Monday, September 21, 2009

Dublin South East predictions

There may be an election next month, or maybe not for the next 30 months but it is always fun to examine the state of the parties in your local constituency and guess what might happen at the next election. Luckily since the local elections happened not so long ago there is some very useful data as to which parties polled well and where from the tally that was carried out on the morning of the count.

At some stage in the future I might have a go at breaking down the various boxes in the two wards (Pembroke-Rathmines and South East Inner City) but for the moment I'm just going to work from totals for parties.

Firstly let's look at the potential candidates for each party

Fianna Fáil have one sitting TD, Chris Andrews who was joined in the last general election by Jim O'Callaghan as the party ticket. In the locals the three candidates in PR just managed to poll a quota between them with O'Callaghan and Donnelly polling well ahead of Tubridy. In SEIC, FF polled less than half a quota between three candidates. With Donnelly retired from public life it seems as though the most likely lineup is the same as before. The only alternative is that with FF polling so poorly in the Dublin region they decide to run a single candidate in which case it will surely be the sitting TD rather than his arch-rival the Councillor.

Fine Gael's Lucinda Creighton easily won back a seat for FG in the 2007 general election as the sole candidate for the party. In the locals FG's Catherine Noone polled just over 13% in SEIC and managed to hang on to beat Daithi Doolin for the last seat. In PR, the more traditional FG heartland, the party polled just over 34% with young tyro Eoghan Murphy pulling ahead of the pack to be elected on the first count. The remaining two candidates duked it out for the final seat with Edie Wynne being elected in the early hours of the morning. One has to assume that DSE is on the FG target list as somewhere to pick up a second seat if they are serious about leading the next government. However, will Creighton want a younger, brasher candidate alongside her, or will she want to put forward an older, more experienced running mate? I would guess that Murphy will be chosen by the local organisation as the second name.

Labour have held a seat in DSE on and off since 1969, and continuously since 1982 with Ruairí Quinn. In the locals, Labour pulled off a remarkable result, netting five out of the ten seats, two in SEIC with 38% and three in PR with just 32%. DSE also has to be on Labour's hitlist for gains in the next general so a two candidate strategy is required. There will certainly be a Quinn on the ballot paper, either Ruairí or Oisín but surely not both. Kevin Humphreys polled exceedingly well in SEIC and must be regarded as likely to run as well. However, it remains to be seen if Ivana Bacik returns from her trip across the river. At the moment I would put the candidates as R Quinn and Humphreys.

John Gormley as leader of the Green Party will definitely be on the ballot paper despite the poor showing of Dave Robbins and Claire Wheeler in the locals. Sinn Fein had a disastrous local election with Daithi Doolan loosing his seat and somewhere around half of his vote - the boundaries of the wards changed substantially from 2004. In PR Sinn Fein hardly registered with less than 2% of the vote. Expect Doolin to be on the ballot. After that, Bryce Evans will probably be the PBP candidate and independent councillor, Mannix Flynn is also expected to throw his hat in the ring. There may also be additional single issue candidates who are unlikely to feature much in the end of the day. (In 2007 the bottom 6 candidates received fewer votes combined than the next lowest candidate.)

So based the above I'm predicting a 1st preference vote share something like
  • FF - 16.5%
  • FG - 27%
  • Lab - 31.5%
  • Green - 11%
  • SF - 3%
  • PBP - 3.5%
  • Flynn - 7%
  • Other - 0.5%
 The interesting transfer patterns to watch will be within FF (only about 50% at the locals) and whether the Greens become as transfer repellent as some are currently suggesting. There are certainly enough left leaning votes to take two seats, the question is will the second Labour candidate be ahead of Gormley at the time one of them is eliminated. Good vote management as shown by Labour in the locals should make this possible. Another possibility is that when the first FF candidate is eliminated, enough votes go to Gormley to push him ahead of the second FG candidate and the other FF. In that case it might be possible for Gormley to claim a third seat for the left at the expense of FF.

At the moment I am going to go for 2 Lab, 1 FG and a mighty battle between FF and G for the final seat with Andrews' name carrying him over the line, with Gormley's association with the incinerator and general anti-Green sentiment dragging him down.

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