This regular poll, which provides a quite correct snapshot of the political landscape in Ireland, has Fianna Fáil now at 35%, down 2% from last time. Fine Gael stands at 30% (down 1%).
The smaller parties have all gained 1% since last month, giving the Labour Party now 11%, Sinn Féin 9% and the Green Party 8%.
Independents and others have seen their support increase by one point, to now 7%.
Meanwhile the remnants of the PDs have reached rock-bottom at 1% (down 1% from last month) and are close to complete extinction. (Not a moment too soon, in my opinion...)
The poll was conducted on either side of the Easter weekend - after the latest revelations from the Mahon Tribunal about the Taoiseach's personal finances, but before the Progressive Democrats and the Green Party called on Bertie Ahern to clarify the issues involved.
The main issue remains the lodgements in Pounds Sterling, made to Ahern's private account. This matter, together with all the other financial questions he can either not explain or not remember, begins to assume the shape of a Damocles sword which is suspended above the Taoiseach's head and can fall any moment.
Regular readers of this weblog will know that I am not a political friend of Bertie Ahern and have never voted for him or his party. But as a political analyst I always try to be as fair and unbiased as possible.
So if the Taoiseach (or any of his supporters) might read this and is interested in humble impartial advice, I can only say that it is well time to go now for Bertie.
With every new revelation he is sinking a bit deeper into the bog, from which there is no escape. Politics is a cruel game, especially in Fianna Fail.
If Bertie has any common sense left, he should step down as Taoiseach before the summer recess of the Oireachtas and give a new leader - most likely Tanaiste and Minister for Finance Brian Cowen - a fair chance to rebuild confidence in the government (if this is possible) and to prepare for the European and local elections next year.
Regardless what one might think of him and his private finances, a Taoiseach who goes on his own terms and at a time of his own choosing might well retain some respect from the country. But should the investigations of the Mahon Tribunal bring down the Prime Minister in a scandal, this will stick to him for the rest of his days. The times of Mr. Bertie Teflon are over.
Of course I cannot compete with a large organisation like TCH and a sophisticated poll like the one conducted by Red C. But for the past two months I have been running an opinion poll of my own here on the weblog. It might not reflect scientifically selected opinions (as Red C does it), but it shows what the readers of "Views from the Emerald Isle" think of Bertie.
The question asked was: Your opinion of Bertie Ahern as Taoiseach and there were five options to answer it. The answers and the percentages they reached are listed below.
- Happy with him - 5.5 %
- Satisfied with him - 5.5 %
- Not satisfied with him - 16.5 %
- Unhappy with him - 72.5 %
- No opinion - 0.0 %
It's time to go, Bertie! You are running out of time and will regret it if you think you can stay put and bumble on. And by the way, when you go, please take Mary Harney with you as well. Her political sell-by date has expired a long time ago.
The Emerald Islander