December 19, 2011
The latest opinion poll in the Republic of Ireland places Sinn Fein as the second most popular party in the country
The recent leaking of the coalition government's budget cuts was yesterday blamed by a cabinet minister for the dramatic slump in support for the Fien Gael and Labour.
The survey shows Fine Gael and the Labour Party are down 11pc.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore have also taken a hit in their popularity.
Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte said the pre-budget speculation "irritated" people.
Health Minister James Reilly and Social Protection Minister Joan Burton are frequently cited as the prime culprits. But Mr Rabbitte didn't single out any individual.
Mr Rabbitte said he came across constituents who thought the cuts leaked in advance of the budget -- and then never appeared -- were actually being implemented because they heard about them in the media.
Despite the unpopular measures in the €3.8bn package of cuts and taxes, nearly two-thirds of people said the Budget was in line with what they expected.
The Behaviour and Attitudes opinion poll for 'The Sunday Times' showed a substantial slump for the Coalition and a boost for the opposition.
The poll, taken after Budget 2012, showed Sinn Fein overtook Labour and Fianna Fail to become the second biggest party, although Fianna Fail enjoyed the largest rise.
The Sinn Fein share of the vote is up seven per cent on their showing in the general election in February.
The figures showed Fine Gael on 30pc, down seven points, Sinn Fein on 21pc, up two, Fianna Fail on 20pc, up five, Labour on 11pc, down four, Independents on 15pc, up two, and the Green Party on 3pc, also up two.
Mr Kenny's personal satisfaction rating is down 14 points to 44pc and Mr Gilmore is down 11pc to 35pc. Micheal Martin rose four points to 40pc. Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams is the most popular leader on 48pc.