For what its worth, here’s my predictions for the Donegal by-election. Voting continues as of time of writing, and the count is scheduled to begin tomorrow at 9AM. No breathtakingly tense coverage this time out, because the result is increasingly beyond doubt.
My prediction of first preference placing:
Pearse Doherty (Sinn Fein) 35-40%
Frank Mc Brearty (Labour) 20-25%
Barry O’ Neill (Fine Gael) 20-25%
Brian O’ Domhnaill (Fianna Fail) 15-20%
Thomas Pringle (Independent) 1-5%
Ann Sweeney (Independent) 0-1%
Lots of room for error there I know, but not in the victor. Doherty is going to walk it and the only question is how many counts it’ll take. I predict three: It’s an outside bet he’d get 50% in the first count and Pringle, then O’ Domhnaill probably won’t have the transfers to get him to the finishing line.
I give the nod to McBrearty over O’ Neill because he was clearly a better candidate then the FG man. One word springs to mind when I think of O’ Neill: “Unimpressive”. Just a very poor candidate for Fine Gael to have run, nowhere near Dail level. McBrearty has a better public profile and that should see him into second (and maybe the Dail in a General election).
O’ Domhnaill might have had a chance at the start but he is toast now. Unelectable. Third has to be the highest he can set his sights.
Pringle, while one of the more honest candidates, will get the usual Independent numbers. Sweeney’s probably still on the ballot cards, so expect her to get a smattering of sympathy votes, that might not break triple figures.
Interesting campaign, and it’ll be fascinating to see how this constituency turns out in an actual general election.