Current TDs: 1 FG, 1 FF, 2 IND (SF -1, IND +1 from defection)
Projection: 1 FG, 1 SF, 2 FF
Well, that Sinn Féin seat didn’t last, though it was always by the finest of margins anyway. Fianna Fáil have been steadily showing signs of recovery in Munster, passing Fine Gael for second place a couple months ago and that gap is holding. Meanwhile, Sinn Féin, while still a good way ahead, haven’t really improved their position since last time round. Consequently, the seat has swung to FF – their first time being favoured for it this year.
As mentioned before, this is going to be a wild one. In the last 12 months, FG, FF, SF and Independent Michael McNamara have all been in the lead for the last seat at various points. I don’t expect any great stability to emerge here yet (though I’ve been wrong before, as Clare looked quite stable for the first few months of this year!), and elimination order could matter immensely as it could end up completely altering the pattern of transfers.
This is another constituency that previously looked straightforward but is now swinging back and forth. Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Sinn Féin all seem to be guaranteed a seat – barring any galaxy brain candidate strategy stuff – but as mentioned in June the last seat is going to be a wild race between second candidates from each of the three, plus Michael McNamara.
Vote split between first and second candidates, as well as elimination order are going to be absolutely critical here. Right now, with the way things are in Munster, SF are favoured by a razor thing margin – literally hundredths of a percentage point – over Fianna Fáil. A second Fine Gael candidate and McNamara are only very slightly behind, and that of course is bearing in mind the challenges around modelling Independents.
That’s a very long-winded way of saying that this is one of those times where I don’t personally agree with the model’s output, but I don’t think there’s anything systemically wrong here – it’s a case of very close probabilities based on polling.
The final seat in Clare is super-competitive, and is going to stay that way for a while. Right now things have swung back towards incumbent Independent Michael McNamara, and the model gives him a razor-thin advantage over a second FG candidate, but a second from FF or SF is also plausible. A lot of this is going to come down to transfers – which are the least reliable part of the model. But with that said, if McNamara can get ahead of the second candidates from the big parties on FPV or even within a round or two of counting, he’ll be very well positioned. With FG’s polling continuing to wobble in Munster, things could continue to look better for him, but again, there’s a long way to go here and this final seat could move back and forth quite a bit.
Remember when the Green Party almost won a seat in Clare? And when SF came out of nowhere to take a seat they haven’t held since 1923? The 2020 election feels like ancient history now, and this is a fairly straightforward constituency based on polling.
With that said, it is always tricky to work out how polling swings will impact independents – and numbers for independents have been solidly in the toilet since the election – so I wouldn’t write off Michael McNamara entirely, but things don’t look good for him right now, and FG are posed to leapfrog FF and fill the seat that he’s projected to lose.