Majority want Cowen to step down ahead of next election


A substantial majority of voters would like to see Taoiseach Brian Cowen stepping down from his post before the next general election, according to the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI.

Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan is the clear popular favourite to succeed Mr Cowen if there is a change of leadership in Fianna Fáil.

The poll was taken on Monday and Tuesday of this week among a representative sample of 1,000 voters aged 18 and over, in face-to-face interviews at 100 sampling points in all 43 constituencies. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 per cent.

When asked if they would like to see Brian Cowen remaining as Taoiseach and leader of Fianna Fáil until the next election 61 per cent said he should step down while 29 per cent said he should remain and just 10 per cent had no opinion.

There was some consolation for Mr Cowen that among Fianna Fáil voters the position was reversed with 61 per cent saying he should remain and 32 per cent saying he should step down.

Asked who should take Mr Cowen’s place if he stepped down before the next election Brian Lenihan had a decisive lead with more than twice the level of support than the next most popular candidate.

Mr Lenihan was supported by 39 per cent of voters followed by Micheal Martin on 18 per cent, Mary Hanafin on 8 per cent and Dermot Ahern on 6 per cent. Other candidates attracted the support of 5 per cent while 24 per cent had no opinion.