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Poll hit for 'big two' leaders

VOTERS are split on whether the country needs an immediate election but they are sure that neither Brian Cowen nor Enda Kenny should be Taoiseach.

The leaders were reeling today after the latest opinion poll showed that the public have little confidence in them.

Fianna Fail's popularity has suffered again in the wake of Mr Cowen's now-infamous interview on RTE's Morning Ireland.

But Fine Gael and particularly Enda Kenny have failed to capitalise at all. Instead Labour has surged ahead with a 16-point jump in the Millward Brown poll for TV3.

The desperate performance by Fine Gael -- who lost 4pc support -- could ignite new mutterings about Enda Kenny.

He has a satisfaction rating of 24pc (down 2pc), just above Brian Cowen's 18pc and John Gormley's 19pc.

Labour were claiming today that the poll gives extra credence to their belief that party leader Eamon Gilmore can be the next Taoiseach -- though deputy leader Joan Burton admitted that it will be a "challenge" for Labour to transfer the poll results in TDs.

Meanwhile, 49pc of voters said they wanted an immediate election but 47pc were against the idea.