Two exit polls show Fine Gael support falling steeply

GE16 polling numbers are courtesy of exit polls by RTE and The Irish Times

Two exit polls show Fine Gael support falling steeply

26/2/2016 Voting in General Election. Members of the public write on their ballot papers in St. Joseph National School on the Navan Road, Cabra. (RollingNews.ie/Sasko Lazarov)

An exit poll published this morning by RTE shows Fine Gael and Labour well short of a majority, in line with last night's exit poll published by the Irish Times.

The poll puts Fine Gael support at 24.8%, down from 36.1% from the 2011 election. The Labour Party receives 7.1%, compared to 19.5% in 2011.

That means support for coalition has dropped from 55.6% in 2011 to 31.9%.

On the other hand, after a successful campaign from Fianna Fáil and their leader Micheal Martin, support for their party is to 21.1%, up from 17%.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin stands at 16%, up from 10%.

The poll shows one-third of voters chose independents or smaller parties.

Independent candidates receive 11% support; while the AAA-PBP stands at 4.7%, Social Democrats at 3.7%, Green Party at 3.6%, Independent Alliance at 3%, Renua at 2.4% and Others at 2.6%.

Turnout is estimated at over 60%, but down from the 70% turnout in 2011.

4,283 voters were quizzed at 225 polling centres in all 40 constituencies. The margin of error is 1.5%.

With a Fianna Fáil-Fine Gael coalition looking more likely than at any time since the foundation of the state, Michael Ring, Minister for Tourism and Sport, says he is open to a Fianna Fail - Fine Gael coalition. He spoke to Richard Chambers last night:

Ring also claimed Fine Gael were over trained for the election, and preparation since November had left them tired.

Last night's The Irish Times exit poll also show a poor performance by the coalition partners.

The poll shows that Fine Gael support has slumped from 26.1%, while the Labour Party has received 7.8%.

It puts support for the coalition at 33.9%.

Fianna Fáil rise to 22.9%, up from 17%. Their first preference votes in the last election stood at 17.4%.

Sinn Féin stands at 14.9%, up from 10%, and the AAA-PBP stands at 3.6%.

Others include the Greens at 3.5%, Social Democrats 2.8%, Renua 2.6%, others were 28.3%, up from 17%.

Party sources estimated that turnout is about 65%.

Due to the PR-STV system, it is very difficult to predict the number of seats that will fall for each party.

The exit poll was conducted exclusively on behalf of The Irish Times by Ipsos MRBI, among a national sample of 5,260 voters at 200 polling stations.

Anti Austerity Alliance TD for Dublin South West, Paul Murphy, says the Irish Times Poll indicates that there is space for something new to develop in the Dáil:

Speaking ahead of the tomorrow's count Sarah Bardon Political Reporter with the Irish Times says all eyes will be on Joan Burton: 

Former Director of Elections, Frank Flannery, joined Richard Chambers this evening to discuss the outcome of the exit poll. He said there will be a tough count ahead:

We will be keeping you up to date with all the latest on Newstalk.com/Election2016 and on @ElectionNT.