Saturday, February 27, 2016

Irish General Election 2016: The Exit Poll.

Well, it's not long now until the counting actually begins in the election.  Counts begin at 9am, but at 7am, on a special Saturday edition of Morning Ireland on RTE Radio 1 and RTE News Now, RTE released the result of their exit poll.

A small reminder that these are first preference votes that are asked about, as the system of voting is Single Transferable Vote, which ranks candidates by preference.

Fine Gael, who were the largest party in 2011 with 36.1, have lost almost a third of their previous vote, to now be at 24.8%.  This still makes them the largest party, but with a much reduced vote.  Second place goes to Fianna Fail, which has increased their vote from 17.4% in 2011, to 21.1% in this exit poll. 

Sinn Fein have made a huge gain in this election, from 9.9% in 2011, to 16% in this exit poll. 

Independents make up the 4th largest group this time around with 11%.  Labour, who were coalition partners in 2011 with a huge 19.4% of the vote, have dropped down to 5th place this time with just 7.1% in this exit poll.

This means we could be looking at a Fine Gail/Fianna Fail coalition, which would have been unthinkable in any prior government before, with Sinn Fein being the leaders of the opposition.  The equivalent in the UK, would be a Labour/Conservative coalition. 

I do think there might be some resistance to the idea of a Fine Gael/Fianna Fail coalition, the idea of old enenmies working together might be too much to bear for some, but it does mean that we are in a new era for Irish politics.

And remember this poll was for first preference votes only.  How this translates down the line into seats is anyone's guess, due to the fact that the preferences below first preference are what will ultimately decide who gets elected, and who does not.

We'll keep an eye on the counting, which is starting shortly, and will post updates here on the blog during the day, and probably tomorrow as well, as we finally work out just how the Irish public have voted to fill the 157 seats in 40 constituencies that will make up the new Dail Eireann.

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