The recent Clare Champion 2016 General Election opinion poll has generally been borne out on polling day.
Apart from some changes in the parties’ actual vote, the ‘Champion poll, which was taken two weeks previously, identified some of the key trends, which transpired on February 26.
It revealed the emergence of Dr Michael Harty as a very strong candidate, who looks set to take the second seat in the Banner County.
In addition to predicting a seat for outgoing Fianna Fáil Deputy Timmy Dooley and Pat Breen, Fine Gael, it indicated that Sinn Féin candidate, Noeleen Moran would be in contention for the last seat with Labour’s Michael McNamara and Fine Gael Deputy, Joe Carey.
Some interesting findings have emerged when comparing the poll with the tally results.
According to the tally, Fianna Fáil is on 31.11% Fine Gael 25.98% Labour 7.8% Sinn Féin 7.18% Independents 23% Fís Nua 1.98% Green 2.95%.
The poll found Fianna Fáil was on 27.91, Fine Gael 24.69%, Labour 8.74%, Sinn Fein 12.88%, Independents 20.25%, Fis Nua 1.84%, Greens 3.68%
Since the poll was taken, the Sinn Fein vote went down by about 5%, and Labour by about 1%, with Fianna Fail up about 3% and Independents up 3% approximately benefitting from this in line with national trends.
Contrary to the national trend, the Fine Gael vote increased very marginally in Clare, but became balanced between Carey and Breen.
Whether this was by accident or design, it was likely a consequence of a change in party tactics as a result of the publication of the poll and could result in Deputy Carey retaining his seat.