The fate of 2007’s poll toppers

Adrian Kavanagh, 8th March 2011

In a previous post, I outlined the candidates who topped the polls in their constituencies in the 2007 General Election and queried what their fate would be in the 2011 contest. This post will outline what happened these candidates in this election. The following two tables shows how each of 2007’s poll toppers, or rather those who contested the 2011 election, fared in their respective constituencies.

2007 2011
Carlow-Kilkenny
McGuinness, John FF 11,635 9,531
Cavan-Monaghan Smith, Brendan FF 15,548 9,702
Clare Dooley, Timmy FF 10,791 6,789
Cork East Ahern, Michael FF 10,350 4,618
Cork North Central Kelleher, Billy FF 9,456 7,896
Cork North West Moynihan, Michael FF 10,146 8,845
Cork South Central Martin, Michael FF 11,226 10,715
Cork South West O’Sullivan, Christy FF 10,333 4,803
Donegal North East McHugh, Joe FG 8,711 7,330
Donegal South West Coughlan, Mary FF 10,530 4,956
Dublin Central Ahern, Bertie FF 12,734
Dublin Mid West Curran, John FF 8,650 5,043
Dublin North Kennedy, Michael FF 10,880 3,519
Dublin North Central Bruton, Richard FG 9,303 9,685
Dublin North East Woods, Michael FF 7,003
Dublin North West Ahern, Noel FF 7,913
Dublin South Brennan, Seamus FF 13,373
Dublin South Central Ardagh, Sean FF 8,286
Dublin South East Andrews, Chris FF 6,600 3,922
Dublin South West Lenihan, Conor FF 8,542 2,341
Dublin West Lenihan, Brian FF 11,125 6,421
Dun Laoghaire Hanafin, Mary FF 11,884 5,090
Galway East Kitt, Michael FF 8,796 6,585
Galway West O’Cuiv, Eamonn FF 9,645 7,441
Kerry North-W Limerick Deenihan, Jimmy FG 12,697 12,304
Kerry South O’Donoghue, John FF 9,128 5,917
Kildare North Brady, Aine FF 11,245 4,777
Kildare South O’Feaghaill, Sean FF 8,731 4,514
Laois-Offaly Cowen, Brian FF 19,102
Limerick City O’Dea, Willie FF 19,082 6,596
Limerick Collins, Niall FF 10,396 9,361
Longford-Westmeath Penrose, Willie LB 9,692 11,406
Louth Kirk, Seamus FF 10,190
Mayo Kenny, Enda FG 14,717 17,472
Meath East Wallace, Mary FF 10,901
Meath West Dempsey, Noel FF 12,006
Roscommon-S Leitrim Finneran, Michael FF 9,982
Sligo-North Leitrim Scanlon, Eamonn FF 9,258 5,075
Tipperary North Lowry, Michael IND 12,919 14,104
Tipperary South Hayes, Tom FG 8,200 8,896
Waterford Cullen, Martin FF 11,438
Wexford Browne, John FF 12,768 7,352
Wicklow Roche, Dick FF 10,246 3,891
Change (%) Comment
Carlow-Kilkenny
McGuinness, John FF -18% 2nd elected
Cavan-Monaghan Smith, Brendan FF -38% 2nd elected
Clare Dooley, Timmy FF -37% 4th elected
Cork East Ahern, Michael FF -55% Loss
Cork North Central Kelleher, Billy FF -16% 3rd elected
Cork North West Moynihan, Michael FF -13% 2nd elected
Cork South Central Martin, Michael FF -5% Poll topper
Cork South West O’Sullivan, Christy FF -54% Loss
Donegal North East McHugh, Joe FG -16% 2nd elected
Donegal South West Coughlan, Mary FF -53% Loss
Dublin Central Ahern, Bertie FF Did not contest
Dublin Mid West Curran, John FF -42% Loss
Dublin North Kennedy, Michael FF -68% Loss
Dublin North Central Bruton, Richard FG +4% Poll topper
Dublin North East Woods, Michael FF Did not contest
Dublin North West Ahern, Noel FF Did not contest
Dublin South Brennan, Seamus FF Deceased
Dublin South Central Ardagh, Sean FF Did not contest
Dublin South East Andrews, Chris FF -41% Loss
Dublin South West Lenihan, Conor FF -73% Loss
Dublin West Lenihan, Brian FF -42% 4th elected
Dun Laoghaire Hanafin, Mary FF -57% Loss
Galway East Kitt, Michael FF -25% 1st elected
Galway West O’Cuiv, Eamonn FF -23% 1st elected
Kerry North-W Limerick Deenihan, Jimmy FG -3% Poll topper
Kerry South O’Donoghue, John FF -35% Loss
Kildare North Brady, Aine FF -58% Loss
Kildare South O’Feaghaill, Sean FF -48% 3rd elected
Laois-Offaly Cowen, Brian FF Did not contest
Limerick City O’Dea, Willie FF -65% 3rd elected
Limerick Collins, Niall FF -10% Poll topper, 3rd elected
Longford-Westmeath Penrose, Willie LB +18% Poll topper
Louth Kirk, Seamus FF Ceann Comhairle
Mayo Kenny, Enda FG +19% Poll topper
Meath East Wallace, Mary FF Did not contest
Meath West Dempsey, Noel FF Did not contest
Roscommon-S Leitrim Finneran, Michael FF Did not contest
Sligo-North Leitrim Scanlon, Eamonn FF -45% Loss
Tipperary North Lowry, Michael IND +9% Poll topper
Tipperary South Hayes, Tom FG +8% Poll topper – 2nd elected
Waterford Cullen, Martin FF Did not contest
Wexford Browne, John FF -42% 3rd elected
Wicklow Roche, Dick FF -62% Loss (10th place)

In all, only 8 of those who topped the poll in 2007 managed to repeat that feat in the 2011 election. This amounted to Fianna Fail leader, Micheal Martin and his Limerick-based party colleague, Niall Collins (who was subsequently the last person to be elected in that constituency) – the only 2007 Fianna Fail poll topper to manage to repeat their 2007 poll topping performance – and the six non-Fianna Fail poll toppers from 2007. Of the remaining 36 poll toppers from 2007 – all of whom were Fianna Fail candidates – 10 did not contest this election (including the late Seamus Brennan who passed away in 2008), 12 lost their seats and one, Seamus Kirk, was automatically re-elected by virtue of holding the post of Ceann Comhairle.

The most successful of 2007’s poll toppers was Enda Kenny, who managed to improve on his 2007 vote tally by 19% in the 2011 contest, followed closely by Labour’s Longford-Westmeath deputy, Willie Penrose, who improved on his 2007 number of votes by 18%. Only three other 2007 poll toppers improved on their number of votes in this election -Michael Lowry, Tom Hayes and Richard Bruton – although the drop in Jimmy Deenihan and Joe McHugh’s number of votes can be explained by these candidates having taken on running mates in the 2011 contest whereas they had been the only Fine Gael candidates in their constituency in 2007.

The least successful of the 2007 poll toppers was Conor Lenihan, whose number of votes fell by 73%, and Dick Roche, who was in 10th place when he was eliminated during the Wicklow count. The percentage loss in Roche support relative to 2007 was 62%, which was actually smaller than that experienced by Michael Kennedy (68%) in Dublin North and even Willie O’Dea (65%) in Limerick City; the extent of both these candidates’ loss of votes was related in part to boundary changes affecting their respective constituencies. O’Dea did manage to hold his seat in Limerick City, reflecting the huge personal vote he had won in 2007.

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About Adrian Kavanagh

Lecturer in Maynooth University Department of Geography.
This entry was posted in Candidates, Election data, Poll toppers. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The fate of 2007’s poll toppers

  1. theraggedwagon says:

    Dick Roche had a loss of 62%! and even Michael Martin suffered a drop – dark days for Fianna Fail

  2. Garret says:

    Michael Creed (FG) and not Michael Moynihan (FF) topped the poll in Cork North West in 2007 (and again in 2011).

  3. Pingback: What fate lies in store for the 2009 Local Elections poll toppers? | Irish Elections: Geography, Facts and Analyses

  4. Pingback: Poll Toppers at the 2014 Local (City and County Council) Elections | Irish Elections: Geography, Facts and Analyses

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