The music’s over
With no major opinion polls out, it’s been down to the local polls to make the news. For once, a local poll that shows at least one Fianna Fáil candidate in with a chance of saving the seat: Mary Hanafin in Dún Laoghaire. Over in Dublin South Central, the voters have been offered a ‘speed dating’ opportunity to meet some of the candidates. Meanwhile, a poll carried out by some DIT students suggests there may be an upset. There seems to be general agreement among the punters that Fine Gael will get one seat, Labour two, Sinn Féin one, and Fianna Fáil’s Michael Mulcahy will struggle but hang on to the final seat. The DIT poll suggests Fine Gael may do better – they are on the same percentage as Labour, at 26%.
To understand how this will pan out, you need to look at the quotas. Remember, in a five seat constituency, the quota is one-sixth of the votes, plus one, or just 16.7% of the vote. It’s a bit like musical chairs: at the end there will be six candidates for the five seats. Who will be left standing when the music stops? Labour and Fine Gael are well over a quota, and certain of at least one seat each. Sinn Féin, in this poll, has 16% – close enough to a quota to be safe. That leaves just two. Fianna Fáil has 12%, and not much chance of transfers from anyone. That’s a good bit short of a quota, but all going to one candidate, so no chance of transfers being lost; they have to hope there are not two other candidates who can amass 12%.
So who will have the final two seats? Labour and Fine Gael have a surplus of 9% above the quota. Councillor Joan Collins of the People Before Profit Alliance has 8 per cent. If the votes break that way, she will be eliminated and her vote will go to Labour, who will have just enough for a seat, with Mulcahy just ahead of Fine Gael for the final seat. The problem is the 3% Green votes and the 8% Independent. Again, a fair number are likely to go to Labour, so the second seat is safe there, and likely to produce a small surplus. It’s hard to see any of the extra votes going to FF, so that looks like a final seat for Fine Gael – and something of a surprise. On the other hand, everything could change depending on how the independents and Greens transfer. More of those may go for Collins as an outsider and could put her ahead of Labour and even FG; the most likely outcome there would be: FG1, Labour 2, SF 1, PBP 1. Of course, it’s a small sample with a big margin of error – 3-5%. Not robust enough for Dotski over at Irish Polling Report. So when there’s just one seat remaining and the tune comes to an end – there’ll be an almighty scramble.
After Apartmentgate, the Green Party’s Oisín ó hAlmhain has found a new voting scandal: Hospitalgate. A hospital pharmacist, he has noticed that about 10,000 people confined to hospital beds cannot vote. In Ireland, postal voting is very limited and only long-term hospital patients can get one. So the many patients for whom it is impractical to visit their local polling station are effectively disenfranchised.
Meanwhile, Ann Cronin, the woman who decided to run in Clare when she realised all the existing candidates were men, has a charming and funny video.