel he has not yet overcome the questions surrounding him.

But Mr Kenny's relatively poor perception among voters is not hampering his party's advance in this general election.

The latest opinion poll shows Fine Gael is trusted most:

  • To manage the public finan-ces, by 39pc of those polled.
  • To reduce the deficit, by 42pc.
  • To create jobs, by 37pc.
  • To reform the public sector over the next five years, by 44pc.
  • To improve the health system, by 41pc.
  • To negotiate with the public sector unions in the national interest, by 38pc.

By contrast, Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein are consistently rated as least trustworthy in their ability to deal with all issues.

Fianna Fail's economic policies have been the central plank of new party leader Micheal Martin's election campaign.

FF is facing a wipeout, running the severe risk of returning with less than 20 seats.

Mr Martin is still insisting that there will be no "Fianna Fail-free constituencies" after the general election.

In an interview with the Irish Independent, he said his party was seeking to get one seat in every constituency and two seats in others despite its fall in the latest opinion polls.

Mr Martin added that there would be far less "core loyalty" for all political parties in the future -- including Fianna Fail.

"People are going to change from election to election in quite substantial numbers. Fine Gael had their nadir in 2002, they went so low there was only one way to come -- back up. I'm very confident we have the capacity to rebound," he said.

Looking at the policies for how the public finances will be fixed, the electorate feels satisfied with the amount of detail they have received from the party they intend to vote for.

Mr Gilmore's election strategy of promoting himself for Taoiseach was not credible, according to almost two out of every three voters.


'Gilmore for Taoiseach' was deemed to not be credible by 65pc of people.

Green Party leader John Gormley leading his party into government with Fianna Fail in 2007 did not meet with the approval of a majority of voters.

And Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams's claim that he wasn't a member of the IRA is simply not believed.

The Sinn Fein president bizarrely states that he was never a member of the IRA, despite being a leader of the Republican movement for the best part of three decades.

But the public doesn't buy it, and 73pc believe he was an IRA member.

What you think of party leaders

Enda Kenny

Most voters (52pc) do not think he has overcome key questions.

Mr Kenny is on course to become Taoiseach, but a majority of voters still have their doubts about the Fine Gael leader's leadership qualities.

The groups most sceptical include young adults under 25, upper classes, Dublin voters and non-Fine Gael supporters.

But 40pc say he has overcome the questions, particularly those over 65, farmers, voters in Connacht-Ulster and Fine Gael supporters.

Mr Kenny has been dogged by criticism of his leadership style and accusations of a lack of substance throughout his nine years as party leader.

But it hasn't hampered his party's progress in this election campaign, as Fine Gael is destined to win anything up to 80 seats.

Micheal Martin

Some 57pc of people think he has no credibility to call for political reform.

Mr Martin has been promoting his ideas for reform of the political system but after spending the past 14 years at the cabinet table they ring hollow with most voters.

The ideas include bringing outside experts into the Cabinet, which is a key plank of his election campaign.

But 57pc of people believe that the Fianna Fail leader has no credibility to call for political reform, with men, Fine Gael, Sinn Fein and Independent supporters especially unimpressed.

However, 36pc say he does have credibility on the issues.

Mr Martin is going down well with the over-65s, farmers, people in Munster and Fianna Fail supporters, especially.

Eamon Gilmore

A total of 65pc do not think the 'Gilmore for Taoiseach' strategy is credible

The Labour Party's primary slogan through the 2011 General Election campaign has been 'Gilmore for Taoiseach'; however, 'Gilmore for Tanaiste' looks like the most realistic target.

Mr Gilmore's strategy of promoting himself for Taoiseach was deemed not to be believable by 65pc of people -- or almost two out of every three voters -- particularly among 35-49-year-olds, farmers, people in Munster and Fianna Fail and Fine Gael supporters.

One in four people thought it was a credible approach for Labour to pursue, however, with marginally highest support among 25- to 34-year-olds, people in Dublin and, obviously, Labour supporters.

Gerry Adams

73pc do not believe his claim that he was not a member of the IRA.

The Sinn Fein president bizarrely states he was never a member of the IRA, despite being a leader of the Republican movement for the best part of three decades.

But the public doesn't buy it and 73pc -- or almost three out of four people --believe he was an IRA member, with this view most prevalent among those over 50, higher social classes, farmers, people in Munster and Fianna Fail supporters.

Mr Adams's claim is believed by 13pc of people and is highest among adults under 24, people in Connacht-Ulster and Sinn Fein supporters. Only 35pc of Sinn Fein supporters believe he was not a member of the IRA.

John Gormley

Most (52pc) believe he was wrong to lead Greens into government.

Mr Gormley led the Green Party into government with Fianna Fail in 2007 .

The Green Party leader took over from Trevor Sargent when the party entered coalition after the last general election.

But 52pc believe it was not a correct decision for Mr Gormley to lead the party into government, with this sentiment highest among working class voters, Sinn Fein and Independent supporters.

However, 39pc said he was correct to lead them into government, particularly among higher social classes, people in Dublin and Fianna Fail supporters.

Irish Independent