Current TDs: 1 SF, 1 FG, 1 FF, 1 GP
Projection: 2 FG, 1 SF, 1 FF
Well, I certainly didn’t see *this* coming. With the Green Party’s vote plateauing at a much lower level than GE20, Sinn Féin failing to increase their vote and PBP/Solidarity support reviving somewhat, Dublin West has potential to go back to being the drama-filled slugfest we all know and love. And right now, the model is bringing the spice, showing that the most probable outcome based on current polling is Ruth Coppinger nabbing back the final seat in her (and Joe Higgins’) old stomping ground.
This demonstrates something I mentioned up above – if PBP or Solidarity candidates can get ahead of Sinn Féin running mates, they have a real shot at outperforming expectations, as those transfers will break heavily in their favour.
Now, I have absolutely no idea if Coppinger would run again after engaging in the second-strangest Seanad run of this election cycle. But if she did, her chances right now look good. Of course, if it’s not her, Solidarity may not do as well with a lower profile candidate, and I believe they only have one sitting councillor based in the constituency.
I should also caveat that this is extremely close. While FG and SF are guaranteed a seat each, the final two are going to be very competitive between Solidarity, Fianna Fáil and second FG/SF candidates. The Greens aren’t a million miles away either and there’s a lot of knife-edge breaks that will go in the direction of whichever candidates ultimately emerge successful. But right now, it’s the left with the slight edge.
I’d sort of written Dublin West off at the start of the year as a fairly boring constituency, where both SF and FG had a significant enough chunk of FPV to cruise to two seats each and leave it there. I shouldn’t have thought it would be so simple – Dublin West consistently brings the drama. Barring 2011, there have been almighty battles for the last seat or two involving many high-profile TDs, both left and right. Therefore it ought be no surprise that improving the forecasting of a likely vote split has made this much more interesting. In 2020, Leo Varadkar (FG) was elected on the 5th count, spawning a rake of stupid claims about his legitimacy among Twitter’s many Electoral System Understanders (and then for some reason, right-wing English rag the Daily Express got in on the action. A bad time was had by all). On current numbers the Taoiseach Tánaiste would rack up a healthy surplus, to the point where he should be able to drag Emer Currie (or an alternative running-mate) over the line.
Conversely, Sinn Féin have a problem. They should easily double Jack Chambers’ (FF) FPV, but looking at the splits Paul Donnelly probably won’t be able to run up a surplus to help out his running mate. More significantly, if Donnelly doesn’t hit the quota early, he’ll end up absorbing left-wing transfers that could go to a potential running mate, and won’t end up transferring back down. SF do still have a healthy FPV advantage to play with, and the model is very, very close between FF and SF for the last seat. SF will need to pull off some relatively tricky vote management if they want to make this comfortable.
This one, I’m afraid, simply isn’t that interesting. On current polling, SF and FG are in a position to comfortably split up enough of the FF, PBP and Green vote between them that not only are they going to win two seats each, they’re not going to be particularly challenged along the way. Indeed, the model indicates that Jack Chambers (FF) and Roderic O’Gorman (GP) don’t have a path at all to keeping their seats unless polling starts shifting in their favour.
Even a potential comeback attempt by PBP-Solidarity heavyweight Ruth Coppinger doesn’t seem likely to have much of an impact, unless something changes.