Although the 85-billion euro bailout package from the IMF and EU was ratified by Ireland’s parliament (by a scant six votes), the man who pushed hardest for its passage, Prime Minister Brian Cowen may be the most unpopular man in the country.
According to a new poll from Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI, an astounding 90 percent of respondents said expressed dissatisfaction with Cowen and his ruling Fianna Fáil party. Cowen’s personal rating is at 14 percent, five points below his prior showing in a September poll.
These are the lowest ratings ever achieved by an Irish government since the Irish Times began polling in 1982.
Indeed, many Irishmen and Irishwomen probably echoed the view of the main opposition party leader Michael Noonan, who declared that the rescue deal was a “downright obscenity.”
The survey also indicated that if a new election were held now, Fianna Fail would gain only 17 percent of seats, while their coalition partner, the Green Party, would get only 2 percent.
Meanwhile, The Sinn Fein party’s popularity almost doubled from 8 percent to 15 percent. Support for Fine Gael also increased.
“[The poll results] indicates the recent robust performance by Mr Cowen has not turned the tide of public opinion,” The Irish Times reported. “The poll reveals the scale of the challenge facing Mr Cowen and Fianna Fáil in the next general election which has the potential to transform the Irish political landscape.”
In addition, the survey suggests that Fine Gael is on course to become the largest party in the Dail (Irish parliament) for the first time ever.
Cowen said last month that he would seek a national election early next year after the parliament passed the 2011 budget. He also insisted he would continue to lead his Fianna Fail party.