Less than half of the Irish electorate are now satisfied with the Taoiseach, with 43 percent approving of his job as leader, research for the Irish Times suggests. Support for Mr Varadkar’s Fine Gael party has also taken a hit, with just 30 percent of voters saying they would back the party. The Irish leader’s personal approval plummeted from 51 percent in October to just 43 percent on Thursday – a drop of eight points, the opinion poll showed.
These latest figures are a far cry from the 60 percent approval Mr Varadkar was polling at in January 2018.
However the figure revealed in the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll still makes him the most popular of all party leaders.
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin’s approval rating is 35 percent, down four percent since the last poll.
Mr Martin’s party is currently in a confidence and supply agreement with Mr Varadkar’s minority government.
Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald’s approval stands at 33 percent, a drop of seven points, while Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin’s rating is 19 percent – a modest rise of one percent.
The poor numbers for Mr Varadkar come as the Irish government struggles to handle a major housing crisis.
Soaring rents, combined with a housing shortage and job insecurity, mean young adults are finding it increasingly difficult to get on the housing ladder.
Meanwhile, Mr Varadkar’s Fine Gael government has come under fierce criticism for spiralling costs associated with the national children’s hospital project.
In 2015, the development was given an estimated price tag of £555 million (€650 million), according to the Irish Times.
But the construction cost has since jumped to £1.22 billion (€1.43 bn), and overall costs – including equipping and integration, to £1.47 bn (€1.73 bn).
The Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI research saw 1,200 adult voters polled on March 4 and 5 at 120 sampling points across all of Ireland’s constituencies.
The margin of error is plus or minus 2.8 percent.