Current TDs: 2 FF, 2 SF, 1 FG
Projection: 1 FF, 3 SF, 1 FG
This is the first time we’ve seen a change shown by the model for Cavan-Monaghan since January of this year. Sinn Féin’s numbers in Connacht-Ulster are looking very healthy, driven by a monstrous showing in the latest B&A poll, while FG’s continue to wobble. While it’s not at the point of driving change across most of the region, three seats for Sinn Féin here is now the most mathematically likely outcome, at the expense of the second Fine Gael seat.
This is in spite of Minister Heather Humphreys pouring an astonishing amount of funding into the area, for both roads and, of course, the Big Tom memorial garden.
Fianna Fáil look a lot more secure to hold one of their seats here than they did earlier in the year. Aontú are still much more competitive than in most areas, but haven’t indicated anything to show they are going to be able to close the gap and steal the final seat.
Cavan-Monaghan seems fairly unremarkable, with the polling movement being from FF to FG being reflected in one seat changing hands. However, there’s a couple of stories lurking under the surface that could bubble up if relatively minor polling shifts occur.
All of these relate to FF, who currently have no path to return both their TDs. If neither retire, however, or if they run three again, the vote split puts both FF seats at risk. Currently, if SF run a third candidate and FF run either two or three, the FF seat’s cushion is dangerously close to the margin of error, and FG are a minor polling shift away from being in the same situation as SF. We are very close to a situation whereby if an FF TD retires, the other will keep their seat, but if neither blink, both could lose out.
Even if this doesn’t come to pass and neither FG nor SF run a third candidate to endanger the FF seat, there’s another wrinkle that becomes relevant if FF run two or three. Aontú are currently substantially distant in the model, but if Ireland Thinks are polling Aontú correctly, and everyone else is underpolling them, Sarah O’Reilly becomes a genuine threat to slip into the final seat.