Donegal

Profile

Province: Connacht-Ulster

Seats: 5

Current TDs: 2 SF, 1 FG, 1 FF, 1 IND

Projection: 3 SF, 1 FG, 1 FF

Gains

SF +1

Losses

IND -1

Analysis

January 2021

Sinn Féin are in comfortable three quotas territory in Donegal. In fact, they’re a couple of percentage points away from having a valid argument for running four candidates (note: this is almost always a bad idea and nobody should ever do it, no matter what the polls say). They have two strong incumbents, so even if a less-established third candidate lags behind on FPV, the surplus transfer should get them home with relatively little fuss.

Similar to how SF gobbling up FPV is putting the squeeze on smaller left-wing parties elsewhere, in Donegal it is most likely to negatively impact left-wing Independent Thomas Pringle. Pringle’s FPV seemed close to its floor in 2020, but the polling environment has got even less independent-friendly since then. If SF only run two, their surplus transfers do give Pringle a path to the final seat, but it’s a narrow one and he’d be in an absolute dogfight with a second FG and a second FF candidate. If SF run three, his chances of keeping his seat appear to evaporate almost entirely.

McHugh and McConalogue from FG and FF look pretty safe, and both do still have a longshot to drag in a second candidate if SF only run two, or run three and mess up the vote split. It would be very close between a second FG and FF if this did happen, with the model giving FG a slight edge, notwithstanding the earlier pathway for Pringle. However, as of now, 3 SF looks overwhelmingly likely.

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