Fine Gael and Sinn Fein are neck and neck in latest poll
TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has failed to build up his party's popularity despite clear ongoing signs of economic recovery.
Micheal Martin's Fianna Fail are still in the doldrums and suffering from a big boost in the fortunes of their rivals Sinn Fein, which is also now the strongest party in Dublin.
Labour leader Joan Burton is the country's most popular leader as her party see a modest recovery in its support ranking, while Independent candidates still claim one-in-four support.
Those are key findings of a new nationwide poll which comes on the eve of crucial by-elections in Dublin South West and Roscommon South Leitrim tomorrow.
The Ipsos/MRBI survey for today's Irish Times is very bad news for Fine Gael which has clearly been damaged by a three-week-old row over a botched Seanad nomination and the inter-linked appointment of one of their party activists, John McNulty from Donegal, to the board of IMMA.
Despite improving job figures and predicted increases in economic growth, Fine Gael are now ranked on 24pc - precisely the same as their vote haul in the local council elections on May 23 last when they got a big political kicking.
Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton admitted today on RTE radio that there "is a drift away from the government".
"Polls come and go. Every other week there is another issue," he said.
Worse again, Fine Gael is now ranked neck-and-neck with Sinn Fein who are the big winners and up four points.
The news is even worse for Fianna Fail leader, Micheal Martin, whose party is down five points to 20 pc - adding to claims that Sinn Fein are now the real opposition leaders.
Mr Martin came in for criticism from chief lieutenant Eamon O Cuiv, who said the party's strategy is wrong.
Speaking on Newstalk, Mr O Cuiv, who is a former deputy leader of the party before falling out with Mr Martin, said the party must decide what it wants to be.
Mr O Cuiv asked whether Fianna Fail wants to be a party with broad republican ideals or "are we a party of the middle classes", he said.
Also speaking today, Fianna Fail TD Timmy Dooley said the party has known for some time it has a difficulty in Dublin as regards high profile politicians.
"We have got to work from the ground," he said.
One in four people say they are satisfied with the Fine Gael/Labour Coalition performance.