So, the counting is done in Dublin West, the winners deemed elected and the business of government formation soon to be underway. Let’s take the time to now look at the count when it came to my own constituency of Dublin West, from beginning to end, in terms of vote share, transfers and how things shook out.
So, let’s begin with the first count:
A massive win for Sinn Fein’s Paul Donnelly gives him a first count election and a surplus of 3730. Fine Gael’s Leo Varadkar can’t breach the quota at the first attempt, and becomes the first sitting Taoiseach to not top the poll at an election. Fianna Fail’s Jack Chambers is marginally down on his 2016 numbers, otherwise is comfortable. The Greens’ Roderic O’Gorman rides big numbers in Castleknock to a provisional fourth. He’s only just ahead of Solidarity-People Before Profit’s Ruth Coppinger, who did what she needed to do with her FPV by staying in contention. Even at this point, it’s clear whomever wins between the two will not breach quota.
From there, it’s also-rans. Labour’s Joan Burton sees her vote collapse to its lowest ever point. Emer Currie does not buck the trend in the constituency for Fine Gael running mates. Aontu’s Edward MacManus just about exceeds his local election numbers, indicating little appeal outside of Castleknock. The Social Democrats’ Aengus O’Maolain is much the same, only doubling his low May 2019 total. Independent Peter Casey somehow managed to get nearly 500 malcontents to vote for him. Independent Stephen O’Loughlin must be dissapointed with the weak showing here. Sean O’Leary was nowhere.
The second count sees the distribution of Donnelly’s surplus, which fall thusly:
Not a huge amount of surprises here, with the vast majority of Donnelly’s transfers going to hard-left Ruth Coppinger, then other left entities like O’Gorman and O’Maolain (and Chambers for some reason). The boost for Coppinger jumps her into a provisional 4th, and with a decent lead over O’Gorman:
Varadkar still not quite there yet, while more likely than ever that Chambers looks like he may have to wait a while to be deemed elected. The three Independents, unable to boost any of the others to the required degree, are all eliminated together, making for a quick third count, with 920 votes transferable. They fall like this:
Would have expected the move to MacManus from Casey’s voters. Interesting here that Coppinger is more transfer friendly than O’Gorman, and opens up a near 1000 vote lead at this point:
Varadkar still not over the line, but only just. Chambers still comfortable. Things in danger of getting beyond O’Gorman here, who really needs some big favours from the remainder of those due to be eliminated. Next up for that is the Social Democrats’ Aengus O’Maolain, who has 1249 votes to play with. 1166 of those were transferable, and they go like this:
O’Gorman becomes more transfer friendly than Coppinger for the first time, cutting her lead by a 100 or so. MacManus does not get enough to save himself, and Varadkar still has to wait. The overall situation:
MacManus of Aontu is the next to go. His 1522 votes turn into 1177 transfers, a fairly substantial amount of non-transferables. Here’s how what is eligible for transfer pan out:
No surprise to see Chambers benefiting the most, sharing the key plank of the Aontu platform. O’Gorman doubles Coppinger’s amount, not what the socialist TD wants to see. More concretely, Varadkar’s wait comes to an end, as he takes the second seat:
Varadkar has only a tiny surplus of 37 votes to give out, too small to have a bearing on the wrong end of the race, so Currie is deemed eliminated. Her transfers wouldn’t be enough to move Burton up, so the one time Tanaiste is eliminated also, and just like that we are on the last count. The remaining surplus/transfers, amounting to 3850, are given out like this:
Though Chambers takes a not inconsiderable chunk, it is O’Gorman who proves to be the most transfer friendly, nearly four times as much as Coppinger. The final result:
Chambers breaches quota and technically leapfrogs Varadkar. More importantly, O’Gorman scorches past Coppinger, taking the last seat with a near 700 vote lead, albeit without reaching quota.
What to read into these results from a purely vote-getting/vote-giving perspective?
Donnelly gathered in the votes from all parts of the constituency, and is an excellent example of Sinn Fein’s general attractiveness this time out. His transfers went as expected, to other left candidates.
Chambers has his core vote, and that’s all he needs, for the moment. He wasn’t very transfer friendly, but he didn’t need to be.
Varadkar has suffered a bit, though the lateness of his election should not be overstated. He had no real surplus to give.
O’Gorman, like so many Greens, rode the wave of being extremely transfer friendly, taking in large amounts of votes from all over the spectrum. He’s a good example of how Ireland’s system benefits those who gravitate to the centre.
Coppinger just couldn’t cut it. Her FPV was fine, but she needed more from everyone else, and but for Donnelly’s surplus she would have been out of contention much sooner.
Burton’s vote collapsed, and she was toxic for transfers. Neither of these things is that surprising. By the time her votes were distributed it stood to reason they would go to O’Gorman.
Emer Currie did better than I thought with her FPV but beyond that was hopeless, just a back-up for Varadkar. As above, by the time her votes were distributed it stood to reason that would go to O’Gorman.
MacManus outdid his local result, and that was about it. Only the Independents – ie Casey – gave him preferences, and that was nowhere near enough to make an impact. Naturally his votes went to Chambers, and also to O’Gorman.
O’Maolain was underwhelming, and his failure to get many transfers from Donnelly was telling. His votes went to the centre-left in O’Gorman and the hard-left in Coppinger, in that order, no real surprise.
Casey struggled from the get-go, and was largely a non-entity. O’Loughlin made next to no impact. O’Leary couldn’t even get 25 votes. Together they showed there is little appetite for an Independent vote in Dublin West, and their own votes mostly went to the similarly underwhelming Aontu.
That’s it for the cold, sterile facts. Once the count is totally over I will offer more general thoughts on Dublin West and the national picture.