A poll conducted by Trinity News has predicted the winners in each of the upcoming TCDSU Leadership Race elections. The poll of 1,010 students, carried out from Wednesday, February 17, to Friday, February 19, predicts that Kevin Keane and Laura Grady will win the President and Welfare races respectively, and that all uncontested candidates will also be elected.
The poll asked students to fill in a sample ballot for each race, and also gave the option of selecting “Don’t Know”. Factors such as gender, faculty, and year were also noted.
The election is calculated by “instant run-off” voting, where each voter assigns a preference to each candidate in a given race. All the first preference votes are counted, and the person with the lowest number is eliminated.
Their votes are then redistributed (or ‘transferred’) to the other candidates, based on the second preferences on their ballots. The winner of each race, is the person who gets more than 50% of the votes in this way.
“Those who identified as male gave Keane 32% of their votes, Mallon 26%, and Emmet 13%; those who identified as female gave Keane 38% of their votes, Mallon 22%, and Emmet 11%, and those who identified as other gave Keane 47%, Mallon 12% and Emmet 25%.”
Kevin Keane looks set to win the race for President, receiving 36% of first preferences of those polled. Bryan Mallon received 23%, Thomas Emmet received 13% and Re-Open Nominations (or RON), received 3%. However, given that 25% of students selected the ‘Don’t Know’ option, Mallon and Emmet will be banking on a large number of those students voting in their favour when they get to the ballot box.
Although Keane is more popular among Arts, Humanities, and Social Science (AHSS), and Engineering, Maths and Science (EMS) students, Mallon has a clear lead among Health Science (HS) students. Keane has 42% of the votes among Arts students compared to Mallon’s 21%, and 32% of the votes among Science students compared to Mallon’s 23%, yet Mallon has 36% of the vote of Health Science students, while Keane has 22%.
While Emmet has a respectable share of 16% among AHSS students, he received just 11% of first preferences among EMS students, and 3% of first preferences among HS students. The proportion of “Don’t Know”s is much lower among AHSS students (17%), than among EMS (31%) or HS (37%) students.
Differences also exist between genders and years. Those who identified as male gave Keane 32% of their votes, Mallon 26%, and Emmet 13%; those who identified as female gave Keane 38% of their votes, Mallon 22%, and Emmet 11%, and those who identified as other gave Keane 47%, Mallon 12% and Emmet 25%.
This illustrated stronger support for Keane and less support for Mallon among those who identified as female or other. The breakdown among year groups remained broadly similar, with voters favouring Keane above Mallon and Emmet. Second years split their preferences between Mallon and Keane, with both receiving 27% of the vote.
By excluding those who had yet to make up their mind, and by looking at how people voted for their second and third preferences, we can predict how the race is likely to play out. The poll suggests that Keane would receive 48% of first preference votes, to Mallon’s 31% and Emmet’s 17%, with RON receiving 4%.
The votes to RON would be distributed to the candidates pretty equally, pushing Keane up to 49%, just 1% away from the quota. After Emmet’s elimination, Keane would receive roughly 80% of the transfers, putting him on 63% to Mallon’s 37%, well over the quota for election.
“This contrasts starkly with Engineering, Maths and Science, who much prefer McClean and Cullen, giving them 21% and 20% of their votes respectively.”
Laura Grady has emerged as the clear frontrunner in the Welfare race, with 26% of voters giving her their first preference. Two candidates are tied closely for second, Damien McClean and Rachel Skelly, each with 15% of first preference votes. Following closely behind is Meabh Cullen with 12%, then Emma Purser with 8%, and finally RON with just 1% of first preference votes. However, with 22% of voters choosing the “Don’t Know” option, there’s still all to play for in this election.
Among Arts, Humanites, and Social Science students, Grady is well in the lead with 33% of the votes. She’s followed by Skelly with 20%, McClean with 12%, Purser with 10% and Cullen with 7%. This contrasts starkly with Engineering, Maths and Science, who much prefer McClean and Cullen, giving them 21% and 20% of their votes respectively.
They’re followed by Grady with 17%, Skelly with 10%, and Purser with 7%. Among Health Science students, Grady is most popular with 17%, while Cullen, Skelly and McClean are all very close on 13%, 12% and 11% respectively, and finally Purser on 6%. “Don’t Know”s were much higher among HS students, at 38%, than EMS student (24%), and AHSS students (17%).
Those who identified as “Male”, “Female” and “Other” had broadly similar voting patterns, with some notable exceptions. Cullen polled much higher among men, receiving 15% of votes, than women, from whom she received 10% of votes. On the other hand Grady polled higher among women, receiving 28% of female votes compared to the 22% of votes received from men.
Those who identified as “Other” gave McClean just 6% of first preferences, compared to the 16% and 15% he received from male and female voters respectively. Voters in this bracket gave Purser 35% of first preferences, compared to the 8% she received from both male and female students.
When it comes to calculating the final outcome of the election, it appears Grady will be the eventual winner. RON will be eliminated first with just 1% of votes, followed by Purser with 10%. Purser’s second preference votes will be split equally between Grady, Skelly, and McClean, with Cullen receiving much fewer transfers.
This means Cullen would be eliminated next, leaving Grady on 45%, and Skelly and McClean both on 27.5%. It’s too close to call who would be eliminated here, but whether it’s Skelly or McClean, transfers from either would be enough to push Grady over the 60% mark, winning the election.
” […] the same broad trend of Science students being more likely to answer “Don’t Know” than Arts students appears in all the uncontested races.”
Education is the first of four uncontested races this year, with Alice MacPherson the only candidate standing for election. Overall, 62% of students polled say they plan to give Alice their first preference vote, 9% said they will vote to Re-Open Nominations (RON) and 30% said they do not know how they will vote.
The lowest rate of “Don’t Know” answers was seen among Arts and Humanities students, with 21% saying they do not know who they plan to vote for, compared to 35% of Engineering Maths and Science (EMS) students and 48% of Health Students. This suggests that higher engagement with the elections occurs among Arts students than amongst Science students, especially since the same broad trend of Science students being more likely to answer “Don’t Know” than Arts students appears in all the uncontested races.
Alice is most popular with fourth year students, receiving 68% of first preference votes from this year group compared to an average of 59% of first preference votes among other year groups.
Communications and Marketing
“Communications and Marketing is the one where victory for the standing candidate seems most secure, with the highest rate of first preference votes (69.5%) and the lowest number of votes to Re-Open Nominations (6%).”
Úna Harty is the only candidate standing in this year’s Communications and Marketing race. Out of the fours uncontested races, Communications and Marketing is the one where victory for the standing candidate seems most secure, with the highest rate of first preference votes (69.5%) and the lowest number of votes to Re-Open Nominations (6%).
Despite Harty being a Nanoscience student, the Comms and Marketing race shows the same broad trend across faculties as the other uncontested races, with Arts and Humanities students giving Úna the highest rate of first preferences (78%) and the lowest rate of “Don’t Know” answers (16%), compared to substantially higher rate of “Don’t Know” answers and lower rates of first preferences among Engineering Maths and Science students (63% first preference, 30% “Don’t Know”) and especially Health science students (53% first preference, 43% “Don’t Know”).
The fact that Úna does a science course might suggest that she would have higher recognition than other candidates in the Hamilton, TBSI and other science areas, but the polling numbers don’t reflect this. Úna shows higher popularity among female students (74% first preference) compared to male students (63% first preference).
‘The group with the highest percentage of RON votes in this race was that of students who identified their gender as “Other”, with 29% of this group voting to re-open nominations compared to 53% voting Jonah as first preference.”
The Ents race is uncontested this year, with Jonah Craig as the candidate. He received 63.5% of first preference votes, against 11% of polled students voting to re-open nominations (RON). While this is the highest RON vote out of the uncontested races (slightly higher than in the University Times editor race, the second highest RON vote), it is still low enough that it is very unlikely nominations will actually be re-opened.
The group with the highest percentage of RON votes in this race was that of students who identified their gender as “Other”, with 29% of this group voting to re-open nominations compared to 53% voting Jonah as first preference. Year-wise, Jonah is most popular among third year students, with 68% of third years voting him first preference compared to an average of 61% first preference votes in other years.
As with most other races, Arts and Humanities students were more likely to answer either Jonah or RON, compared to Engineering, Science and Maths (EMS) students and Health Science students, who were more likely to say they did not know. 18% of Arts and Humanities students said they did not know who to vote for, compared to 30% of EMS students and 42% of Health Science students
For editor of the University Times, polling shows that 63% of polled students intend to vote for Dominic McGrath. Since the race is uncontested, Dominic’s only obstacle is getting more votes than the re-open nominations (RON) option, which 10% of those polled intend to cast their ballots for.
While Dominic looks likely to receive slightly more RON votes than the also uncontested candidates for Education and Communications, he still has little to worry about regarding this option based on the polling. The RON option mostly came from Arts and Humanities students (12.5%), whereas Engineering Maths and Science students were more likely to say they “Don’t Know” who they would vote for (32%), while a full 45% of Health science students polled replied “Don’t Know” about this race, as compared to 26% of polled students overall.
Dominic polled substantially better with female students than male students, with 67.5% of female students planning to vote him first preference as compared to 58% of male students.