herald

Saturday 19 August 2017

'Jaw-dropping' poll ups odds of heave on Gilmore

Joan Burton. Photo: Damien Eagers
Joan Burton. Photo: Damien Eagers

EAMON Gilmore has been put on high alert for a potential leadership heave after his popularity suffered a dramatic fall.

The Labour leader is now more unpopular than former Taoiseach Brian Cowen was during the financial crisis.

His public support has nosedived, with just 16pc satisfied with his performance.

His popularity has reached lows never experienced before by Mr Gilmore, who was tipped to become Taoiseach before the last general election.

One TD close to Mr Gilmore last night admitted that the huge fall in support was "jaw-dropping".

"Each and every poll now we are hoping for a bounce but we keep seeing the opposite. He [Gilmore] is the person whose face has to go on to the posters during election time. His level of support is just jaw-dropping," the deputy said.

According to the poll, carried out for the Sunday Independent, only 16pc of those surveyed said they were satisfied with Mr Gilmore's performance as Labour leader.

Mr Cowen polled 18pc when the same question was posed during the financial crisis in June 2010.

His Fianna Fail party was voted out of office eight months later.

Some 71pc of those polled said they were dissatisfied with Mr Gilmore's performance. And just 42pc of Labour supporters say they are satisfied with him.

The results are sure to put Mr Gilmore on edge about a potential leadership heave.

The Herald revealed in April that he frantically contacted TDs and senators to determine whether his leadership was safe.

Although he was told that party members are "deeply unhappy" with Labour's role in the coalition, he was assured that there was no appetite for a change in leadership. He has also been told by deputies that Labour needs to have a "massive stamp" on Budget 2014 and that a bad result in next summer's local elections may determine whether he remains leader.

Housing Minister Jan O'Sullivan and Social Protection Minister Joan Burton are seen as the most likely figures to challenge for the leadership.

Meanwhile, the opinion poll shows that Taoiseach Enda Kenny has the confidence of just 25pc of voters. However, among Fine Gael supporters polled, 74pc said they were satisfied with his performance.

Some 29pc of voters polled said they were happy with Micheal Martin's performance – meaning the Fianna Fail leader is still the country's most popular party leader. Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adam's support is at 24pc.

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