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Latest poll: Labour supporters prefer Enda Kenny to their own Eamon Gilmore

Fine Gael has secured 35 per cent support – about the same share as they had during last year’s General Election.

Image: Stephen Kilkenny

DESPITE A REBELLION against the Household Charge and the repayment of Anglo Irish Bank debt, Fine Gael – and its leader – has seen a rise in its popularity in a recent poll.

The Red C/Paddy Power opinion poll saw Fine Gael secure 35 per cent support, which is almost the same share it enjoyed during its successful General Election last year.

Party leader Enda Kenny also experienced a rise in popularity, achieving the highest performance rating by some margin of all the main party leaders. After his recent trips to the US and China, he obtained a rating of 8 or more out of ten.

Obviously, Fine Gael supporters were more likely to rate him more highly but Labour supporters were also “relatively impressed”, according to the poll. They actually rate Kenny more than their own party leader Eamon Gilmore.

The Labour party obtained 16 per cent of the first preference vote – a little ahead of other recent polls.

The impact of the Mahon Report on Fianna Fáil has been quite limited, suggesting that the findings were already built into their current position in the polls. They lost about a 1 per cent share, leaving them at about 15 per cent overall.

The vast majority of voters believe that the party were correct to propose the expulsion of Bertie Ahern. About 77 per cent of Fianna Fáil voters also agreed with the decision.

In just one week, Sinn Féin has dropped 4 per cent, bringing them back down to 14 per cent.

Independent candidates secure 20 per cent – again the same as January’s polls but about 3 per cent higher than what they achieved in a similar poll last week. A number of Independents campaigning against the Household Charge could account for this sudden increased popularity.

The Red C poll was conducted between 26 and 28 March by telephone. A sample of 1,009 adults were used.

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