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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: October 12, 2011 @ 2:05 pm

    Sean Gallagher tops ‘exit poll’

    Mary Minihan

    Just wanted to share this quick ‘exit poll’ that was taken after a presidential debate this morning.

    Six of the seven presidential candidates took part. Independent Senator David Norris had another commitment. After the debate, the audience was handed a ‘ballot card’ featuring pictures of the seven candidates and the question: “Following on from this morning’s Presidential Forum on Employment, which candidate is best poised to support job creation and address the issue of employment in Ireland?”

    Audience members were encouraged to rank each candidate from 1-7, “where 1 is the best”. The results were: Sean Gallagher (Ind) 62%; Michael D Higgins (Lab) 13%; Martin McGuinness (SF) 9%; Mary Davis (Ind) 8%; Gay Mitchell (FG) 6%; Dana Rosemary Scallon (Ind) 2%. Norris got zero, but then he hadn’t taken part. A total of 199 ballots were received.

    The event was hosted by Sigmar Recruitment in association with The Irish Times at the Royal College of Physicians on Kildare Street in Dublin from 7.30am (early start!). The audience was invited. I wrote up a quick report on the debate this morning, which you can see here http://bit.ly/p217U9

    When I tweeted the results (my handle is @minihanmary) I got some interesting responses, including:
    “Everywhere I go people are voting for him. He is a real player now and still has the first lady to unleash” (from @DenisCrowley)
    “I have a sinking feeling that he is actually going to win the bloody election.” (@Johnm2501)
    “Not altogether surprising in an audience made up almost entirely of business people” (@SeamusConboy)
    “A 199 is hardly representative Mary & much less considering the voter were already of a certain “way of thinking”" (@Whistlinpaddy)
    “Immigration imminent.” (@Niallofcork)

    What do you think?

    • Kynos says:

      I’d say it’s because Mr Gallagher looks like a combination of Rudy Giuliani Jack Welch and Declan Ganly that he’s getting such apparent affection. Saw him in the shopping centre in Maynooth there last week. I sped past when some of his handlers tried to talk to me (no point in wasting my time or theirs I’ve no vote in this ”Presidential” election) he looks quite different from his posters in real life. Suppose it’s just a trick of the light and moreover he wouldn’t be the only one in the line-up you could say that about.

    • Noel Rock says:

      A bias in the audience? Yes. But I wouldn’t have said he’d take any more than 40% of such an audience, all things considered.

      This is remarkable and, in light of a lot of things, he is becoming the “anti”candidate of choice among people in my age group… could be an interesting enough run in after all.

    • Peter says:

      This is such a non-issue. This is not the job of the president. The president will not be and will not be required to get involved in encouraging business or employment. That is a job for government.

      And in any case, are the other 6 really going to go out of their way to discourage business/employment? Of course not.

      Two candidates may put a couple of people off setting up business in the country due to ineptitude in one case and shady past in the other.

      Gallagher is campaigning for the wrong job and someone needs to get that message out there.

    • joe says:

      A vote for Gallagher is a vote for Fianna Fail, I sincerely hope our memories are not that short! This man was closely connected to Fianna Fail while they wreaked havoc on this country.

    • Jim Walsh says:

      So at a talk held by business people and attended by business people, the businessman got the most votes. Am I supposed to be surprised in some way by this?

    • Sile says:

      Really? are people really considering throwing Fianna Fail a lifeline? Cop on people, Sean Gallagher is coming from a Fianna Fail stock and surely, SURELY, we want someone as President who has an ethos that we want to admire and someone who is inspiring.

    • martin mcdermott jr says:

      I think Sean Gallagher is going to surprise a lot of the political establishment with how well he does in the final shake-up. I remember at the start of the campaign that your blogging colleague JIm Carroll tipped Gallagher to feature in the final running and I thought Carroll was mad – or madder than usual. Now, it looks a lot different. Gallagher has run a great campaign so far.

    • seamus buckley says:

      Sean Gallagher is the only choice. Do we really want any of the others representing us abroad? Didn’t think so.

    • keynote says:

      We really have the stupidest electorate in the world, about 12 months after FF has destroyed the country, bailed out their developer friends and left someone else to pick up the mess, we see a TV ‘personality’ and FF insider pretending to be an independent leap up the polls! AND he gets 60% of the vote at a business meeting, if these ‘brains’ are driving the country then we are truly stuffed. Glad I’m not at home, it would depress me!

    • keynote says:

      Looks like the country has fallen for another FF ‘stroke’

    • jaygee says:

      Very disappointing to think that the FF “business” candidate is becoming a possibility
      for people. I guess campaigners for Mr Higgins will have to roll up their sleeves to ensure
      the country is represented by someone who fits the role.

    • I wonder what the result would be if the debate was hosted by the Iona Institute or TASC some other such specific interest grouping? Gallagher has been doing better than people expected no doubt but that is as much to do with people not being keen on the others as they being keen on him.

    • David says:

      Most people I spoke to today want Sean Gallagher we all acknowledge mistakes but he respected the parameters of the debate

    • Michael says:

      Happy for Gallagher, he really has come into his own in the last couple of weeks. Surprised that Higgins is not slightly higher. I still Higgins will win but at least we Dana is not in with a chance. New allegations about her again.

    • Pat says:

      “This is such a non-issue. This is not the job of the president. The president will not be and will not be required to get involved in encouraging business or employment. That is a job for government.”

      Surely at this stage the business of job creation & business development is the role of all society whether its the president or the man on the dole. We need to look for opprotunities at every turn, what made us competetive was our work ethic , determination and resilience. like all of us expats, Ireland has to be in your heart not just your pocket

    • Mary Minihan says:

      Hi a poster called Cruton attached this remark to the Martin McGuinness blog post but I assume it was meant for this one: “Which candidate is best poised to support job creation and address the issue of employment in Ireland?” Sorry Mary, but maybe you havent noticed throughout your journalistic career that the president of Ireland has absolutely NO ROLE IN THE CREATION OF EMPLOYMENT OR ANY OTHER ECONOMIC FUNCTION RELATED TO THE IRISH STATE, THE IRISH ECONOMY OR IRISH BUSINESS ABROAD. Sorry for shouting but it seemed necessary to communicate this fact to you. The Irish presidency is a purely ceremonial role and therefore this “straw poll” is absolute nonsense as none of the canditates can support job creation or address the issue of unemployment if they were elected. I await a public apology for this idiotic post!

    • Jim Fitz says:

      Gallagher “beauty pageant” voters in the polls will not get out on the day. His strength so far is due to him being allowed by the other inept candidates to present two myths as truth – 1. The President can directly impact unemployment 2. He is not a a FF candidate (if he wins they will claim him again). Is Gay Mitchell the most likely beneficiary of a flight from Gallagher?

    • J. B. Barrett says:

      Having followed the Presidential campaign from the US, and the so called debates, the impression given by the comments here are surprising. The electorate seem to have little interest in the collapsed economy and the part which Fianna Fail played in the affair, and the subsequent lack of concern that Mr Gallagher is both a stalking horse for Fianna Fail, and carries no practical experience which could possibly qualify him for the post of President.

      The second factor which is misunderstood is the role of the President in the economic sphere, most particularly, as the primary ambassador for Ireland in the US. Following the high recognition factor and considerable success by the two previous Presidents, MS’s Robinson and McAleese, and their favorable ratings and access to the higher echelons of industry, it remains imperative that who ever is elected has high name recognition and is widely known. Only one candidate has those traits now and that is Martin McGuinness, who has been hugely successful in his capacity as a chief executive of Northern Ireland in attracting American industry to his area of responsibility. None of the other candidates have the slightest name recognition in the US and neither has any of them any familiarity with the business community here. Finally, in these difficult economic times on both sides of the Atlantic, which are bound to get a lot worse before recovering to what will become the future level of normality, the jobs issue and new industry will become central to the future of Ireland, and is in this election an area which the new President will be in a position to influence.

    • solenoid says:

      I don’t think this piece of polling data is drawn from a sufficiently representative group to be worth including on the irish times politics blog. In fact the actual question posed is also ridiculous, as pointed out by others, job creation is not the primary role of the president…

    • Niall says:

      You didn’t happen to take another exit poll on people’s voting intentions? Might be more instructive.

      In any event, I thinkmwe already knew that Gallagher is the IBEQ candidate, all the more reason not to vote for him.

    • aidan says:

      This is an opinion poll not an exit poll. An exit poll is a poll after exiting polling station, this is just what they intend to vote, very different

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