Poll: Coalition slips in the popularity stakes
THE coalition has slipped down the popularity rankings in the first opinion poll of the new year.
The latest Red C survey shows Fine Gael have dipped one point to 28% while Labour are down two points to 10% when voters were asked which party they would back in a general election.
Both parties had increased their backing in the polls immediately after the bailout exit.
Sinn Fein is up three points to secure 18% of the popular vote - the biggest jump for any party in the survey, carried out for bookmaker Paddy Power.
Backing for Fianna Fail and Independents were unchanged, with both attracting 22%.
The poll also found that almost four in ten (38%) of Irish people want to see the legalisation of cannabis in Ireland.
When the 5% of people who responded "don't know" were removed, there was 40% support among the electorate for making the drug legal.
The poll found greater backing for legalising cannabis among younger groups, with support falling with age.
Men are also more likely to favour legalisation as are Labour or Sinn Fein supporters.
There is little variance in opinion on the issue regionally.
Red C pollsters questioned 1,004 people aged 18 and over, by telephone between January 6 and 8.