The first shots the 2016 General Election were fired over the weekend in Clare with a massive response to the first candidate based survey so far of this election campaign.
The Clare People online survey attracted almost 1,200 respondents, with a number of candidates rallying the troops on social media to secure a favorable vote.
The results have threw up a number of surprise results – with candidates who have not yet formally announced their intention to run and candidates who have not yet secured a party nomination, performing surprisingly well.
The poll was topped by Clare West councillor Ian Lynch (IND) who secured an impressive 197 votes, or 17 per cent of the overall vote. Mr Lynch, who told the Clare People yesterday that he has not yet decided if he will contest the election, secured an impressive 1,218 first preference votes in the 2014 local elections.
Second place in the poll went to Sinn Fein’s Noeleen Moran with 196 votes. The north Clare woman was one of the first candidate to officially declare for the General Election in Clare and is increasing looking more likely to take the party’s first seat in Clare in modern times.
Another surprise was the performance of Shannon Senator Tony Mulcahy (FG), who was the highest polling Fine Gael member, polling an impressive 185 votes or 16 per cent of the overall vote.
Senator Mulcahy vote was far in excess of more established party members such as TD’s Pat Breen and Joe Carey as well as Senator Martin Conway – with only Cllr Mary Howard (FG) coming close. The debut Ennis councillor took 59 votes in total, polling an impressive five per cent of the vote.
The two current Fianna Fáil candidates found themselves sandwiched between Senator Mulcahy and Councillor Howard – with sitting TD, Timmy Dooley, and Michael McDonagh finishing fourth and fifth respectively.
The pair, who were officially returned as candidates following last weeks party convention in Ennis, were separated by just one vote with Dooley receiving 140 to McDonagh’s 139.
Sitting TD Michael McNamara was the seventh candidate on the list, marginally ahead of Pat Breen and Joe Carey.
Fine Gael were the most popular party with 26.4 per cent of the vote, coming out just ahead of Fianna Fáil on 25.9 per cent. Independents received 21.1 per cent of the vote, with Sinn Fein getting 16.9, Labour receiving 2.3 per cent, the Green Party were on 1.7 per cent, the Anti Austerity Alliance polling 1.6 per cent and Renua on 0.3 per cent. Fís Nuá, who have yet to announce a candidate, failed to get a vote.
The Clare People candidates poll was hosted online from Thursday, August 6 to Monday, August 10. A total of 1,154 votes were recorded over the five days of the poll. Votes were restricted to one vote per IP address/internet connection to guard against multiple votes from the same person. A full breakdown of the votes will be published later today, August 11, on clarepeople.com. All current candidates and likely candidates were included in the poll.
Ian Lynch [IND] – 197 [17 per cent]
Noeleen Moran [SF] – 196 [16.9 per cent]
Tony Mulcahy [FG] – 185 [16 per cent]
Timmy Dooley [FF] – 140 [12.1 per cent]
Michael McDonagh [FF] – 139 [12 per cent]
Mary Howard [FG] – 59 [4.7 per cent]
Undecided – 29 [2.5 per cent]
Michael McNamara [LAB/IND] – 27 [2.3 per cent]
Pat Breen [FG] – 25 [2.1 per cent]
Joe Carey [FG] – 22 [1.9 per cent]
Clare Colleran Molloy [FF] – 21 [1.8 per cent]
Róisín Garvey [GP] – 20 [1.7 per cent]
Anti Austerity Alliance [TBC] – 19 [1.6 per cent]
Gerry Flynn [IND] – 18 [1.5 per cent]
Ann Norton [IND] – 17 [1.47 per cent]
Martin Conway [FG] – 14 [1.2 per cent]
James Breen [IND] – 12 [1 per cent]
Another Candidate – 10 [0.8 per cent]
RENUA Candidate [TBA] – 4 [0.3 per cent]
FIS NUA Candidate [TBA] – 0