July 2022 Projections Update

Seat totals

Sinn Féin 64
Fianna Fáil 39
Fine Gael 37
Independents 10
Social Democrats 3
PBP/Solidarity 3
Labour 3
Green Party 1
Aontú 0
R2C 0

Changes since June

Sinn Féin +1
Fianna Fáil nc
Fine Gael nc
Independents nc
Social Democrats -1
PBP/Solidarity nc
Labour +1
Green Party nc
Aontú -1
R2C nc

Seat Map

Hi everyone! This will be a relatively short update as (a) I am still recovering from covid and my brain is even mushier than usual and (b) while we had polls this month, Ireland Thinks (as usual) provided no breakdown and IPSOS, who after finally including small parties previously, for some reason have decided to regress and provide no breakdown at all. This leaves us with one B&A poll, which posed something of a problem.

Specifically, this problem relates to the Social Democrats. B&A tend to understate them, while RedC tend to overstate them by roughly equal amounts (see “House Effects” here), and illustrative chart below. While the overall gap is only a few points, this has huge implications for the projections for a smaller party.

Normally this is an issue that takes care of itself somewhat as they balance out, but with no RedC this month, there has been an appreciable negative impact on the SDs numbers that I don’t believe is entirely accurate. To offset this I have had to spend some time manually adjusting for the house effect, and while it is only a small adjustment, it is I believe an improvement, although even with this the model still shows them dropping a seat.

Only a few brief other points to discuss, this month, but if you would prefer to skip straight to the seat changes, click here.

How does he do it?

Just when you think Eamon Ryan has managed to set a record low in approval rating, he comes back around and pumps out a -35% result. This is a new low for any party leader and perhaps a reflection of the gigantic mess surrounding agricultural emissions targets, which was starting to become an issue around the time the B&A poll was taken.

Since then, the issue has been resolved, albeit to nobody’s satisfaction. It will be interesting to see if this hurts Ryan further – as Green or Green-sympathetic voters will be unhappy with a compromise on cuts – or helps him as FF and FG voters may be pleased with yet another climb-down. Then again, it wasn’t a great month for the leaders of government parties in general:

It’s also worth noting that Bacik is back as most popular leader, though again the number of people answering “no opinion” continues to be disproportionately high. She remains extremely popular with supporters of the government parties – Green Party supporters in particular continue to give her much higher ratings than they give their own leader. The question remains is if she and her party can start converting those people into Labour voters. There are, as mentioned last month, notable improvements in Dublin, but overall numbers remain weak.

More minor updates to DBS calculation

Last month I covered in depth about the changes I had made to the calculations for Dublin Bay South to try an better account for the by-election results. I realised afterwards that while I had assigned a positive factor to Ivana Bacik (LAB), I hadn’t offset other parties’ support levels to reflect this. This has now been updated with small negative factors applied to other parties based on decline in vote share in the by-election.

This doesn’t change the current most likely outcome, but the gap between Bacik, O’Callaghan (FF) and Ryan (GP) is negligible. As mentioned before however, in my personal assessment I am not particularly confident in the second FG seat that the model is showing here; thus I believe it more likely that two of those three will hold seats rather than just one. But as before, while I will note where I disagree with the modelling, I’m not going to substitute my opinion as that would render all of this pointless.

Seat Changes

Three constituencies saw changes in July, one of which is a reversion from June, and the other two are a little odd. But we’ll get into that more in each section!

Clicking on the linked name for each constituency should jump to the relevant section of this page. Changes on this page indicate changes from June 2022’s projections; changes on constituency pages indicate changes from current composition.

Note: The projections reflect, and always have reflected, most likely outcomes. So if a final seat is more likely for candidate X over Y, the model will show X winning the seat.

This does not mean the scenario where Y wins doesn’t exist, or even is necessarily unlikely (there’s a lot of marginal calls!). It also does not mean that every single “most likely” scenario will come true; statistically that in and of itself is probably not going to happen. This is true from from a simple probability point of view, even if we ignore deficiencies in underlying data. A projected result merely means that the model thinks X winning is the most likely outcome.

FF +1

SD -1

As mentioned before, with only B&A to go on this month, it’s not great for the Soc Dems, and even after adjusting the figures for the house effect, the model shows Gary Gannon losing his seat – this time to Fianna Fáil (who tend to do better in B&A polls than RedC ones). This isn’t the first time the model has shown this, and while I do think it’s something that will wash out shortly, there are reasons that this could happen.

Basically, Gannon was a significant beneficiary of Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald’s surplus in 2020, getting a good chunk of it initially, and then another amount via PBP transfers. If SF run a second candidate here – and frankly, they’d be mad not to – his transfer situation doesn’t look great; it would hurt him more than his GP or FF rivals. Remember, Mary Fitzpatrick (FF) did beat Gannon on first preferences in 2020. And depending on boundary shifts, this constituency could be potentially viable for three SF candidates.

With that said however, if he stays ahead of the Greens, you’d imagine those votes would be more likely to go to him than to FF. So I think the model is underestimating him based on the B&A figures, but I don’t think it’s a completely implausible outcome.

SF +1

AON -1

Another interesting one here, showing Aontú’s sole TD Peadar Tóibín in trouble among continued strong Sinn Féin polling and Aontú’s numbers in Leinster being poor recently. This is tough to verify as their support is so heavily concentrated around Navan, so I would apply some caution here, and we saw some highly idiosyncratic transfer patters in the constituency in 2020, with Aontú doing much better than one might think among Soc Dem and Green transfers despite the vast differences between the parties.

That said, two SF candidates would change the dynamics of the race substantially, and would likely deprive Aontú of a good chunk of those centre-left transfers. Furthermore, if Fine Gael are smart in their electoral strategy (I have fairly low confidence in this tbh), they won’t try to run two candidates themselves this time. There’s a lot that could happen with this one, but for now, the model shows Tóibín will have a fight on his hands.

LAB +1


Wexford swings back to Labour again this month, with B&A showing them doing well in Leinster – something that has happened before but was in decline for a long time. There’s not much to add here that wasn’t covered last month, as all of the prior caveats still apply, and a lot here will come down to how many candidates parties feel comfortable running.

Other notes

  • Dublin Bay South: I discussed this up top, but if you skipped it, go back up and read this – it is incredibly close.
  • Dublin North-West: Minor note here – until I adjusted for the house effect, the model showed the Soc Dems losing a seat here, which should give an idea of just how down on them the B&A numbers are. It will be interesting to see if this is still the case once RedC polling resumes.
  • Dublin South-West: We’ve had the PBP seat here look pretty secure for a while, so I think we should note that they’re wobbling a little bit in Dublin recently, and while I think we are a bit off of seeing any change in projections, the gap between Paul Murphy and his competitors is closing.
  • Laois-Offaly: Carol Nolan remains very close here; it wouldn’t take much of a move upward for Independents to favour her keeping her seat.
  • Mayo: Sinn Féin looking very close to being projected a second seat here; however again it’s worth considering that B&A’s numbers for them are much, much higher than RedC. Still, another one to keep an eye on, and an indicator of how much FG are struggling in Connacht-Ulster.

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Also thanks to folks who donated last month, off the back of this I have donated 82 euro to TENI, who do hugely important work for trans people in Ireland. If you find yourself with some money to spare, they are an extremely worthy cause.

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