It’s been an interesting few days.
The latest polls would seem to indicate that Gallagher has not only maintained, but increased his lead. Combined with Dana leapfrogging Davis and Higgins losing votes, well, it’s enough to make me intensely distrustful of polls all over again.
I simply cannot accept with the amount of negative stories that have come out in the last week about Gallagher, that he could have actually increased his support.
Today saw the latest Presidential debate, an absolute farce of an event MC’d by none other than Charlie Bird, a journalist who has fallen greatly in my estimation. A complete waste of time from start to finish, the debate included David Norris interrupting everyone, accusing Gay Mitchell of being a bigot, and complaining about the positioning of pumpkins (seriously).
Meanwhile, McGuinness and Davis got f**k all time to actually talk, with Higgins getting the easy treatment. Bird asked ridiculous questions of the candidates, demanding one sentence answers to things like “How would you fix hospitals?” and getting annoyed when the answer wasn’t anything other than self flagellation.
The Angelus was a talking point for close to five minutes. Add in some stupid questions from thick audience members (“Don’t the candidates agree that we should disband the military?”), other obvious planted ones, and it all added up to a train wreck of programming.
The debates have been going in circles anyway. I suspect that a vote held tomorrow would be little different from the vote held Thursday. Just about everyone has made up their minds, I think.
Well, almost everyone because I haven’t. I have decided who I am giving preferences to (and who I am not) but not what order.
As has been pointed out by many, the 2011 Presidential Election is a contest being fought between a poor crop of candidates. For men, for many, it is a clear case of picking what we view as the best of a bad lot, as opposed to a candidate that we are genuinely excited about. Just taking them one at a time, from my own personal viewpoint:
Davis, I find to have to be far too shallow in terms of what she brings to the table (never shutting upo about the Special Olympics) and I am deeply sceptical of her history with the various boards that she has sat on. Dana is too religious, and too Euro-sceptical for my liking, not to mention her embarrassing behaviour at points. McGuinness is a former terrorist and a liar from a party I despise. Mitchell lacks substance and seems to be mostly bland soundbites. I share few of his political opinions and he has an unpleasant voting history. Higgins is too old and too condescending for the job in my view and I differ significantly from his foreign affairs views. Norris has far too much negativity attached to him, and I find the man to be a morally bankrupt slimeball. Gallagher has a past with Fianna Fail and shady business dealings that he has tried to either deflect or cover-up.
You see what I mean? Who to pick? Who shall I compromise my values on?
I have completely rejected the possibility of voting in any way for McGuinness, Dana and Norris, but have little idea how to rank the other four. I cannot bring myself to not vote, I have too much respect for the right to simply ignore it. I’ll have made my mind up by Wednesday anyway, when I’ll make my final declarations and predications.
Based on the numbers that are floating around right now, it would seem to me that Gallagher will win it after four or five counts, once Dana, Davis, Mitchell, Norris and possibly McGuinness are eliminated, in that order.
However, as stated, I don’t trust these polls. I would expect Gallagher to get something much closer to 30-33, to the benefit of Higgins while I also reject the notion that Mitchell is doomed to single figures. FG are simply too large for that to happen. Current prediction:
Transfers decide it, and in this scenario I find that it is the transfers of Mitchell that are the most important. Dana’s will go to him, and the other Independents. Davis’ will be pretty even to Norris, Higgins, Gallagher and McGuinness, in my estimation. Norris’ will go primarily to Higgins, then McGuinness. McGuinness’, at that point in the count, will go mostly to Higgins (over Gallagher, whom his supporters seem to hate more than Mitchell at this point).
That leaves Mitchell. Will his transfers go to the coalition partner, or Gallagher? Gallagher will need the lions share of them in order to get into the Aras but I do not think that they will go to him. FG will not put someone who is seen more and more as a de facto Fianna Fail candidate as their #2 when a safer option in the form of Higgins is available.
In that scenario, I see a final count, where Higgins has leapfrogged Gallgher into the lead thanks to those Mitchell transfers and with only McGuinness’ to give out going as:
As I said, it all depends on what Mitchell has to give out. If his vote is smaller then I’m estimating (more in line with the polls) then maybe Gallagher will have enough of a first preference to get himself to 50. Or maybe it will go to Higgins, making this all academic anyway.
It will be interesting to see what Gallagher and Higgins can do in the next few days to try and change this.
I am also disappointed to see the likelihood of a strong “Yes” vote to both of the referendums (yes, that is the correct plural, look it up) though it was good to see that Fine Gael actually had to come out and defend the amendments and actually put up posters and the like. I was worried that the votes would happen without a large part of the country even realising that they were taking place. Still time for a shock I suppose, but I seriously doubt it. Sigh.