Province: Rest of Leinster
Current TDs: 1 FG, 1 SF, 2 FF, 1 IND
Projection: 1 FG, 1 SF, 2 FF, 1 IND
Independents have been polling a bit better recently so seeing another one slide into a hold isn’t a great surprise, nor should it be that Carol Nolan is close to the top of that list. The model has had her in and out of the seat a few times since it began, and it’s still fairly close, but she’s looked competitive fairly consistently. As for Sinn Féin dropping the seat – that’s the most likely, but they are not far from the 2nd Fianna Fáil seat. Transfers, which are, as I have mentioned many times, incredibly tricky to project, will be key in a constituency that the model has three seats locked down and two open.
Then again this constituency is a prime candidate to be split before 2025. Of the current TDs, there are three based in Laois (SF, FF, FG) and two in Offaly (FF, IND). How that affects the dynamics of a race if they are split remains to be seen, particularly if both are three-seaters.
Not a lot new to note here, but the patterns and fluctuations we have seen thus far in Laois-Offaly continue, this time vaulting Fianna Fáil back ahead of Independent Carol Nolan for the final seat. Independent polling has been rough in Leinster for a while now, but it remains harder to allocate than party support as the variation between constituencies is wild. It’s also worth mentioning, of course, that this constituency had some other Independents pick up a relatively high level of support in 2020; it’s hard to know where that will go, and that could end up being a potentially deciding factor here.
There’s been quite a bit of impact here from marginal ebbs and flows over the last year or so, and it’s swung back towards Carol Nolan (IND) and away from Fianna Fáil. This remains very tight, and transfers could end up being very important here, as will the manner in which Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin manage their vote splits.
One other thing to note is that, in keeping with their general decline in support, Fine Gael have gone from being slightly favoured to get a second TD here to having no chance at all. Under current polling they are approaching the point where running a second candidate could well do more harm than good, but this is very much a place where quota requirements might force their hand.
This one remains close, and while the change is that SF are now marginally more likely to return a second candidate at the expense of former party member Carol Nolan, the real story here is the increasing comfort levels for Fianna Fáil. While they were trailing SF and FG here in April, the model now expects them to lead this constituency on FPV. I believe this is the only constituency outside of Carlow-Kilkenny where this is the case.
Of course two seats here is no sure thing for anyone, and I expect a lot of further fluctuations in this highly competitive constituency that will see its final seats decided by narrow margins.
This one is interesting with the changes made. FF, FG and SF are all still comfortable for a seat each. While FF’s total is marginally behind SF and FG (all three are separated by less than 1.5%), the FPV split between their candidates based on the historic data puts them into a position to squeeze into a second seat – a great illustration of how important vote management can be when you have close races with multiple candidates. This is very marginal call that comes down to a fraction of a percentage point, and any deviation from the historic data in the vote management (which is quite likely, given how many assumptions have to be made with it) could easily flip this one way or the other.
The other change here is Carol Nolan, and with Independent numbers ticking up, she’s a little ahead of the second candidate from the three big parties, particularly due to transfer friendliness. The margins here are similarly fine, so with current patterns the last two seats will be very difficult to call.
SF, FF and FG will all fancy their chances at bringing home a second candidate; FF have two incumbents in a constituency that has been traditionally part of their heartlands, SF will be gunning for the seat held by former SF TD Carol Nolan (IND) and FG will be looking to cash in on a huge polling bump. As of now, the model favours SF and FG succeeding, but it indicates that it will be quite close.
The only real intrigue outside of this relates to Nolan’s seat (on a side note, I am unclear why she hasn’t joined Aontú, an ideological match, who seem to have plenty of funding to help her with and would benefit from a second TD). She was helped out by SF transfers and a bad polling environment for FG in 2020, neither seems to be the case this time round and both with put the squeeze on her, and right now it’s tough to see her path back to the Dáil.