Province: Rest of Leinster
Current TDs: 1 SF, 1 FG, 1 FF, 1 LAB, 1 IND
Projection: 2 SF, 1 FF, 1 FG, 1 LAB
Wexford swings back to Labour again this month, with B&A showing them doing well in Leinster – something that has happened before but was in decline for a long time. There’s not much to add here that wasn’t covered last month, as all of the prior caveats still apply, and a lot here will come down to how many candidates parties feel comfortable running.
Labour’s relatively static overall numbers are masking a significant downward shift in Rest of Leinster, offsetting it with increases in Dublin. If this polling reconfiguration holds true, all of their seats outside of the capital suddenly look very vulnerable. While veteran Brendan Howlin is the most likely to hold on, assuming he runs again, he’s still in an uncomfortable position. Right now the polling puts him behind a second FF candidate, albeit only very slightly.
As has been mentioned a few times, his personal vote is likely to be a saving grace and allow him to beat the projections, and it’s also worth noting that he did outperform the Labour trend in 2020 and 2016. It’s possible that he has a higher floor, but trying to definitively determine this isn’t possible. Either way this is a highly competitive constituency that could come down to fine margins, whatever way it goes.
Wexford has probably seen the biggest changes of any constituency as a result of the Labour recovery. Not only is Brendan Howlin favoured by the model to hold his seat for the first time, he’s favoured to do so relatively comfortably.
This is something that felt like a huge miss in the model that I couldn’t find the root cause of, but it seems the polling has taken care of it for me. Howlin is probably the most consistently popular Labour TD in the Dáil when it comes to local support, and it’s reflected here that he’s poised to do the best from the changes in polling.
Elsewhere, SF, FF and FG are all comfortably going to take one seat, with the final seat a battle between second candidates from those three parties – which Sinn Féin are currently favoured to win.
SF and FG should take two seats here without too much bother. IND Verona “Not a Racist” Murphy is going to struggle with Independent support down and Fine Gael support up, and consequently, FG should regain the seat won by their former candidate. Johnny Mythen’s vote should be sufficient to bring in an SF running mate.
The final seat is less clear. Brendan Howlin has been in the Dáil since 1987 and has dominated the vote around Wexford town in spite of tough polling environments for Labour before. James Browne would have done better in 2020 if Fianna Fáil hadn’t made the absolutely incomprehensible decision to run four candidates, which probably cost them a second seat. Currently in a one on one, the model gives Browne the edge, but caution should be exercised here – Howlin has massively outperformed his party before, and FF could very easily mess up their candidate strategy. The current call is for FF, but this is far from a sure thing.