I won’t mince words.
I believe that Michael D. Higgins will be the next President of Ireland, but that is dependent, mostly, on one crucial issue: he has to be within 10 percentage points of Sean Gallagher at the first count. If he does that, the transfers from Davis, Norris, Mitchell and McGuinness should let him overtake the Independent. I would predict a first preference vote of around 25 per cent, and victory in five counts.
Gallagher will, in my estimation, lead after the first count, but will struggle with transfers. He may get some from Mitchell, and even the FF minded Republicans going for McG with their #1′s. But, unless he breaks the 35% barrier, I see a depressing day for him. The current status of the more casual Fianna Fail voter will be seen as clear as day in his numbers.
McGuinness, I predict will get somewhere in the mid to high teens and get little afterward. It should be enough for him to secure third. I haven’t a doubt that Sinn Fein have already prepared the statements claiming a victory regardless of his numbers or overall position. Actually winning the Presidency was never the point.
Mitchell, I am convinced will do much better then many are giving him credit for, but has no chance of actually winning. Mid teens would be the highest I would risk a prediction, the highest of the “also-rans”. His transfers will be the second big question of the day, whether they will go predominantly to coalition partner Higgins, or Gallagher.
Norris, already looking vaguely like an historical footnote in this election, would be doing well to break 10%.
Davis has fallen far, and I cannot credit her for little more then 5-8%.
Dana is the inevitable holder of the wooden spoon, I’m thinking something around 3%.
I’m going to plum for Coppinger in the by-election, a backlash that Labour would do well to not ignore.
On the two referendums, the debate that should have taken place only half materialised in the final week. While I am sure that the “No” vote has been growing steadily in that week, it won’t be enough. I would be surprised if either referendum failed to get less then a 70% “Yes” vote.
I’ll see you all tomorrow, though I warn that it is unlikely that much will be discussed for long periods. The Presidential count is not the General Election, and real news will be limited.