Clusterf**k To The Aras: Live Count

1200: Hi.

1202: So, straight into it. All the exit polls indicate one thing: Michael D. Higgins will be the next President of Ireland. Not only has he cut Gallagher’s lead, he has surpassed him in 9 out of every 10 tallies. That means the race is over, the only real question being how many counts it will take.

1205: Gallagher’s vote has collapsed in a bad way, going mostly to Higgins it would appear. McGuinness looks closer to me predictions, with the rest lagging badly behind. The transfers of Dana, Davis and Norris should be enough to end the count, if not, Mitchell’s will.

David Norrs has already conceded and elements of the McG campaign have done the same. It really is over. No word from any other camp though.

1208: In other news, it is between Nulty and Coppinger in the by-election, with McGuinness hovering behind them. Preliminary tallies indicate that the Judges Pay referendum will pass,

but it is far more difficult to tell in the others.

1213: Briefly, on all the candidates:

MDH is doing well generally, breaching 50% in many places, parts of Dublin, Limerick, etc.

Gallagher’s poll numbers have dropped sharpish. Only in Cork areas is he leading clearly.

McGuinness leads in parts of Ulster, stunningly, but is lagging behind the other candidates everywhere else.

Mitchell is trailing in his supposed strongholds like Dublin, but is stronger in rural aras, fluctuating wildly between single and double figures.

Norris is doing acceptably well in Dublin, but is in the election now only to fight for fourth.

Davis is doing quite badly and will claim back no expenses.

Dana is just going to have to accept the “reality on the ground” now.

1219: MDH is over 60% in Galway West. He’s cruising home.

The interesting questions now are how Gallagher and McGuinness will end the race in relation to each other and the Norris/Mitchell battle.

It would seem that the Frontline debate floored Gallagher. His numbers have just finished. Ironically, if these numbers could have been seen via time travel at the start of the campaign, I’m sure he would have been delighted. As it is, despite a great showing on the face of it, he must be dissapointed.

1233: Higgins is even winning in Gallagher’s home county. Good lord.

If this shows anything, it is that negative campaigning can scupper the target, but it cannot win an election for the attacker.

1238: Higgins is the winner, McGuinness the other candidate who will take away a positive feeling. Gallagher is in some sort of limbo. Big losers are Mitchell and Norris.

First count expected around six.

1243: Some interesting RedC poll numbers from RTE, indicating pretty heavily that Gallagher lost this election in the final stretch.

1245: So many changed their votes following that Frontline debate. Gallagher was even leading in the postal vote before the proper count began. Is it a case where Higgins won the election, or that Gallagher lost it?

1249: Higgins has now pulled ahead in the Cork tallies and is even leading in parts of Ulster. Cavan-Monaghan has Gallagher and McGuinness neck and neck for second place.

1250: In answer to my previous, I think that Gallagher’s failures have had a bigger part to play then Higgins’ successes. The Labour man would not have won this election a week ago.

1257: Higgins is way ahead in Donegal now. Wondering what the story is there, would have given that county as a dead cert for McGuinness.

RTE reported that McGuinness had a substantial number of #1 vote ballot papers, where no one voted for anyone else. That’s his problem. That core of support is there, but he is toxic for transfers.

13.15: New stuff to report is all the same, Higgins leading, Gallagher in second. I note that only one of the other six candidates has really conceded – Norris – the others steal staying quiet.

The inquest on the Mitchell campaign is bound to be a hoot anyway. The party bombed hard on that choice. Must be seen as some bit of a vindication for Kenny, who clearly never favoured him.

1320: New prediction! Higgins in two counts, as some tallying suggests he’ll get over 40% of first prefs, and 71% of transfers.

1327: Gallagher leads in only two constituencies, Laois-Offaly and Donegal South-West. Higgins should be confirmed as the next President sometime after midnight.

1330: On the referendums: reports indicate a tight contest on the Oireachtas Commitees question. I’m somewhat sceptical since actual tallying won’t start until tomorrow, but a smidgen of hope that at least one of these awful amendments can be defeated has started within me.

1348: McGuinness doing suprisingly poorly in parts of Dublin, and also in parts of Ulster. Not surprised to see his crappy Limerick numbers one bit.

1357: Oh, and while I have been predicting a better result for Mitchell then expected, it has still been a car crash of a campaign for them. Questions to be answered. Why was he picked? Why so lacklustre a campaign? Did FG genuinely not care?

1402: A Labour victory in the by-election would be a stunningly good result for them, the first sitting government win in such a contest in over 25 years.

1404: Labour has been on a bit of a morale dip since the General Election so this just the kick they need. They really need to run with this momentum. Perhaps, as Gerard Cunningham put it on Twitter “If Labour had smarts, they’d now redefine their role in government as opposition in residence”.

1447: Not much new more to say at this point, as we await the first count. It still looks very likely that Nulty will take the seat in the by-election for Labour. That will bring them up to 38 seats in the Dail, giving the coalition government 112 official TD’s (and one other who lost the Party Whip and the Ceann Comhairle, so 114 really.)

1458: Gay Mitchell has received only around 12% in his home constituency where he lies fourth.

 1521: Seems that Higgins is now likely to get something around 40%. Maybe three counts will be required.

1524: Phil Hogan is living in a fantasy land if he doesn’t think that this result is a disaster for Fine Gael.

1526: Certainly looking much worse for Mitchell as we go along. Many tallies now indicate he will not breach the double figures mark.

1529: The first count for the Aras race has had its ETA pushed back to between 7 and 8PM. The Dublin West by-election will be up sooner.

1532: There are 13 candidates in the Dublin West by-election, with six Independents. In reality, only three of those candidates, Labours Patrick Nultry, Fianna Fail’s David McGuinness and Socialist Ruth Coppinger are really worth taking about.

Nulty will have the lead after the first count, and is expected to be very transfer friendly. However, plenty of counts are to be expected there.

1535: That by-election includes Fis Nua candidate Peader O Ceallaigh, who holds the record for the least amount of votes of any candidate – 18 – in the General Election.

1537: Dublin Mid-West has come back with the first complete constituency count. Higgins way out in front at 40, followed by Gallagher on 22, then McGuinness, Norris, Mitchell, et al. Story of the day.

1541: The Green party will be delighted to be up significantly in Dublin West from their GE numbers. Thier candidate, Roderic O’Gorman, got 605 in February, but stands to gain a good bit more then that this time. Recovery, of a sort.

1542: Dublin South-West is back, nearly the exact same story as Mid West.

1544: Mitchell is having a catastrophic Dublin performance, exposing a lie in the reasons FG choose him. They claimed he would be a good vote getter in the capital. This was, at best, misinformed, at worst, a lie.

1546: Apparently, Fianna Fail supporters were chanting “We’re back!” at the Dublin West count earlier. Like SF with the Presidential race, I suspect they will be trying to turn a real defeat into a “sort-of” victory. More analysis on that kind of PR spin to come soon.

1548: Speak of the devil: Pearse Doherty is already doing exactly that on RTE right now. “A sort-of” victory claim.

1553: On Mary Davis: She spent an awful amount of money to get a really terrible amount of votes. Her campaign started well then just crumbled once the negative stories came out. I would have given her a first preference a month ago, but today she is nowhere.

1555: I mean, she’s struggling to avoid last spot. She’s neck and neck with Dana.

1612: I’m seeing plenty of FG members scratching their heads on Twitter. Not sure why. Wrong candidate, bad campaign.

1614: I mean, Higgins is even going to mop up in Mayo, which, based on the GE, is the bluest of the blue.

1630: First count due shortly in Dublin West.

1638: Result from Dublin West:

Coppinger – 7542

Loftus – 5263

McGuinness – 7742

Nulty – 8865

Nulty will have it. Most of the Independents have been eliminated in the first count.

1640: The Greens have more than doubled their vote in Dublin West since the General Election.

1643: Sinn Fein have also added a sizable number of votes to their Dublin West figures from earlier in the year.


1645: Even Peader O Ceallaigh has more than doubled his vote, to 43.

1650: It occurs that Fianna Fail now have, most certainly, no TDs in Dublin at all. Only party candidates, one from each, remain in the running in Dublin West, but it all just a formality really.

1653: With five constituencies reporting in, MDH has 45% of the vote, Gallagher has 22, McGuinness on 11. Mathematically possible for him to win in two counts, but it will probably take three.

1655: Sean Gallagher has conceded.

1656: Higgins has breached 100’000 votes.

At this point, Dana and Davis will not be able to claim back expenses. Mitchell likely to be in that boat too. Norris is touch and go.

1659: McGuinness is doing really badly in parts of Dublin, the south, Dun Laoghaire.

If its any consolation to Mitchell, he has a large amount of #2’s from Higgins’ voters. The coalition sticks together, clearly.

1702: After over 20 years of female Presidents, the Aras will be occupied by a man. Both female candidates did awful and will be placed sixth and seventh. Truthfully though, I don’t think gender had anything to do with it.

1704: I think just about everyone has conceded, either personally or through party.

1705: This is the end of the notable parts of Norris’, Mitchell’s and Dana’s political careers. Davis never even got started really.

1817: It will go to two more counts, but Nulty is still ahead by a fair bit.

1822: Judges Pay referendum is going to pass easily, but all of the indications so far indicate that the other amendment is likely to go down to the wire. Here’s hoping. Considering that I was certain both would pass easily, I would be delighted if even one of these atrocities failed.

1825: Watching replays of campaign coverage, I for one will be very happy to no longer have to listen to David “Shouty Shouty” Norris.

1828: Higgins will breach 300’000 votes shortly. More than half of the constituencies yet to report.

1831: Gay Mitchell has conceded. Awful day for him and Fine Gael. In the end, even I badly overestimated his numbers. Many questions for FG to answer.

1840: McGuinness has conceded. Higgins must be sick of all the phone calls at this stage.

I haven’t heard anything from Davis or Dana yet.

1843: Limerick City gives Higgins nearly 50% of the vote. Gallagher on 22. The diehards in Quinliven’s area gave McGuinness 12. Despite two FG TD’s, Mitchell walked away with just 5. Is Limerick red now?

1844: Davis has also conceded. I think only Dana remains to face the truth. Maybe she is expecting some divine intervention.

1849: Around three and a half thousand votes separate Norris and Mitchell as well as Dana and Davis. 19 counts still to come.

1908: Dana concedes. No statement from Higgins yet.

1955: Dublin West going for a recount due to a tight margin between David McGuinness and Coppinger. Nulty still comfortable.

2004: Dana has overtaken Davis with just four places left to report. Seems likely Davis will be the first to be eliminated now. Mitchell has also finally overtaken Norris, after spending most of the day cutting his early lead.

2013: First count due in the next hour.

2044: In Cavan-Monaghan, Gallagher blows Higgins away, with McGuinness actually

beating the Labour man to second. A rare exception.

2051: The way things are, both Davis and Dana could be eliminated at the same time, since neither would be able to catch Norris with all of the others transfers.

McGuinness on RTE, talking nonsense. We “in the south” have a lot to learn about peace-making Martin? I must have missed the war down here.

2053: Higgins arrives at Dublin Castle to take plaudits. Gallagher shortly behind.

2055: It’s Higgins, Gallagher, McGuinness, Mitchell, Norris, Dana and Davis. Dana and Davis will be gone first, then probably Norris.

Labour have done something great here, but they have little time to make good on the momentum. Budget in little more than a month after all.

2057: While the Judges pay referendum is passing with ease, more and more indications that the other will not.

2107: Very shortly now…


Higgins – 710’101

Gallagher – 504’964

McGuinness – 243’030

Mitchell – 113’321

Norris – 109’469

Dana – 51’220

Davis – 48’667 

2118: So, huge, record breaking numbers for Higgins. He’ll take it in two counts.

Gallagher slump is terrible. My prediction has been totally reversed and mangled.

McGuinness will not be able to overtake Gallagher. Third for him, and the “sort-of” victory claims are loud and clear from Sinn Fein.

Mitchell had had a very, very bad night. Fine Gael were stupid to pick him, as I made clear at the start of the campaign.

Norris had a car-crash of a campaign, and this humiliation is the result.

Dana could just about scrape it together to avoid last spot.

Davis, the nights big loser.

So, the 100’000 or so transfers of Dana and Davis to sort out. A good percentage will go to Higgins, getting him closer to the line, with Norris and Mitchell getting the rest due to their Independent status in the case of the Senator, and religious leanings in the case of the MEP.

2120: Higgins has 175’000 votes to make up in order to reach quota.

2126: Bit of a wait now as the counting centres start giving out the 2.5 and 2.7% of Davis and Dana. It can’t win it for Higgins, but it could, theoretically, push Norris ahead of Mitchell.

2245: A few counts have already redistributed the votes of Davis and Dana. Higgins and Gallagher are getting the most, then Mitchell, with the rest fairly even between McGuinness and Norris. Should be enough to see Mitchell into fourth.

2310: Well, that’s it for me, the next count not due for a while and work in the morning. More analysis and commentary to come tomorrow evening, but it seems obvious now that Higgins well be elected following the redistribution of David Norris’ vote in a third count. Goodnight and congratulations to President-Elect Michael D. Higgins.

This entry was posted in Clusterf**k To The Aras, Ireland, Politics, Presidential Election 2011 and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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