Tánaiste Joan Burton questions accuracy of poll predicting she will lose her seat

Tánaiste Joan Burton questions accuracy of poll predicting she will lose her seat

By Juno McEnroe

Tánaiste and Labour leader Joan Burton says she faces a "challenge" getting elected but questioned the accuracy of a poll predicting she could lose her Dublin West seat in the election.

Putting on a brave face after the Millwared Browne poll put her fighting for a Dáil place in the four-seat constituency, Ms Burton also said she was looking forward to tonight's first televised leaders debate on TV3.

She said: "In relation to tonight's debate, I'm actually looking forward to it. I think it is important that voters and the people of Ireland get to hear the vision of each of the party leaders over the next five years."

Ms Burton though questioned the accuracy of the poll's prediction for Dublin West, which says her vote will be halved compared to the 2011 election.

"It is a smaller size sample [of people], therefore the margin of error is over 4%. Secondly, it indicates a very high number of undecided votes."

The Social Protection Minister said that she had said repeatedly that a lot of people would not make up their mind until very close to polling day, as had been evident in shock results in the US and British elections.

The poll found that outgoing Health Minister Leo Varadkar looks set to top the poll with 20%, holding the lead position jointly with Sinn Féin's Paul Donnelly.

Fianna Fáil's resurgent support also looks set to put their candidate, Jack Chambers, in the Dáil, who will finally take back the seat formerly held by the late finance minister Brian Lenihan. Chambers, the poll claims, is on 17%.

Ms Burton admitted that, just like Brian Lenihan in 2011, she now faces a similar challenge to hold her seat in Dublin West.

Ms Burton's problem lies in the fact that voters polled put her fighting with an outside chance for the fourth and final seat with AAA-PBP candidate Ruth Coppinger in Dublin West.

Ruth Coppinger
Ruth Coppinger

However, it claims that Coppinger, boosted by the retirement of Joe Higgins here, is currently 5% ahead of the Tánaiste in the race for the fourth seat.

Burton, the Millward Browne poll says, is trailing at just 10%-half of what the popular TD had achieved during the 2011 general election.

Ms Burton lost her seat before in 1997 but has been a solid performer ever since in general elections.

A key to her retaining her seat will be transfers, which are likely to come from Mr Varadkar, as well as whether she can gain support on the Navan Road and Cabra, transferred under boundary changes into the constituency.

If the Labour leader were to lose her seat, the result could be one of the biggest political casualties of election 2016.

Voters have gone to the poll here on three occasions over the last five years.

More on this topic

Water charges 'will be collected'; Joan Burton expected to step down as Labour leaderWater charges 'will be collected'; Joan Burton expected to step down as Labour leader

Independent Alliance say FG will have to agree to 'radical proposals' for a govt by ThursdayIndependent Alliance say FG will have to agree to 'radical proposals' for a govt by Thursday

Talks with Independent Alliance could delay govt formation; SF says FF have 'lost credibility'Talks with Independent Alliance could delay govt formation; SF says FF have 'lost credibility'

Leo Varadkar's govt formation comments 'misleading and self-serving', says Michael McGrathLeo Varadkar's govt formation comments 'misleading and self-serving', says Michael McGrath


More in this Section

Missing woman forest search finds ‘nothing of significance’Missing woman forest search finds ‘nothing of significance’

Lunney family endured ‘week from hell’ after Quinn executive abducted and attackedLunney family endured ‘week from hell’ after Quinn executive abducted and attacked

Gardaí seek help locating two girls, 12 and 13, missing from DublinGardaí seek help locating two girls, 12 and 13, missing from Dublin

Woman airlifted to hospital after slipping at Howth HeadWoman airlifted to hospital after slipping at Howth Head


Lifestyle

Against popular wisdom and flying a plane made from bamboo, wire and bike handlebars, a Co Antrim woman blazed a sky trail for aviation and for the independence of women, writes Bette BrowneMagnificent Lilian Bland blazed a trail for independence of women in her plane of bamboo

The epic battle for the bridge at Arnhem, as depicted in the blockbuster 'A Bridge Too Far', saw the Allies aim to end the war by Christmas 1944, but failed as a huge airborne assault force failed to take the last bridge across the Rhine. In an extract from his latest book 'A Bloody Week', Dan Harvey tells the story of one of the hundreds of brave men from Ireland who gave their all to the Allied campaignThe bridge to war: Dan Harvey's new book looks at the Irish who went a bridge too far

More From The Irish Examiner