RTÉ Presidential Election Exit Poll – Full Analysis

Published by: Richard Colwell


RED C are delighted to have completed our first exit poll successfully.  The Presidential Election Exit Poll, commissioned by RTÉ and conducted by RED C, had two key requirements.

  1. Provide a measure of voter behaviour at the polling booth, to predict the result of the Presidential election, immediately polling closed at 10pm on election day.
  2. Provide analysis and understanding of why people voted as they did, to deliver interest and content for broadcasting on the day of the count.

The poll achieved both of these requirements, and we would like to thank all staff, interviewers and voters who contributed and helped us to complete this difficult task on the Friday of a Bank Holiday weekend, with turnout at very low levels.

As pre-election polls had also predicted, the Exit Polls showed the incumbent Michael D. Higgins was to be re-elected with a very large majority on the first count

While the Exit Poll also provided strong evidence of the surge in Peter Casey’s vote, by predicting a 21% first preference share.  It is clear from the fact that both Exit Polls completed on the day underestimated the Peter Casey vote by similar amounts of around 2%, that a small “shy voter”  effect was probably at play.  All pre-Election polling was completed before the surge in coverage for Mr.Casey, following his comments in relation to the Traveler community.

Peter Casey’s vote was seen to be stronger among men, those in older 45+ age groups, and those in the farming community.  The main reasons for voting for Mr Casey were seen to be his stance on political and social issues, and his ability to stand up for ordinary people.

In contrast President Higgins voters were seen to come from all demographic groups, but in particular younger voters, women and those in more wealthy social backgrounds.  The main reason voters gave Michael D. Higgins their first preference vote was his track record, his ability to represent Ireland abroad and his knowledge of the constitutional role of the President.

The average deviation between the poll prediction on this Exit Poll was just 1.1%, while the largest error seen was 2.6% in underestimation of the Peter Casey vote.

Download the full report below.

296718 – RTE – Exit Poll – Oct 2018 Final Report