Exit polls show coalition government not doing well in tallies

Election Day The sorting and counting of votes is underway across the country with voters set to give the coalition a hammering. Two exit polls show Fine Gael and Labour barely getting the support of a third of voters. Early indications are that a Fine Gael-Fianna Fáil coalition may be the only viable option. The exit polls for RTE and the Irish Times are broadly similar showing Fine Gael on 25 or 26% and Labour on 7 or 8%. There are significant gains for Fianna Fáil with the party coming a close second on 21 or 23%. Sinn Féin’s also made significant gains to 15 or 15%, while Independents and the smaller parties are also making significant gains. The RTE exit poll does show better second preferences for the Government parties, meaning they will get a seat bounce, but not enough to be considering forming a coalition. The first tallies are now emerging in the 40 constituencies, but with so few boxes opened a clearer picture on the winners and losers is another hour away. The fate of at least two party leaders is being closely watched – Labour’s Joan Burton and Renua’s Lucinda Creighton. The Tánasite has performed well in the early boxes opened in Dublin West, but most of those are from areas she would be popular in. In Dublin Bay South Creighton has a real battle on her hands as boxes opened so far showing Fianna Fáil’s Jim O’Callaghan doing better than expected.