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Poll backs cuts, not tax increases

An emphatic majority (73 per cent) is strongly in favour of a Budget that focuses on public spending cuts rather than tax increases, according to the latest Sunday Independent/Quantum Research nationwide poll carried out on Friday.

At the same time, public opinion has swung clearly behind the Lisbon Treaty, with a 63 per cent showing for a 'Yes' vote. It seems that the public are making a clear distinction between their antipathy towards the government (and their aversion to any more tax increases) and their conviction that the national interest requires the passing of the Lisbon Treaty.

The poll also reveals that the public is split 50/50 on Nama in the wake of last week's amendments and in anticipation of Mr Lenihan's announcement of the estimated sum that will be paid by the State for bank loans.

The finding on the Lisbon Treaty is most significant. Those who say they would vote 'No' now amount to just 15 per cent. This shows a steady decline in opposition to the treaty over the past nine months -- it was 24 per cent in April, 30 per cent in January and 37 per cent in December.

The percentage of those polled who are still undecided is 22 per cent -- the same as in our last poll in April. In January it was 15 per cent and in December 2008, 24 per cent.

In the satisfaction ratings, Fianna Fail has dropped to an historically low 14 per cent, but Taoiseach Brian Cowen is marginally improved at 23 per cent (20 per cent last April).

A number of interviews in the Sunday Independent and on RTE may have helped to lift Mr Cowen's rating. Fine Gael has the support of 25 per cent of those polled, while Enda Kenny's satisfaction rating is 29 per cent -- down from 33 per cent in April.