TG4 opinion poll reveals Sinn Féin's Pádraig MacLochlainn in contention to win Dáil seat

Ipsos MRBI poll shows Minister Joe McHugh polling strongly in second place with 17 percent of first preference votes

TG4 opinion poll reveals Sinn Féin's Pádraig MacLochlainn in contention to win Dáil seat

Sinn Féin Deputy Pearse Doherty

Sinn Féin's Pádraig MacLochlainn is in contention to return to Dáil Éireann, according to a new Ipsos MRBI opinion poll, carried out in Donegal for TG4. 

The results of the TG4 Donegal constituency poll shows Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty likely to receive a quota and a half with 27 percent of first-preference votes. This impressive surplus could see his party colleague, MacLochlainn elected. MacLochlainn lost his seat in the 2016 General Election. 

McHugh - Polling strongly

Fine Gael’s Joe McHugh is polling strongly in second place, at 17 percent of first preference votes.  There is a possibility that Fianna Fáil could win two seats in the five-seater constituency. The last seat looks likely to be a battle of transfers between one of the Fianna Fáil candidates and Independent current TD Thomas Pringle.

Independent Peter Casey has polled poorly at 2 percent of the vote, and there isn’t any sign of the Green wave in Donegal, as yet, with Michael White of The Green Party polling at 4 percent.

The TG4 Ipsos MRBI Donegal constituency poll was conducted on Monday and Tuesday of this week, Jnauary 20 and 21. A sample of 550 attaches a margin of error of up to plus or minus four percentage points.  The Donegal constituency is a five-seater, with a quota of 17 percent.

First count

Joe McHugh of Fine Gael, and current Minister for Education and Skills, records 17 percent of the vote, just enough to be elected on the first count and is very likely to retain his seat for Fine Gael. While Pearse Doherty and Joe McHugh look comfortable, the battle for the remaining three seats should prove exceptionally interesting.

When Charlie McConalogue’s vote is combined with Pat ‘the Cope’ Gallagher’s vote, the Fianna Fáil total is 22 percent in Donegal, suggesting there is a seat or possibly two for Fianna Fáil.

Charlie McConalogue is 5 percent short of the quota, at 12 per cent, and Pat ‘The Cope’ Gallagher is at 10 percent. Two seats for Fianna Fáil is a real possibility, if there is a sizable gap between the lowest polling Fianna Fáil candidate and the highest polling independent candidate, and if the trailing Fianna Fáil candidate proves reasonably transfer friendly.

Elimination
As the smaller parties and Independents are eliminated, Thomas Pringle could benefit from his independent status, although he may have quite a bit of ground to make up if he is to overtake either the second Sinn Féin or second Fianna Fáil candidate.

In 2016, Fianna Fáil took two seats, Charlie McConalogue and Pat ‘the Cope’ Gallagher and Fine Gael one seat, Joe McHugh.

Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty was also elected. However, the party missed out on a second seat, when Sinn Féin’s Padraig MacLochlainn was narrowly defeated by Independent Thomas Pringle. Similarly, for Fine Gael, two TDs in Donegal turned into one TD when Donegal changed from two three-seater constituencies to one five-seater for the 2016 election.

**All interviewing was conducted before Peter Casey confirmed he was also running in
Dublin West. Arthur McGuiness was not on our ballot paper. This is the first of TG4 / Ipsos MRBI constituency polls as part of TG4’s election 2020 coverage.

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