#GE16 – FG *will* win more seats than FF…

Another dramatic Irish election, with the exit polls proving to have underestimated the substantial fall in support for the government parties. Fianna Fáil have lurched back to within 1.2% of Fine Gael as largest party, 24.35% to 25.52%, and overnight the two were both on 28 seats.

That’s the sort of margin where you can get the party with fewer votes ending up with more seats once the local factors in each constituency come into play. But I’ve crunched the numbers this morning, looking especially at tight races for FG, FF or both, and calling them against the former and in favour of the latter.

I reckon that FG should end up with at least a three-seat margin as the largest party, possibly more.

Detailed table of results so far (above) and how I think it could end up (below), as of Sunday morning:

ProgressFGFFSFLabIndsAAA-PBPGreenSoc Dem
Carlow-Kilkenny5/5221
Cavan-Monaghan1/41
Clare2/411
Cork East4/41111
Cork North-Central1/41
Cork North-West3/312
Cork South-Central2/42
Cork South-West3/3111
Donegal1/51
Dublin Bay North0/5
Dublin Bay South0/4
Dublin Central3/3111
Dublin Fingal2/511
Dublin Mid-West4/41111
Dublin North-West2/311
Dublin Rathdown3/3111
Dublin South-Central3/4111
Dublin South-West5/511111
Dublin West4/41111
Dún Laoghaire4/431
Galway East3/3111
Galway West0/5
Kerry1/51
Kildare North1/41
Kildare South3/312
Laois3/3111
Limerick City4/41111
Limerick County3/321
Longford-Westmeath1/41
Louth0/5
Mayo1/41
Meath East3/321
Meath West3/3111
Offaly3/3111
Roscommon-Galway3/312
Sligo-Leitrim0/4
Tipperary1/51
Waterford4/41111
Wexford3/5111
Wicklow3/5111
Total95/158282813414413
My callFGFFSFLabIndsAAA-PBPGreenSoc Dem
Carlow-Kilkenny221
Cavan-Monaghantight FF/FG121
Clare211
Cork East1111
Cork North-Central1111
Cork North-West12
Cork South-Central121
Cork South-West111
Donegal1211
Dublin Bay North1112
Dublin Bay SouthSF transfers
decide last seat
between FF and Lab
211
Dublin Central111
Dublin Fingal11111
Dublin Mid-West1111
Dublin North-Westtight FF/FG111
Dublin Rathdown111
Dublin South-Centralclose between
FF and AAA-PBP
1111
Dublin South-West11111
Dublin West1111
Dún LaoghaireFG Ceann Comhairle
automatically returned
31
Galway East111
Galway WestFG have chance
of getting one
of two Ind seats
1112
Kerry1112
Kildare North121
Kildare South12
Laois111
Limerick City1111
Limerick County21
Longford-Westmeath1111
Louth212
Mayo22
Meath East21
Meath West111
Offaly111
Roscommon-Galway12
Sligo-Leitrimclose between
FF and FG
121
Tipperary113
Waterford1111
Wexford2111
Wicklow2111
Total484524723623

Those numbers represent a floor for FG and a ceiling for FF. If FG rather than FF wins the marginal seats in Cavan-Monaghan, Dublin North-West and Sligo-Leitrim, and FG hold off the second independent in Galway West while FF lose to Labour in Dublin Bay South and to the AAA-PBP coalition in Dublin South-Central.

Then the margin between the two parties will be not three seats but twelve; either outcome, or anything in between, is a decent result for a gap of only 1.2% in first preferences.

Assuming that Fine Gael does not immediately decapitate Enda Kenny (who has at least kept them as the largest party), a lot will then depend on his political judgement.

If I was leader of either large party, I think my strategy would be to ensure that there is another election fairly soon that can be blamed on the independent TDs, in the hope that voters will punish them and return to stability.

This has worked before (in 1927, 1943-44, and 1981-82). However, as the New York Times noted yesterday in a different context, times have changed…

Husband, father of three, Irish, European, UK, Belgian citizen, liberal, political analyst, science fiction fan, psephologist, lapsed medievalist, aspiring polyglot.

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