The exit poll suggested that independent candidate Peter Casey would gain 20.7 percent of the first preference vote. Liadh Ni Riada, the candidate of the Sinn Fein party, is projected to receive 7.4 percent of the primary vote while lawmaker Joan Freeman is expected to garner 6.3 percent.
The exit poll was held throughout Friday at 138 Irish polling sites among 3,474 people. The margin of error is between plus or minus 3 percent. RTE noted that if re-elected, Higgins will be the second Irish president to win two terms.
Processing of ballots is set to begin early on Saturday while the winner is expected to be declared later on the same day. The inauguration of the winner will be held in Dublin Castle on November 11.