Current TDs: 2 SF, 1 FG, 1 PBP
Projection: 2 SF, 1 FG, 1 FF
Three seats here was always pushing the boundaries of what Sinn Féin can do with their current vote share, so it shouldn’t be a huge surprise to see this roll back into Fianna Fáil’s column with only a slight drop in SF’s numbers in Dublin. However, there is a lot that can happen here and how Sinn Féin approach it is going to set the tone for everyone else on the ballot.
The race for the final seat is pretty close – while Fianna Fáil have an advantage, Fine Gael, PBP and a third SF candidate are all reasonably close. The order of elimination will have an impact here, as will the number of candidates SF opt to run. I suspect we won’t get a clear picture on this one until much closer to the election when we know who will be on the ballot.
This is the first time, I think, that the model it has shown Sinn Féin getting three seats in Dublin Mid-West. Sinn Féin are a bit stagnant in Dublin again, but Fianna Fáil drop a bit after the most recent round of polling, and that reflects here. But this is still a bit strange and might just be one of those temporary things where we just happen to be at a particular point in the polling movement of the parties, rather than a trend culminating.
With that said, it’s not completely implausible. Sinn Fein got 42.8% – 2.14 quotas – last time out, and the model does expect them to improve that here. Given how the rest of the constituency shook out, there are realities, albeit marginal ones, where in 2020, they have enough votes for three seats. Naturally, all this depends on quite a few contingencies around vote split and transfers, which is itself cause for caution – because SF dominated the vote here, both Ó Broin and Ward were elected before we could see if anyone else would transfer to them.
Also, I should note, I don’t think Sinn Féin will actually end up running three candidates here. It’s risky, despite what the maths might say. If they do only run two, given how their surplus will go, I’d expect Gino Kenny (PBP) to be the main beneficiary.
Not a hugely significant swing here, but enough to indicate that Fianna Fáil could snatch back the seat they lost in 2020 – and it wouldn’t be the first time John Curran, assuming he is the candidate again, has pulled that off. After losing his seat in a brutal 2011 election for FF, he took advantage of Labour’s implosion in 2016 to reclaim his spot in the Dáil.
It’s still relatively close here, and FF will need every piece of help they can get from transfers to hold off from FG claiming their second seat. It’s also worth noting that Gino Kenny looks more and more alive as SF number in Dublin backslide – he still has a good shot at leapfrogging one of FF or FG, though beating both of them is a tough ask. A lot will come down to how much of a Sinn Féin transfer base will come his way; how the SF vote split and candidate strategy shakes out will be crucial. I expect this to continue to move around a lot in the coming months.
It seems the Paul Gogarty (IND) meme dream has come to an end here, but there’s a lot going on. SF and FG both look comfortable enough to win two seats, but there’s going to be a whole chunk of other votes tied up between Gogarty, Gino Kenny (PBP) and whoever FF run. Between Eoin Ó Broin and Mark Ward, SF could run up a pretty handy surplus here too – there’s honestly an argument that they should consider a third candidate – which could help Kenny, though the model is placing his FPV in seriously difficult territory.
However, FG are strongly poised here, now the swing is corrected for, to take the final seat. The party is clearly invested in promoting incumbent Emer Higgins’ public profile (while this is a sensible move given the dearth of young female TDs, the results of this effort have been decidedly mixed) and Cllr Vicki Casserly put up a very respectable showing in 2020. A couple of additional percentage points of FPV would likely have seen her elected, and current polling gives FG more than enough to make up the gap. It’s also worth noting that DMW saw an extremely impressive piece of vote management from FG that election – a 56/44 vote split between two candidates – if they can replicate this, FG look even more comfortable for that second seat.
As I’ve mentioned several times previously, I believe that my model is overall more down on Independents than I think it should be. It’s fairly comfortably ruling out the likes of Danny Healy-Rae, Mattie McGrath and Denis Naughten. While I haven’t quite got a handle on the precise, constituency-level approaches I should take for this, I do understand generally what’s causing it, and thus have an idea of what’s needed to verify if its correct or not, and if it turns out it’s not, how to rectify.
There is one Independent, however, that the model loves. Absolutely loves. I have no idea why. The model takes provincial averages; there shouldn’t be someone who is just outlying the entire trend. If it shows Independents being largely flat in Dublin, that should apply in DMW too.
As a wise man once said, “by all accounts, it doesn’t make sense”.
And yet, this is who the Feburary version of the model projects will take the final seat in Dublin Mid-West, pictured here in, I think, his most famous moment.
I do think the model is somewhat underestimating Gino Kenny (PBP) at this point, but right now it shows Paul Gogarty with a clear advantage over him, FF and a second FG candidate. I’m not convinced things will actually pan out this way, and I would be surprised if this result isn’t noise which fades away in a month or so, but I’m not going to make a judgement call to overrule it.
Like many Dublin constituencies, the main problem here for the rest of the left is that SF has eaten their FPV. But there’s a second dynamic, which is FG eating FF votes. Both of these are clearly at play in DMW. SF incumbents Eoin Ó Broin and Mark Ward will have no problems keeping their seats, nor will FG’s Emer Higgins.
The final seat is very difficult to predict. While a second FG seat looks most likely from current numbers it’s far from a sure thing. If FF only run one candidate, they have a chance. Gino Kenny (PBP) pulled off a remarkable comeback on transfers to keep his seat in 2020, and while PBP’s poor polling makes that more difficult, it’s not impossible. Finally, and while this is less likely, there is a path for it – the decline in GP support, combined with the departure of a strong candidate from the party, brings could potentially bring Paul Gogarty into play. This seat is very hard to predict and I expect the model to be volatile on this with even small changes in polling.