The current Welfare officer, Ruairí Power, is expected to win this year’s UCDSU Presidential race by a wide margin, according to a poll run by the College Tribune. Power sits comfortably ahead of fellow candidates who will be disappointed if the polling numbers are replicated when actual voting is completed.
Elsewhere, in the other remaining races, all of which are uncontested, every candidate sits ahead of the Re-open Nominations option. However, the poll has some candidates too close for comfort, particularly incumbent Entertainment officer Sarah Michalek, who is running for a second term.
Despite being the only contested race this year, the presidential election looks set to be a landslide according to our poll. Ruairí Power holds a commanding lead with 76% of respondents saying he would get their first preference vote. The other two candidates Edward Leonard and Liam Coyle received a disappointing 10.25% and 4.25% of the respondent’s votes, respectively. A not insignificant 9.5% selected the Re-open Nominations (RoN) option.
The poll will give Power’s campaign a huge boost in confidence, however, as is often the case with front runners, getting supporters motivated to go out and vote is always the key battle. Our poll is certainly not perfect and major swings are to be expected by the time official results are confirmed. Our surveys relied on volunteer feedback posted to social media which may not be fully representative of all eligible voters. While former executive officers often face criticism for their lack of action and failed promises, voters are clearly pleased with Power’s performance as Welfare officer.
Edward Leonard would be hoping to be far closer to Power come Friday. Leonard is an experienced candidate having served twice as a class rep and also as the law college officer. Perhaps he has been unfortunate to be up against such a strong candidate in Power, but he will also be disappointed to be only over the RoN vote by less than one percentage point.
An early campaign suspension and turbulent pre-election run-up has left Liam Coyle on a pitiful 4.25% of respondents first preference votes. As an SU outsider with several criticisms of the organisation for which he is running, Coyle’s candidacy was a major unknown in the presidential race. However, if our poll is replicated at the ballot box this week, Coyle is set for an embarrassing slap down by voters. Over twice as many respondents selected the RoN option rather than picking Coyle, not somewhere you want to be in the final week of the campaign.
Uncontested Sabbatical Races
While the remaining executive positions have just one candidate each, the Re-open Nominations option is on the ballot and would result in a by-election if selected by a majority of voters. The sole Welfare candidate, Molly Greenough, had the most comfortable lead over RoN than any other. Her vote tally came to 79% in the poll putting her in a commanding position. Also, Education candidate Aoife Bracken can be satisfied with her 76% polling. Both Greenough and Bracken will have to continue to campaign hard to ensure they are not dragged into a battle with RoN.
Elsewhere, Campaigns and Engagement candidate Darryl Horan holds a decent 71% position. While he is not up at the polling levels of Greenough and Bracken, Horan will take some confidence from the result. Complacency ahead of the vote tomorrow would appear to be the main obstacle for these executive candidates.
Perhaps most strikingly from our polling is the worrying position for Sarah Michalek. The current Entertainment officer is hoping for another, more effective year than the fully remote one we are currently in. Respondents, however, do show a not insignificant level of dissatisfaction with her current performance in the role. Of all uncontested races, Michalek is most in danger of RoN, as she sits on just 60% compared to 40%. It is difficult to know where the final results will be, many voters less responsive to polls may demonstrate more dissatisfaction with incumbent executive members when they do select their option in the virtual ballot box. While this is only a poll, it will be a big cause of concern for the Michalek campaign on the eve of voting.
The final race, for Graduate officer, is only open to students undertaking a postgraduate degree, higher diploma, or graduate diploma programme in UCD. Therefore, building a reliable polling base is more difficult, and should be factored in when analysing these polls. Our results give sole, incumbent candidate Carla Gummerson a 64% tally compared to 36% for RoN. While this result comes with a large note of caution, the small sample we have does not put Gummerson in an entirely comfortable position and she will be keeping a close eye on the Entertainment race to see how incumbent candidates fare against the electorate the second time around.
As previously mentioned, our polling is just a survey of a small number of the total eligible voters in the UCDSU election. More importantly for candidates, there still remains time for campaigning. In what is expected to be an election of low turnout, every vote counts and no one can take their electoral success for granted.
Conor Paterson – Features Editor
Graphics: Hugh Dooley – News Editor