Province: Rest of Leinster
Current TDs: 2 FF, 1 FG, 1 SF, 1 GP
Projection: 2 FF, 2 SF, 1 FG
This is the first change the model has shown in Carlow-Kilkenny, as the Fine Gael vote continues to decline. What previously looked like a dead cert for two Fine Gael seats now only shows one, with Sinn Féin as the most likely beneficiaries. This is, of course, highly marginal at the moment and the model shows that this will come down to transfers, with those from the Green Party being absolutely critical. Even with that said, this is extremely close and if polls stay the way they are this could be a long and uncomfortable count for the candidates
The Fianna Fáil seats look very safe from current numbers. However, here, as in many places, there is the a major caveat: if RedC are right, and FF’s numbers are much worse than other pollsters think, that second seat becomes extremely vulnerable.
With five seats open and only three parties really the races, I expect we’ll see further movement on what will happen in those last two. In very simple terms, moving forward this should be viewed as 1 seat each for the three big parties, with all three fighting to get a second candidate into one of the final two slots.
Carlow-Kilkenny is one of the most conservative constituencies in Ireland; 2020 was the first time ever that it returned two left-wing TDs. Even then it was in part the result of FG’s decision to run three candidates, which may have made sense before the SF surge, but one that hurt them on polling day.
On current polling, there are two seats guaranteed this time for FG, and they have an outside shot at a third if FF for some reason decide to run three again and split votes badly. FG will gain that second seat at the expense of the Green Party’s Malcolm Noonan – who is set to lose his seat by a substantial margin.
FF look like they can get McGuiness and Murnane O’Connor re-elected if they only run the two of them, but the latter seat is vulnerable if they continue to fall and SF an FG continue to rise, or if they decide to run a third candidate. Regardless, this is probably FF’s strongest constituency.
SF don’t yet have the support level to get in a second candidate, though they are trending in the right direction. As it stands, regardless of if they run one or two, Funchion’s seat is a lock.
The SF surplus, will be substantial but isn’t right now enough to make the difference for the most likely beneficiary – PBP councillor Adrienne Wallace. There are scenarios where it makes her competitive, but the PBP FPV is currently too weak for her to be properly in the mix. If there are two SF candidates, eliminating or reducing their surplus transfers, her chances fall from long-shot to absolutely nothing.