Varadkar has highest rating for FG Taoiseach since 2011, poll shows

Fine Gael’s satisfaction rate up three points to 34%, overall Government up 5 points

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the Fine Gael National Conference in the Slieve Russell Hotel, Co Cavan. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has achieved the highest rating for a Fine Gael taoiseach since 2011 at 52 per cent, according to the Behaviour and Attitudes poll in today's Sunday Times.

Fine Gael’s satisfaction rate is up three points to 34 per cent, according to the new poll.

Fianna Fáil has risen four points to 31 per cent while Sinn Féin is down five points to 14 per cent.

Gerry Adams’s personal satisfaction rating is down six points to 32 per cent while Micheál Martin’s has not changed at 50 per cent.

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Labour is down one point to 3 per cent, the Independent Alliance remains the same at 3 per cent while Solidarity People Before Profit is up two points to 3 per cent.

Overall satisfaction with the Government is up five points to 44 per cent. All of these comparisons are based on the series of Behaviour and Attitudes polls published by the Sunday Times.

The good news for Fine Gael comes on the same weekend as their national conference in Co Cavan, which has focused on the Northern Ireland Border after Brexit and planned tax cuts.

Speaking at the Slieve Russell Hotel on Friday, Mr Varadkar said the entry rate for the top rate of tax would be raised in next year's Budget "and the one after that – and the one after that".

“It’s not fair that people on middle incomes pay income tax at the highest rate . . . That’s not fair, and we’re going to change it,” he told the conference.

Meanwhile, Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney told the conference the Government's "stubborn" position on not having a hard Border after Brexit was not a "land grab" for Northern Ireland or a "stepping stone" to a united Ireland.

Mr Coveney said the Government’s position is “consistent, firm and stubborn” that there should be no “regulatory divergence” post Brexit, in order to allow for a “functioning all-island economy”.

The last Irish Times /Ipsos MRBI poll on October 5th 2017 saw overall Government support drop one point to 36 per cent.