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Doherty looks set to top poll in Donegal and Sinn Féin may get second seat

Pearse Doherty’s expected surplus could help his Sinn Féin colleague Pádraig Mac Lochlainn regain his seat, according to a new opinion poll.
Jan 23rd 2020, 7:05 PM 41,747 97

5093 Pearse Doherty Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty Source: Leah Farrell/

PEARSE DOHERTY LOOKS set to top the poll in the Donegal constituency in next month’s general election, according to a new opinion poll.

The Sinn Féin TD is likely to receive a quota and a half, with 27% of first-preference votes, according to a new TG4/Ipsos MRBI poll.

Doherty’s expected surplus could help his Sinn Féin colleague Pádraig Mac Lochlainn, who is currently a senator, regain the seat he lost in the 2016 general election.

Fine Gael’s Joe McHugh is the second most popular candidate among those polled, with 17% of first-preference votes (the quota needed), and also looks likely to retain his seat.

unnamed Source: TG4/Ipsos MRBI

While Doherty and McHugh appear to be safe, the battle for the remaining seats could be tight and there is a possibility Fianna Fáil could take two seats in the five-seat constituency.

According to the poll, the last seat could come down to a battle of transfers between one of the Fianna Fáil candidates and current TD Thomas Pringle, who is independent.

Green Party candidate Michael White polled at 4% and independent candidate Peter Casey polled at 2%.

donegal Source: TG4/Ipsos MRBI

When Charlie McConalogue’s first preference vote in the poll is combined with Pat ‘the Cope’ Gallagher’s vote, the Fianna Fáil total in the constituency is 22% in Donegal, suggesting there is a seat for one or possibly both current TDs.

As the smaller parties and independents are likely eliminated, Pringle could benefit from his independent status.

donegal parties Source: TG4/Ipsos MRBI

In 2016, Fianna Fáil took two seats (McConalogue and Gallagher) and Fine Gael got one seat (McHugh). Doherty was also elected, but the party missed out on a second seat when Mac Lochlainn was narrowly defeated by Pringle.

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.

The opinion poll was carried out on Monday and Tuesday of this week – 550 people were surveyed and there is a margin of error of up to plus or minus four percentage points.

Independent Arthur McGuinness was not included in the poll as he only filed his nomination papers on Monday.

This is the first of TG4/Ipsos MRBI constituency poll for the general election. In the coming weeks, they will release the results of polls taken in the Galway West and Kerry constituencies.

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Órla Ryan


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