Over 80% Voter Turnout in Presidential Election Skip to content

Over 80% Voter Turnout in Presidential Election

By Yelena

Halla Tómasdóttir at Bessastaðir
Photo: Art Bicnick. Halla Tómasdóttir at Bessastaðir.

Halla Tómasdóttir was elected President of Iceland last Saturday with 34.1% of the vote. Voter turnout was 80.8%, the highest since 1996, RÚV reports. One expert asserts that many people who planned to vote for other candidates shifted their vote to Halla at the last minute.

The distribution of votes in the election proved significantly different from polls before the dates. Just two days before the election, Halla Tómasdóttir and former Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir were polling neck and neck at 24.1% followed by Halla Hrund Logadóttir at 18.4% support, Baldur Þórhallsson with 15.4% support and Jón Gnarr with 9.9%.

Unexpected margin of victory

Halla’s significant margin of victory was therefore somewhat unexpected. She ended up with around 10% more of the vote than Katrín Jakobsdóttir, who came in second place at 25.03%. Halla Hrund and Baldur both received a smaller share of votes than polling indicated they would, while Jón Gnarr received a slightly larger share.

History Professor Guðmundur Hálfdánarson stated that this difference between pre-election polls and voting results is significant, and argues that it indicates many voters shifted from  Baldur and Halla Hrund to Halla Tómasdóttir at the last minute. “It seems to be the case, if these polls can be taken seriously, that many voters were more influenced more by their view towards candidates who they did not want to win rather than maybe those who they would have preferred to vote for.” Guðmundur is referring to Katrín Jakobsdóttir in particular, whose resignation as prime minister in order to run for president was a controversial move.

Women received 75% of the vote

It bears noting that the three top candidates during polls and when votes were cast were women, and together they received 75% of the total votes. Professor of Political Science Eva H. Önnudóttir stated this shows positive societal change in Iceland since the nation elected Vigdís Finnbogadóttir as its first female president and the first democratically elected female head of state in the world.

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