Meath West

Profile

Province: Rest of Leinster

Seats: 3

Current TDs: 1 FG, 1 SF, 1 AON

Projection: 1 FG, 1 SF, 1 AON

Gains

n/a

Losses

n/a

Analysis

April 2021

After doing research on the polls leading into GE2020, I’ve reached the conclusion that Ireland Thinks have been right for a while, and Aontú are slightly underpolled everywhere except Dublin. While this doesn’t really make a huge difference, given that most of their candidates aren’t doing very well anyway, it does matter – a lot – for Peadar Tóibín. Adjusting for the underpoll in Rest of Leinster, combined with reassessing the vote splits for SF and FG, indicates that he should be able to hold his seat comfortably.

Aontú are in a weird spot in general – they are ticking up slightly in the polls, but really have very little going on beyond Tóibín himself; I doubt very much that the average voter could name one of their three councillors, and they haven’t really established a clear identity. It’s absolutely essential for the party to hold his seat – so this will be good news for them. Winning another is an entirely different question.

January 2021

This one could break a lot of ways. Johnny Guirke of SF and Damien English of FG are comfortably safe, but what happens with the third seat, held by former-Sinn Féiner and sole Aontú TD Peadar Tóibín is going to be fascinating. Currently the model indicates a second seat for FG based off their current polling surge in the province, but it also indicates a close call on this. There are a number of ways this could play out.

Firstly, while current numbers have Tóibín in trouble, I wouldn’t bank on it bearing out. He’s a strong candidate who showed in 2020 he can win outside of SF. Crucially, if Ireland Thinks have correctly identified a polling trend for Aontú that other pollsters have missed, he’ll keep his seat easily. Even if this doesn’t bear out and the majority are correct the party is very much still a one-man band, so Tóibín may not be impacted by their stagnant support levels.

Even a minor swing towards SF away from FG would also put them in the running to get a second seat. If Aontú are stumbling, a chunk of Tóibín’s vote may go back home to SF and help them out. Finally, I wouldn’t write FF off entirely here, although it’s a long shot, they’re not that far behind where they need to be to compete for the last seat. This one is going to be very interesting as polling trends evolve between now and the next election.

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