FINE Gael leader Enda Kenny is winning public support for his insistence on a five-way debate including the main party leaders.
Some 69pc of voters believe the televised debates should be held between the leaders of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, Labour, the Green Party and Sinn Fein, today's Irish Independent/Millward Brown Lansdowne opinion poll reveals.
Mr Kenny wants a five-way "inclusive" encounter rather than a debate with Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin and Labour leader Eamon Gilmore.
But that has prompted accusations he is "running scared" of heavyweight debaters by opting for a group instead.
While 63pc of Fine Gael supporters would agree to a five-way debate, some 69pc of Labour supporters have taken Mr Kenny's side.
Predictably, 90pc of Sinn Fein supporters want a five-way debate, while Fianna Fail supporters are split.
Overall, just 24pc of those surveyed agreed with Fianna Fail and Labour's preference for a three-way debate between Mr Gilmore, Mr Kenny and Mr Martin.
Behind the scenes, Fine Gael has been negotiating with TV stations for two five-way leader debates.