Polls leave Fianna Fail fearing total decimation
A series of private opinion polls show that Fianna Fail would lose far more seats than the 20 currently predicted if there was a sudden election.
The result of the secret polls have left senior party figures in "a state of fear'' that the party is poised to experience a 2002-style Fine Gael wipeout in Dublin and the country.
The polls also reveal that the electorate is poised to "take out'' the party's senior ministers rather than more humble backbenchers.
The party hierarchy is seriously "disturbed" by three constituency polls in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin South West and Mayo.
In Dun Laoghaire the polls suggest that the high profile FF Ministers Mary Hanafin and Barry Andrews are both in real danger of losing their seats. Fine Gael, in contrast, is poised to win two while Labour will almost definitely take a seat.
The results are believed to be even more stunning in Dublin South West, where Fianna Fail currently holds two of the four seats.
A well-respected former minister told the Sunday Independent that the figures there show that both Pat Rabbitte and Brian Hayes have almost two quotas each.
When it comes to the collapsed Fianna Fail vote, the humble FF backbench TD Charlie O'Connor is ahead of the high profile Innovation Minister Conor Lenihan.
But the low level of support for Fianna Fail means that even though they have a quota between them, unless Mr Lenihan and Mr O'Connor transfer perfectly to each other they may lose both seats.
Meanwhile, in Mayo, the most recent figures suggest Fine Gael is not on course to win a fourth seat in the constituency.
However, former Labour councillor Michael Kilcoyne, who is currently an independent, could take one of the two Fianna Fail seats.
And in what would be seen as a major surprise, Mr Cowen's high profile ministerial protege Dara Calleary is under more pressure than controversial Beverley Flynn.
"These figures show we're on course to win less than five seats in Dublin," said a Fianna Fail member, adding that if the figures from the three constituencies are replicated nationwide, "no cabinet minister, not even the Tanaiste up in Donegal, is safe.''