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Joan Burton the most popular of the high-profile ministers

A new poll has also revealed that voters are in support of means testing child benefit payments.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

THE LATEST Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll has revealed an overwhelming support from the Irish electorate for means testing child benefit and that the Minister in charge of the payments is the most popular of the high-profile Cabinet members.

According to the research, 71 per cent of respondents expressed their support for means testing child benefit. About 18 per cent said child benefit should continue at its current level, while 8 per cent believe it should be reduced.

Among those who still receive the monthly payments, 70 per cent said it should be means tested.

There was no major divergence in the opinions held by men and women.

In the same study, Social Protection Minister Joan Burton was shown to be the most popular of six Cabinet members whose satisfaction ratings were measured.

She came out on top with a 44 per cent rating – the only one whose satisfaction figure was higher than the dissatisfaction figure.

After coming under fire for a number of reasons recently, Health Minister James Reilly’s dissatisfaction rating is 70 per cent. Environment Minister Phil Hogan, who has been seen as the face of the Household Charge and imminent property tax, had the next lowest rating, following by Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan’s satisfaction rate is 38 per cent, compared with a dissatisfaction rate of 42 per cent.

More people had ‘no opinion’ on the performance of Justice and Equality Minister Alan Shatter, with his satisfaction rating coming in at 30 per cent. About 38 per cent of respondents were dissatisfied with his work in office so far.

Other findings from the poll showed 66 per cent of people think the property tax is a bad idea, while 60 per cent believe water charges are a bad idea.

About 29 per cent of people believe there should be greater taxes rather than more cuts.

On the issue of State funding for fee-paying schools, the electorate seems quite mixed. Just under one quarter of respondents said current levels should be maintained, while 36 per cent believe there should be a reduction. Twenty-nine per cent said there should be no subventions at all given to such schools.

The survey was conducted by Ipsos MRBI on behalf of the Irish Times on 15 and 16 October. One-thousand in-home interviews were carried out as part of the study.

Burton ‘cannot clarify’ what ‘core’ social welfare payments will be protected

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