Poll gives big boost to Leo Varadkar's popularity

After a long period in which Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael rose in tandem that trend is arrested – for now anyway. Above Micheál Martin

Irish PM Leo Varadkar surges in polls after tough Brexit stance

FINE Gael's support has massively grown - as punters warm to Leo Varadkar while he plays hardball over Brexit negotiations with the UK.

And punters are in love with Varadkar too, with his approval rating jumping by four points to 53 per cent - the best leader performance since Enda Kenny in 2011.

Support for his Fine Gael party rose to 36 per cent, while opposition Fianna Fail fell to 25 per cent.

Satisfaction with the government also rose by five points to 41 percent in Thursday's poll, the highest level achieved by any government in nearly a decade.

That was in sharp contrast to a week earlier when his deputy prime minister had to resign to avert a government collapse and election before Christmas, an episode that members of Fine Gael feared would damage both the party and its leader. Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein remain unchanged, on just 19 per cent.

The poll was taken on Monday and Tuesday in the height of the row over Brexit.

And 57 per cent of people said they think the country "is on the right track".

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