With all first counts completed, the RTE/Lansdowne Market Research poll, which was first broadcast on Morning Ireland this morning, was extremely close to the final first preference total.
The first preference results, with the Exit Poll figures in brackets, were as follows:
FF 41.6 (41.6)
FG 27.3 (26.3)
Lb 10.1 (9.9)
SF 6.9 (7.3)
GP 4.7 (4.8)
PD 2.7 (2.6)
Others 6.6 (7.5)
Political parties were this morning studying the results of the poll which suggested that Fianna Fáil would win almost exactly the same share of the vote as in 2002, but that Fine Gael would increase its vote by around 4%.
The poll showed decreases in support for Labour and the PDs, while the Greens and Sinn Féin did not make a major breakthrough.
While the current coalition parties had a lead over the alternative, the poll showed the final result was likely to be close and to be determined by transfers.
Yesterday RTÉ asked 3,000 people at 166 polling stations in every constituency in the country how they voted.
Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael reacted cautiously to the results of the poll.
Fianna Fáil General Secretary Sean Dorgan said he would wait to see some real results, and that a lot of seats would come down to a handful of votes.
Fine Gael's Director of Elections Frank Flannery said the result was not a bad one and that polls tended to understate support for the party.
The experts crunched the numbers all night, and the results were as follows:
Fianna Fáil on 41.6% – marginally above what it won in the last election.
Fine Gael on 26.3%, almost 4% ahead of its 2002 result.
Potential coalition partner Labour slipped 1% from the last time, down to 9.9%.
The PDs looked to be in serious trouble, down to 2.6%, a 1 1/2% drop from 2002.
The Greens were up 1%, but would be disappointed to be at just 4.8%.
There appeared to be no big breakthrough for Sinn Féin, also up just under 1% to 7.3%.
Independents and others were down nearly 3% at 7.5%.