A poll conducted by Trinity News indicates a likely victory for László Molnárfi in the race for Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) President with a significant margin.
The poll also shows a significant lead for Olivia Orr in the Ents race, though less decisive than Molnárfi’s. The share of votes to re-open nominations (RON) in multiple uncontested elections is noticeably higher than is usual, indicating a heightened interest in this option after last year saw the first ever return of a RON result in a TCDSU election.
Carried out between 21 and 25 February, the poll uses a representative sample of 509 students. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.0%.
In the presidential race, László Molnárfi leads overwhelmingly with 58.4% of first preference votes, a greater share than all other candidates combined, including the option to re-open nominations (RON). Incumbent Education Officer Zöe Cummins and outside candidate Tilly Schaaf are almost tied on 18.3% and 18% of the vote respectively, while 4.9% of first preferences went to RON.
A 4% margin of error indicates that Molnárfi’s true lead is somewhere between 36 and 44 percentage points. Though the proportion of undecided voters is not insignificant at 28.1%, it is the lowest in any race, and is unlikely to affect results significantly when voting opens on Tuesday.
The elimination and later reinstatement of Cummins on the ballot is likely to have hurt her electoral prospects – it is important to note that she was eliminated for the majority of the time the poll was live – but the data indicate that it is not Molnarfi, but Schaaf, who gained from this.
Among 146 responses (with a margin of error of 8%) submitted between the launch of the poll and the announcement that Cummins had been disqualified, Molnarfi gained 63.6% of first preferences, Cummins 26.2%, and Schaaf 9.3%. Schaaf’s subsequent 8-point rise likely came at the expense of Cummins’ 8-point drop, while Molnarfi’s share decreased rather than inflated.
With Cummins back on the ballot, it is possible that she will see a boost in numbers – however, a 45.2% plurality of Schaaf voters’ second preference currently go to Molnárfi, compared to only 16.1% for Cummins, indicating that Schaaf’s elimination would likely cement his win.
Polling at 80.6%, Deputy AHSS Convenor Catherine Arnold is set for a straightforward win in her uncontested bid for Education Officer, despite an unusually high RON vote at 19.4%. Arnold is slightly less popular among male voters, at 76.2% compared to 82.7% among women and 84.6% among non-binary voters, and is significantly less favoured by centre-right voters, among whom the RON vote is over 30%.
Though the proportion of undecided voters is relatively high at 45.83%, this is nothing unusual in polls on uncontested races, and Arnold can be quite confident of victory on Thursday.
Welfare & Equality
In the Welfare & Equality race, Aoife Bennett can be even more confident, receiving 91.1% of first preference votes, with just 8.9% being cast for RON. Bennett is particularly popular among female voters, receiving 96.2% of first preferences in this category, compared to a slightly lower 84.3% among men.
Though the comprehensiveness of Bennett’s manifesto has been criticised for failing to mention students’ with disabilities or ethnic minority students, her emphasis on period product provision, sexual health, and consent training have gained her favour among the essential female vote in her race. She appears likely to maintain continuity with previous Welfare & Equality Officers, unlikely to stray significantly from the path set by predecessors Chloe Staunton and Sierra Müller-Owens.
Communication & Marketing
Despite a minimal campaign, Aiesha Wong can be equally confident of victory as the sole candidate in her race, receiving 87.7% of first preferences. There is little differentiation among preferences across the board with voters, with Wong polling roughly equally across gender, faculty, and union experience.
Though she is a union-outsider Wong’s extensive comms-related experience puts her in a position to give the union a bold visual identity and comprehensive online presence.
In a relatively smooth Ents race, polling shows Trinity Ents veteran Olivia Orr leading significantly with 48.3%, matching the combined vote of both Hist Ents officer Sam Kelly and return challenger Nadia, who are exactly tied on 24.1%. With almost 30% of voters undecided there is still room for change; however, more than half of both rival candidates’ second preference votes go to Orr, indicating a near-certain third count victory for her, after the elimination of RON and one other candidate. Just 3.3% of voters intend to vote RON for Ents, the smallest in any race.
While Nadia polls evenly among men and women, female voters are almost 40% more likely to vote for Orr, with a 7% margin of error. Kelly interestingly polls almost 90% better among male voters than female, with a margin of error of 9%. Non-binary voters appear more likely to vote Nadia than any other candidate, though this sample is small and possibly not representative.
In a refreshingly uneventful race for Editor of the University Times (UT), sole candidate Clara Roche looks set for victory on the first count at 80.9% of first preference votes. Though also unusually high, the 19.1% RON vote is perhaps less surprising in this race than others, given the turbulence the paper has faced over the past 12 months.
Among a sample of 295 voters, male voters are more than twice as likely as female voters to vote to re-open nominations for UT Editor, though Roche’s vote breaks down fairly equally among all other voter categories. At 65.8%, voters are more decided than in any other uncontested race, indicating that it is being followed more closely than others.