The (almost) final countdown #GE11

Full results, as far as we can tell at this stage (differences from my predictions of yesterday are in bold; cf also my predictions of Friday). NB that four seats are still counting. Apologies for length, but this is dramatic stuff.

  Fianna Fáil Fine Gael Labour Sinn Féin Green Others Comments
Carlow-Kilkenny 1 3 1 My first prediction was right; FF unable to take second seat by 790 votes to third FG.
Cavan-Monaghan 1 3 1 Underestimated FG, overestimated SF ability to take second seat (FG win by 530 votes).
Clare 1 2 1 0 Independents not as transfer-friendly as Labour, contrary to my expectations, by wide margin.
Cork East 0 2 1 1 SF astonishingly pulled in better transfers than FF to take last seat by 650 votes.
Cork North Central 1 1 1 1 Last seat decided by only 280 votes, but between two FG candidates.
Cork North West 1 2 One constituency where result was in line with both my predictions.
Cork South Central 2 2 1 Got this one right too (second time round)
Cork South West 0 2 1 Should have stuck with my first take on this one as Labour pulled ahead of FF to take last seat by 599 votes.
Donegal North East 1 1 1 Another one that I called right both times.
Donegal South West 0 1 1 1 Bizarre! FF ahead of both SF and independent on first count, but Mary Coughlan utterly failed to transfer internally and lost out. They had two seats here with over 50% in 2007.
Dublin Central 1 1 1 1 Got this right second time. FF lose last seat to SF by 840.
Dublin Mid West 2 2 Got this right second time. SF lose last seat to FG by 550.
Dublin North 2 1 1 Got this right second time. FF again fail on internal transfers.
Dublin North Central 1 1 1 Got this right second time. Last seat between two FG candidates (and not very close).
Dublin North East 1 2 0 Wrong both times here as second Lab candidate managed to outflank SF on FF and Green transfers!
Dublin North West 2 1 Got this right second time. FG far behind, FF further.
Dublin South 3 1 1 Got this right second time. FF far behind.
Dublin South Central 1 2 1 1 A third constituency that I called correctly both times. FF very far behind for last seat.
Dublin South East 2 2 A fourth one I got right both times. FF again very far off.
Dublin South West 1 2 1 A fifth consituency that I got right both times. FF nowhere.
Dublin West 1 1 1 1 My sixth doubly correct call. FF’s only Dublin seat, by decent margin ahead of Lab second runner.
Dun Laoghaire 2 1 1 And a seventh. FF internal transfers fail again.
Galway East 1 2 1 0 Still counting, but I can’t see Ind overhauling Labour now, though it will be close.
Galway West 1 2 1 1 Also still counting; FG second seat depends on ability to our-balance independents.
Kerry North / West Limerick 1 1 1 Not really close.
Kerry South 1 2 Second ind beats second FG candidate by 920.
Kildare North 2 1 1 FF very far behind second FG.
Kildare South 1 1 1 For once FF transfers work to beat independent (Kennedy) by 997.
Laois-Offaly 1 2 1 1 Still counting, and second FF currently in 6th place behind Labour; given what happened elsewhere (esp Cork South-West) I am changing my prediction.
Limerick City 1 2 1 As predicted both times. (Eighthly.) SF very far behind Lab.
Limerick 1 2 Labour halved 1400 vote difference in first prefs to come within 700 votes of taking FF seat, but not enough. (Ninth.)
Longford-Westmeath 1 2 1 Third FG far behind FF.
Louth 0+CC 2 1 1 Second FG 935 votes ahead of FF for last seat.
Mayo 1 4 Astonishing performance by FG leader. Am not sure that there is any similarly convincing result in 26 counties since 1921.
Meath East 2 1 FF far behind.
Meath West 2 1 Right second time. Lab far behind second FG.
Roscommon-South Leitrim 2 1 FF very far behind second FG.
Sligo-North Leitrim 0 2 1 As with Cork East, SF pulled ahead of FF with transfers, inadequate internal transfers compounded by Labour second prefs.
Tipperary North 1 1 1 FF far adrift of Lab. (Tenth.)
Tipperary South 1 2 Second FG far behind second independent, FF and others nowhere. (Eleventh.)
Waterford 0 2 1 1 FF lose by 970 votes after SF transfers to independent prove decisive.
Wexford 1 2 1 1 636 votes between second and third FG candidates.
Wicklow 3 1 1 0 Still counting here, but looks to me like SF get last seat rather than Independent – unless Labour screw up internal transfers in which case SF and Ind win.
Total 18+CC 76 38 14 0 19  

Well, extraordinary times. Yesterday I thought that my Friday prediction of 21 FF seats was four too low; now it seems it may have been three too high. I suppose I was braced for a certain amount of transfer toxicity in that supporters of other parties would be unlikely to give lower preferences to Fianna Fáil; I wasn’t, however, expecting that supporters of FF candidates would fail quite so dramatically to transfer to their running-mates. So FG get one more seat, and two more for each of Labour, SF and independents on that basis, counting from my reading of the first preferences.

On top of that, Labour are far more transfer-friendly than I expected. As well as the two seats that I though FF would win yesterday, I give them one that I had previously awarded to SF and two that I thought would go to Independents. Finally, SF screwed up in Cavan-Monaghan, giving the well-balanced FG team a third seat, but seem likely to take the spot I thought would go to an independent in Wicklow.

This is an appalling election for Fianna Fáil. In the three contested elections of the 1920s they or their prdecessors were scoring in the mid-20s, in terms of percentage of votes cast. Since they first got into government, then they had dipped just below the 40% mark in the two 1990s elections. To go not just below 40% but below 20% is very hard. What’s even worse is that on the face of it their vote share should have got them 28 or 29 seats. But as I warned, the combination of transfer toxicity from other parties and failure to even keep their own candidates’ votes within the party has exacerbated the meltdown by losing a third of the seats they should have won even after losing more than half of their votes. I don’t like FF, and I have never liked them, but I am human enough to sympathise with the party activists surveying the ruins this evening.

The FG vote share was exceeded by Garret in the three early 1980s elections, though he never managed to translate it into seats to the same extent. (1981: 65 seats on 36.5%, Feb ’82: 63 seats on 37.3%, Nov ’82: 70 seats on 39.2%.) The party’s predecessors also got a slightly higher vote share in the peculiar circumstances of 1922 and 1923. As noted above, Enda Kenny’s performance in winning four out of five seats in Mayo is unprecedented in the 26 counties. (Up North, we have had a few similar cases – SF currently hold five out of six Assembly seats in West Belfast, and five out of five Belfast City Council seats on the Lower Falls.) They have enjoyed an unprecedented seat bonus as well; that vote share should get you 60 seats, not 76! And it has been through judgement as well as luck – look at the careful balancing of their candidates in the constituencies where they have won most seats.

Labour got 19.4% of first preferences to FF’s 17.4%, but will likely end up with literally twice as many TDs. This is extraordinary and demonstrates both the general hostility of the country to the former natural party of government, and the way in which Labour managed to position themselves successfully as everyone’s second-best option. In 1992 they got a slightly higher vote share (19.8%) but only 33 seats; they already have 35 now and I think get three more (Wicklow, Galway East and Laois-Offaly; in the fourth remaining constituency they already have their seat). Their vote share would give them only 32 rather than 38.

SF, interestingly, benefited in a couple of cases from FF’s transfer toxicity but in general end up behind – on that vote share they should expect 16 seats rather than 14. So it would seem that if FF is not in the equation, people who are not already converted to giving SF their #1 find it difficult to give them a lower preference. My expectation is that Adams will flounder in the Dáil. He is an unimpressive public performer, and is out of his depth in Southern politics.

As for the Greens, I have absolutely no sympathy. They went into the 2007 election with three specific pledges (stop the Corrib oil refinery, rerouting the Tara motorway, and stopping the USAF using Shannon airport). I am uninformed about the merits of any of these policy issues, but I think that if you have three specific policies, and then you go into government and fail to achieve any of them, you should expect electoral annihilation, because voters are not idiots, and are not really interested in the theological question of whether you are a knave or a fool.

The Independents got a vote share sufficient for 21 seats, but will win only 19; however since that is essentially the result of two dozen separate races it’s difficult to read much into it (and I have made no attempt to disaggregate the leftish independents from the rest). But if I were FG I would look quite carefully at the option of locking in seven or eight or nine independents to form a single party government, rather than share the spoils from the best election result in 88 years with the resurgent Labour Party.

Anyway, more fun to come as they try to cobble together an administration!

One thought on “The (almost) final countdown #GE11

  1. Yeah, not sure if records exist for the earlier period; and anyway I want a project which I might reasonably get through in a few years!

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