TAOISEACH Enda Kenny is enjoying an extended political honeymoon as he approaches 100 days in office, with the latest opinion poll showing support for his Fine Gael party higher now than it was at the general election.
The visits of US President Barack Obama and Queen Elizabeth II appear to have given a major boost to Fine Gael, support for which is at 41% — five points higher than its 36% first-preference vote in the election and the highest since the Red C poll began in 2004.
But the “Obama Bounce” has not been as beneficial for the Labour Party whose support, at 19%, remains the same since the general election on February 25.
The poll was taken among 1,000 voters on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, during, and just after, Mr Obama’s visit. It shows that if an election was held now, the results would almost certainly be the same as three months ago, with the possibility of an overall majority for Fine Gael, which is now a hugely dominant force, with double the support of any other party.
Fianna Fáil has not managed to make any gains since entering opposition.
With 16% support it has dropped just slightly from the 17% first-preference vote in the election and shows no sign of winning back any of the 51 seats it lost in its worst-ever result.
The party faces a huge challenge rebuilding its support in Dublin, which stands at 11% — just double that of the Greens on 5% in Dublin, despite the lack of a TD.
The new Green Party leader, Eamon Ryan, can take some comfort in the poll, which shows his party on 3% support nationally.
Sinn Féin, at 11%, is holding on to its electoral strength. The party may have succeeded at assuming the leadership of the left-wing opposition in the Dáil as support for Independents is about 10%.
The Coalition parties will be 100 days in office on June 17 and, while their honeymoon period is ongoing, their popularity is likely to be effected by difficult decisions ahead, including the 2012 Budget and further implementation of the EU/IMF programme.
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