FIANNA FAIL are in a dogfight to keep a Dail seat in Donegal North East, a shock new poll has shown.
The first major poll taken for the forthcoming general election locally will appear in tomorrow’s Tirconaill Tribune newspaper.
The phone-poll which canvassed 800 voters over Thursday and Friday of last week shows Sinn Fein’s Padraig MacLochlainn being a runaway winner with 28% of the vote followed by Fine Gael’s Joe McHugh on 20%. Fine Gael’s Inishowen-based candidate John Ryan is on 9%.
Only Betty Holmes is polling any way well among the Independent group with 7% of the poll.
But the intriguing battle will be left to Labour’s Harte’s and Fianna Fail’s McConalogue who are both polling at 15% according to the poll.
Although not completely unexpected, the poll will no doubt sound alarm bells for Fianna Fail who had two TDs in Dr.James McDaid and Niall Blaney in the last Government.
According to Tirconaill Tribune editor and political commentator John McAteer, the transfer of surplus votes will tell the tale on who gets the third and final seat in Donegal North East.
McAteer stood over his poll and said a lot of time and hard work went into its findings.
“Last Thursday and Friday was entirely dedicated to taking these soundings from Donegal North East and 800 people across the constituency were contacted.
“Some of the findings were expected in both Padraig MacLochlainn and Joe McHugh rating highly in the poll.
“Some people might be a little surprised that MacLochlainn topped the poll but we are hearing that there is a strong sway away from Fianna Fail and this is going directly to Sinn Fein so that would explain that.
“Obviously the intriguing battle will be between Charlie McConalogue and Jimmy Harte for the third seat and there really is nothing between them.
“Both are polling around 15% of first preference votes and so it will all be down to the transfers and there are a lot of ways of looking at those.
“Some will argue that McConalogue will have a very strong support base across Inishowen while others will say that he will struggle in Letterkenny and Harte will gain there.
“It then all comes down to transfers and if people are voting for personality or party. Harte may claim that he will get the surplus from Sinn Fein because of Labour’s left-wing roots.
“It’s all up in the air at this stage but it’s going to be a gripping fight for that last seat,” he said.
COPYRIGHT: TIRCONAILL TRIBUNE