The latest poll does not indicate any last-minute surge in support one way or the other. But of course, we haven't reached the "last minute" yet. Labour appears to have come off worst in its scrap with Fine Gael and the "Gilmore for Taoiseach" posters are going to become collectors' items -- just as the famous 1969 Labour poster "The Seventies Will Be Socialist" became iconic symbols of over-reaching ambition.
indsight is 20:20 vision. The candidate strategy devised last year by Fine Gael was rational in its ambition. It was designed to maximise the party's seats on a projected support level of 30 to 33 per cent of the vote. But as a result, FG will now do extremely well to get 75 or 76 seats.
The big problem it faces is that there are simply not going to be five, six, seven or eight independents who share the FG outlook on what should be done now. At the most, I see three. Most of the independents or smaller party candidates who are likely to be elected have a left or hard-left political outlook and simply could not support a centre-right austerity programme.
With the benefit of hindsight, FG should have signalled a go-it-alone strategy last year and recruited heavy-hitter candidates to go for majorities in three, four and five-seat constituencies.
The very late nomination of Peter Mathews in Dublin South illustrates the opportunity it has lost elsewhere.
Of course, the reality of total melt-down in FF was not as apparent then. And prevailing electoral orthodoxy is to keep your vote tight by keeping your candidate numbers tight.
One very intriguing issue is the present thought process of former Fianna Fail supporters. If they switch to Fine Gael in the hope of having single-party government, all the signs are that Labour would end up being the largest opposition party and Gilmore the leader of the opposition.
Fianna Fail would find itself sandwiched between Sinn Fein and Labour in opposition -- a very uncomfortable space in which to rebuild the party. That scenario could spell the end for FF over the life of the next Dail. Moreover, the outcome of an early general election caused by the independents deserting FG could quite likely be a FF-Labour coalition.
Our electoral map combined with a cautious candidate strategy has, however, made it very improbable -- if not almost impossible -- that FG will be able to go it alone. The much more likely scenario is a FG-Labour coalition in which Labour will be the chastened, resentful and sullen underdog.
As I wrote here a few weeks ago, the public is very sceptical about the compatibility of FG and Labour. If they both share a massive overhang of redundant backbenchers (between them they should have 105 seats), there will be rich material for instability. If post-election opinion polls "go south" as the austerity regime begins to bite, the stage will be set for mutiny and for friction.
I believe that the underlying economic situation is parlous indeed. I think that within a fortnight we will see the grave faces of the new coalition government tell us that the situation is far worse than they were led to believe and that all manifesto commitments have been shelved.
I have a very strong premonition that we are weeks away from being told that we are in an economic emergency. The new government is going to take office metaphorically in a bunker. I cannot see any honeymoon. Nor do I see any extended period of novelty or freshness for the election victors.
Even costless institutional or constitutional reform will quickly lose its capacity to distract us from the immediate economic crisis.
The outgoing Government is already merely a fast-fading bad memory. Pinch yourself and remember that it only consists of seven ministers and nobody on the street can even remember which of the seven has which portfolio.
Michael Noonan's description of the likely near future for our new government as "dreadful" is wise insurance on his part.
While trade unionists may resent Lucinda Creighton's warning that Jack O'Connor had "good reason" to fear a FG government, the truth is that we all should face up to the fearful mess we are in. No one has much reason for complacency and very few for confidence.
The great advantage of going into coalition for both FG and Labour is that both parties will have a perfect alibi for abandoning their manifesto promises.
They will simply blame each other and a disastrous economic outlook for telling us that all bets are off.
Seasoned FF supporters will see an FG-Labour coalition as their reprieve from being the meat in a Labour-Sinn Fein opposition sandwich.
None of the foregoing is meant to be cynical; I just think we collectively need a major dose of realism.
We are heading towards very turbulent waters that threaten our boat with a whirlpool-like vortex.
We can't afford a shaky government with inconstant independent allies. Fine Gael and Labour should face up to the inevitable that they are going into government together -- for better or worse.
Looking to the future, we need a new political force -- not a ragbag of independents. Without a new centre-right force in Irish politics (which I see coming), we will be condemned to a future in which our only choice is which civil-war party governs with Labour.
Yes, this is a sea-change election in the sense that FF is imploding. But our economic crisis is not going to change next Friday. And our system of political parties and allegiances is only starting to change.
To quote Dylan Haskins, the independent candidate in Dublin South East, the change "starts here". Next weekend it will be by no means over.
Michael McDowell is a former leader of the Progressive Democrats and a practising senior counsel