Varadkar's election as leader give Fine Gael a 'short-term' boost in the polls

Leo Varadkar's election as new Fine Gael leader has given his party a short-term shot in the arm, after the latest poll saw it jump 6% from Enda Kenny's time in power, writes Fiachra Ó Cionnaith

Political Correspondent

A new public survey taken in the days after Mr Varadkar formally became Taoiseach two weeks ago show Fine Gael is now at 31% (up 6%) compared to a 1% drop for Fianna Fáil to 26%.

The latest figures, from an Irish Daily Mail/Ireland Thinks survey of 1,300 people between June 12 and June 16, are based on peoples' views before the Maire Whelan and cabinet gender breakdown controversies emerged.

However, while the difficulties are likely to have damaged Mr Varadkar's standing among some sections of the public, the initial boost in support in the days after his appointment will be welcomed by his party backers who claim his public image is vital to Fine Gael's revival.

According to the latest figures from the poll, which is one of a number of rival surveys taking place at regular intervals which use differing ways of examining public mood:

* Fine Gael is now on 31% support, up 6% from April

* Fianna Fáil is on 26%, down 1%

* Sinn Féin is on 16%, down 1%

* Labour is on 7%, up 2%

* the Green party is on 4%, up 1%

* the Social Democrats party is on 2%, down 2%

* Solidarity-People Before Profit is on 2%, down 1%

* and the wide-ranging Independents group is on 11%, down 4%

It has been claimed the Fine Gael boost in support means the party would gain seven seats if the surge was repeated in a general election.

However, due to the fact constituency breakdown and Ireland's proportional representation system has not been factored into the poll, it is unclear how many seats the party would gain based on these results.

The latest poll results come as friction continues to build between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil. with Mr Varadkar denying over the weekend his relationship with counterpart Micheal Martin is "putrid" and Fianna Fáil finance spokesperson Michael McGrath warning a snap election is becoming more likely.


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