A 61% majority have called for Brian Cowen, the Irish Prime Minister, to resign before the next general election according to the latest poll conducted by the Irish Times newspaper.

When respondents were asked if they would like to see Mr Cowen remaining as Prime Minister until the next election, 61% said he should step down while 29% said he should remain.

The strongest backing for Cowen came from the Leinster area where a significant 40% wanted him to stay. Younger respondents aged between 18-to-24 years were most negative towards the Fianna Fail leader.

Results from the poll show that current Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan is the most popular favorite to succeed Cowen if a change of leadership occurs.

Following on from last week’s poll, Labor Leader Eamon Gilmore emerged once again as the most popular choice for Prime Minister if there was a change of government.

Commissioned by the Irish Times, the poll was taken from a representative sample of 1,000 voters aged 18 and over. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percent.