Micheal Martin now most popular party leader in country, says poll
FIANNA Fail is now the second most popular party in the country, with Micheal Martin the most popular leader, while Sinn Fein is losing more ground, according to a new opinion poll.
The poll shows Fianna Fail, at 22pc, is now seven points ahead of Sinn Fein and nine points ahead of Labour, whose support continues to plummet.
The surge from 16pc has taken place since the new Dail term started in September, and amid ongoing controversies over health cuts and issues surrounding Health Minister James Reilly.
Strikingly, the poll, carried out by Behaviour and Attitudes for 'The Sunday Times', also shows Fianna Fail as the most popular party in Dublin, even though they don't have a TD in the capital following the death of former Finance Minister Brian Lenihan last year.
The poll shows the four main parties are bunched within a few points of each other in the capital, ranging from Labour on 15pc to Fianna Fail on 22pc.
The fortunes of Fianna Fail are in stark contrast to Sinn Fein, which has seen its support drop from 18pc to 14pc.
Sinn Fein had capitalised on its campaign for a No vote in the fiscal treaty referendum earlier this year, but this increased support has dwindled away.
An analysis of recent polls shows that its support seems to have largely gone to Fianna Fail.
Independents are at 19pc, but Labour has fallen another two points down to 12pc.
Fine Gael is holding relatively steady on 30pc, down just one point since the last comparable poll.
Mr Martin is the most popular leader on 42pc, followed by Taoiseach Enda Kenny on 41pc and Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams on 40pc. In a further sign of Labour's troubles, Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore is down five points to 29pc.
Senator Darragh O'Brien, Fianna Fail's Dublin spokesman, said he had been picking up signs that the party was doing better in the capital.
"We have done a lot of work in reorganising in Dublin and have recruited new members," Mr O'Brien said.