New poll shows Labour support nose-diving

Trouble for Gilmore as poll puts support for party on just 7 per cent

Eamon Gilmore insists his postion as party leader is not under threat. Photograph: Alan Betson / THE IRISH TIMES

Eamon Gilmore insists his postion as party leader is not under threat. Photograph: Alan Betson / THE IRISH TIMES



A new poll to be published tomorrow shows support for the Labour Party has collapsed with just 7 per cent of people saying they would back the party, a fall of four points in just two months.

The poll, to be published in the Sunday Times shows Fine Gael faring considerably better with its support increasing by one point to 27 per cent. Fianna Fail, meanwhile, is the second largest party in the State on 23 per cent, a decline of 1 per cent since the last poll was carried out by the newspaper at the end of January.

Sinn Fein could have hoped to be the biggest beneficiary of a fall in support for Labour but the poll will also make grim reading for its leadership showing as it does backing for the party falling by 4 per cent to 15 per cent.

Support for independents continues to grow with 25 per cent of those polled now saying the would vote for an unaligned candidate in a general election, an increase of seven points.

The Green Party has yet to recover from the hammering it took at the last general election and its support is now put at just 2 per cent a fall of 1 per cent.

The results will bring the curtain down on a terrible week for Labour and its leader Eamon Gilmore.

Yesterday the Tánaiste dismissed any suggestions that his leadership was an issue following a very poor showing in the Meath East by-election. The party’s candidate Eoin Holmes received only 4.5 per cent of the vote and finished in fifth place.

In response Mr Gilmore said his party needed to do some reflection, look at the implications and consider what it needed to do in the future but he stressed his belief that people understood that Labour had to make some very difficult decisions to make the economy turn around.

"I think they acknowledge we have made progress but of course it has not penetrated and it has not been reflected in people's lives and living standards, people who are still struggling with meeting mortgages, people who have not jobs," he said.

"The challenge in the period ahead will be to convert the work we have done in building a foundation for recovery into a real impact on people's lives."

According to the poll, satisfaction with the Government has inched up three points to 25 per cent but there is unlikely to be any Champagne corks popping as 73 per cent of those polled said they were dissatisfied with how the Government has been handling its affairs..

The Taoiseach Enda Kenny's popularity remains unchanged at 39 per cent while the Tánaiste's satisfaction rating actually went up 3 per cent to 29 per cent.

Fianna Fail's Micheal Martin rating amongst voters has fallen four points to 44 per cent while Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams saw his popularity inch up two points to 45 per cent.