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Fine Gael has overtaken Fianna Fáil for first time since general election

30% of people supported Fine Gael, while Fianna Fáil came in at 27%.

Image: Sam Boal/Rolling News

FINE GAEL HAS overtaken Fianna Fáil for the first time since the general election last year, according to the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI opinion poll.

When people were asked who they would vote for in a general election, 30% of people supported Fine Gael (up two points compared to the last poll in February), while Fianna Fáil came in at 27% (down two points).

Labour received 5% of support, while Sinn Féin received 20% and Independents/Others came in at 18%. Undecided voters were excluded from the above.

The poll findings offer a boost to Fine Gael as the party prepare to elect its new leader. Outgoing Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s personal rating has seen a surge since he announced his departure.

Kenny’s personal satisfaction rating has increased from 31% to 43%, the highest rating he has achieved in almost six years.

The Government’s rating also improved, with 37% of voters saying they are satisfied with it. 55% per cent said they are dissatisfied.

The poll also shows a rating increase for Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, up by two points to 39%. Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams also received a two point increase, up to 31%.

Meanwhile, the opinion poll showed that Simon Coveney has taken the lead on Leo Varadkar in the race for the party leadership among Fine Gael voters and voters in the general public.

48% of Fine Gael voters chose Coveney when asked their preferred choice for leader of the party, while 44% chose Varadkar. 8% of voters were undecided. The sample of solely Fine Gael voters is smaller than that of the national sample, leading to a larger margin of error.

A total of 42% of all voters said they would prefer to see Coveney as leader of Fine Gael, with 37% opting for Varadkar. One in five voters (21%) said they didn’t know.

Varadkar takes the lead in Dublin with 44% support, in Leinster and among wealthier voters.

Meanwhile, Coveney is the preferred candidate among less well-off voters, older voters, farmers and voters outside Leinster, where 56% would vote for him.

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When asked a round of questions about the candidates’ strengths, voters prefer Coveney on trust, believing he is “more in touch with ordinary people”.

Varadkar is favoured to “deliver real change”.

The result comes as the pair prepare to head into their second day of hustings debates, which began last night in Dublin.

Three more hustings will take place over the weekend in Carlow, Ballinasloe and Cork.

The poll was conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, using a sample of 1,200 voters aged 18 and over.

Read: ‘We’re privileged to be electing the next party leader and the next Taoiseach’

More: Simon Coveney on the search for 6 TDs to swap sides in secret ballot

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