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Feb. 27, 2016, 8:24 a.m.
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general election adrian kavanagh fg ff maynooth university november fine gael


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"The Fine Gael numbers are much lower than what they have been in practically all the polls since November," said political scientist and Maynooth University lecturer Adrian Kavanagh.
"Fine Gael did lose some ground in the campaign but these numbers are coming in even lower than that."
At 24.8% in the RTÉ poll "Fine Gael is obviously lower than almost any poll done," added Michael Marsh, Emeritus Professor at Trinity College Dublin.
"For Fine Gael there will be mournful faces," he told Morning Ireland.
"They have lost a smaller share of the support than Labour," he said, referencing Labour's return of 7.1% in the poll. 
"Labour has lost almost two thirds of its support. Fine Gael has lost a third.
"It puts [Fine Gael] down at a level that with the exception of 2002 we haven't seen them at in recent years."
TCD Professor Michael Marsh gives his assessment of the RTÉ Exit Poll #GE16 pic.twitter.com/NK4KG8AgdM
But many of the other findings are "not far from what we’ve seen in the polls," he added. 
Fine Gael's worse-than-expected polling could yet benefit Labour, according to Mr Kavanagh where they could "take a Fine Gael seat" in later counts. 

With Fianna Fáil polling 21.1% in the exit poll, this election represents a "dramatic change" in the combined fortunes of the two traditionally dominant parties, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, Mr Kavanagh said. 
"I think this is possibly the first general election since the 1920s where the combined Fine Gael/Fianna Fáíl vote has come in well below 50%," he said.
David Farrell, Professor of Politics at University College Dublin said this means "some serious talking has to be done between the two party leaders.
"There has been some musings before the voting day about the possibility of a relationship between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáíl.
"Given the sort of closeness between those two parties now in terms of votes and their common history over a long period I think now is a time for some serious consideration of a possible coalition of the two parties."
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