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Irish General Election Results (Updated)

by Frank Schnittger Mon Feb 28th, 2011 at 09:10:00 AM EST

The Irish General Election is over bar the counting in the three large 5 seater constituencies of Galway West, Laois/Offaly and Wicklow where recounts have been ordered because candidates are separated by a mere handful of votes. Depending on the number of further recounts requested, it could take another couple of days before these results are finalised. These constituencies are devilishly difficult to call (more anon) but my best guess of the final outcome is as follows:

Update [2011-3-1 4:43:54 by Frank Schnittger]: All counts have now been completed although there is a recount in Galway west because Catherine Connolly a former Labour member running as an independent candidate lost by 17 votes out of over 60,000 cast. Many of those votes determining the outcome could have been 10th. or more preferences! As it happens, I got all my last three constituency predictions right, but as I said above, these things can be devilishly difficult to call. Independent Stephen Donnelly defeated John Brady (Sinn Fein) by 100 votes in Wicklow. As it happens, Stephen met with my mother-in-law's active retirement group a few days ago where he received a very positive reception. Given the way these active retirees network and vote, that one meeting may have made the difference! [End Update]

So what are the main conclusions we can draw from the results table above?


The Fianna Fail vote has imploded from 42 to 17%, and its seat numbers have fallen even more dramatically from 77 to 20.  This greater fall in seat numbers was for three main reasons:

  1. Fianna Fail has lost the slight seat bonus which larger parties typically get from the Irish Single Transferable Vote multi seat constituency system.

  2. This has been an "anybody but Fianna Fail" election and even Sinn Fein (traditionally the most transfer toxic party) has gotten a higher proportion of lower preference votes which typically determine the final distribution of seats in a constituency.

  3. Fianna Fail split its first preference vote between too many candidates who then did not transfer to the remaining FF candidate in sufficient numbers on elimination.  This is because many of those who did vote for an FF candidate did so on a purely personal or local loyalty basis, and then didn't give their second and third preferences to other FF candidates on the ballot.  When their favoured candidate was eliminated, that vote was then lost to FF, and either became non-transferable or transferred to another party/candidate.

Fine Gael did well despite getting slightly less first preferences than indicated by the last opinion and exit polls. Many have interpreted that slight decline as a sign that some of its potential supporters were unsure about the prospect of a single party Fine Gael Government which was being very much hyped by the Independent group of newspapers.  It got an enormous seat bonus for precisely the opposite reasons to what exacerbated FF's decline: It was by far the largest party, got the largest number of lower preference votes, and managed that vote very effectively by having precisely the right number of candidates in most constituencies and who transferred well to each other on elimination (or their surplus on election).

I will illustrate these points with respect to a specific constituency in a later diary, but for now suffice to note that Fine Gale managed to get roughly the same number of seats with 36% of the first preference vote as Fianna Fail did with 42% in 2007. To put it another way - Fine Gael got almost four times as many seats as Fianna Fail with only twice their number of first preference votes. "Vote management" doesn't get much better than this.

Labour almost doubled its vote and seats and also did well on the transfer of lower preference votes. Sinn Fein more than tripled its seats on a mere 3% increase in votes because it lost its transfer toxicity to Fianna Fail and also reached a critical mass of support in many constituencies.  The Greens, conversely, lost the critical mass required to retain a seat although a couple of their more prominent candidates almost managed to buck the national trend.

The results were broadly consistent with the opinion polls and the exit poll issued in the days and weeks coming up to the election.

Comparing the results with my prediction of last Tuesday yields the following comparison:

The predictions are quite accurate but underestimated the degree to which Fianna Fail would damage its seat return through an inability to attract lower preference votes and running too many candidates. Sinn Fein's improved ability to attract lower preference votes meant that it dramatically improved its return of seats.

Independents also did remarkably well and their 19 seats include 5 for the hard left United Left Alliance which previously had no seats. The preponderance of left wing and ex-Fianna Fail members amongst the independents may have been a significant factor in persuading Enda Kenny, Leader of Fine Gael, to pursue the option of a Fine Gael Labour coalition as opposed to a minority Fine Gael Government with independent support.

As I wrote in my last diary, 75 seats was the absolute minimum that might make such an option feasible but it would hardly represent the stable option that many voters voted for.  The exit poll, in particular, showed the Fine Gael Labour option to be the most preferred option for the next Government.  Some Labour leaders have shown an awareness that leading the opposition would be in the party's on best interest but claim to be determined to join a coalition government "in the National Interest".

It is remarkable the degree to which Labour leaders are prepared to subjugate their party's best interests to the national interest and I doubt the nation will reward them for it at the next election.  Of course any suggestion that labour leaders are motivated by the "Mercs and Perks" of office would be entirely scurrilous.

For those interested in following the remaining counts or looking at how the transfer patterns worked out in each constituency, this RTE site gives an excellent presentation of the detailed counts. My summary table of constituency results (including my prediction for the three remaining constituencies to be declared) is below.

Sinn Fein may pick up another seat in Wicklow (at the expense of independents or Labour) and Labour is still in with a chance of a seat in Laois Offaly, probably at the expense of Fianna Fail or Sinn Fein.

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European Tribune - Irish General Election Results
Some Labour leaders have shown an awareness that leading the opposition would be in the party's on best interest but claim to be determined to join a coalition government "in the National Interest".
Labour in opposition might also be "in the National Interest", depending on Fine Gael's position on the bailout.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 28th, 2011 at 09:08:14 AM EST
It is difficult to detect any day light between Labour and Fine Gael's position on the renegotiation of the "bail-out".  Both want to reduce the interest rate.  Labour wants a slightly longer period of adjustment for fiscal consolidation, and Labour wants a 50:50 split between expenditure cuts and tax increases whereas Fine Gael wants a higher proportion of expenditure cuts to tax increases.  It wouldn't take a genius to split the differences and come up with (say) a one year extension of the ECB/IMF plan to reach a 3% Government deficit, and a (say) 60:40 split of public expenditure cuts and tax increases.

Although Labour has paid lip service to the difficulty of Ireland achieving the growth rates assumed in the plan, in practice both are married to the overall assumptions underlying the plan.  

My only hope is that (with FG's good EPP connections) the Government will be in a better position to negotiate and perhaps also achieve some recognition within the EU of the need for reflationary investment measures if the projected growth rates are to be even remotely achievable.

Their refusal to use the D(efault) word should be worth something in terms of achieving greater market confidence and Eurozone political stability.  But will Merkel be in a position to recognise that the downside risks are worth mitigating?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Feb 28th, 2011 at 09:24:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The brief conversation I had with Burton suggests that Labour know perfectly well that the outcome of the current "plan" is default, and that renegotiation is a necessity. I get the impression that ongoing renegotiation may be the plan. I'm not sure why.

If you're stuck in a place where achieving the right thing is politically impossible, I  guess you have to try  a holding action in the hope that the EU will do the right thing after it exhausts all the other possibilities.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 1st, 2011 at 03:45:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
.... 25% "revenue" increases and 40% "revenue" increases comes from property taxes and the water charge, both of which the IMF likes. 15% less of the austerity coming from "revenue" instead of spending cuts and the austerity spread over three rather than two years would be Labour's trumpeted benefit for going into coalition.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Mar 1st, 2011 at 04:41:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... the best headlines might be the percentage of spending saved from the razor gang, the best defense against the adverse impact of the austerity would be the longest possible stretch out of the fictitious arrival at the target budget deficit (which will of course recede in the event, due to the negative economic impact of the austerity).

The longer the stretch out, the more opportunity also to investigate into and publicize which core EU economy banks made which loans under which reckless terms, to turn up the heat inside the core EU political systems.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Mar 2nd, 2011 at 12:01:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The RTE site seems to have been taken down.  Hopefully they will continue to do updates of constituencies where the recounts are taking place.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Feb 28th, 2011 at 10:01:16 AM EST

New independent TD Mick Wallace is a developer who owes €40M to the banks and is also manager of the Wexford Youths soccer team.  He doesn't own a suit and has criticised the Dail dress code saying he won't wear a tie.

He has, however promised to take a shower before attending the Dail.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Feb 28th, 2011 at 01:51:35 PM EST
It is rumoured that Sinn Fein and the Greens are planning to merge.  The new party will be called Guns & Roses...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Feb 28th, 2011 at 01:54:38 PM EST
Will they last more than 40 seconds?
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Feb 28th, 2011 at 02:05:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think it will be sustainable...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Feb 28th, 2011 at 02:13:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... you are saying that the Greens appetite for the unsustainable may have waned?

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Mar 1st, 2011 at 03:20:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Greens themselves became unsustainable..

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Mar 1st, 2011 at 03:56:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... if someone wants to vote for someone with vaguely progressive politics but willing to hop into bed with one of the neolibs to gain political office ... that's what the Irish Labour Party is for.

Why'd the Greens think there was a political space for a "Principled Progressive" party without the Principles?

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Mar 1st, 2011 at 04:02:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
you have to understand that the Greens were regarded as a slightly otherworldly vegetarian sandal wearing group of tree huggers and they desperately wanted to be taken more seriously by the people they thought mattered.  They managed some influence on policy.  Unfortunately not enough to justify their involvement in Government.  They never did have a heavyweight alternative economic philosophy in the first place - although Chris Cook may disagree as he has some contacts with Richard Douthwaite, one of their economists.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Mar 1st, 2011 at 04:18:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... the Democrats in Oz were famously blasted by a dismissive Labor pollie as, to paraphrase, playing with the fairies by the garden gate, and then took their balance of power position in the Senate to be quite serious and grown up and agree to a VAT, at which point they imploded.

But that is a forensic understanding as opposed to support ~ I'd have been on the side of whatsisname who opposed the deal.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Mar 1st, 2011 at 04:45:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank Schnittger:
They never did have a heavyweight alternative economic philosophy in the first place - although Chris Cook may disagree as he has some contacts with Richard Douthwaite, one of their economists.

Richard is a good man, and his analysis as to the economic problems we face is good, but his proposed solutions were and are crucially flawed, and unimplementable.

And moreover, while his integrity is beyond question, the same could not be said of at least one of his colleagues, which led to a parting of the ways between us.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Tue Mar 1st, 2011 at 08:49:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Live - Election Count - RTÉ News
2032 Dick Roche was not present for the announcement of his elimination in Wicklow, which was greeted with loud applause and cheering.

---snip

2025 A spokesman for Dick Roche said the Fianna Fáil candidate was very disappointed at the outcome of the ballot in Wicklow, but did not rule out further challenges.

David Grant said the party would have representatives monitor the count as it continues in Greystones, and 'see if there are options open at some point later in the count'.

It is understood the only further option open to the Roche camp is to mount a legal challenge.

Mr Roche's running mate, Pat Fitzgerald, repeated that he didn't agree with the decision by Mr Roche to seek a recount in the first place.

Mr Fitzgerald was three votes ahead of Dick Roche at the end of the 13th count last night.

It is understood the gap may have widened in favour of Mr Fitzgerald in today's proceedings.

Pat Fitzgerald said he wasn't confident of securing a seat.

I wasn't at the count so I can't be sure why his elimination was greeted with cheering. As he was only 3 votes behind his party colleague, Pat Fitzgerald, it is understandable that he would want to have the votes rechecked.  Perhaps it is considered bad form to appeal when the person above you is a party colleague.  Perhaps there was an impatience because neither are thought to have a significant chance of winning a seat in any case.

Despite having held several cabinet and other offices, Dick Roche was never particularly popular in Wicklow, particularly outside his bailiwick of Bray in the north east of the constituency. See my video interview with him if you want to know why.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Feb 28th, 2011 at 04:09:23 PM EST
... looking at the count with fresh eyes, without the assumptions that the Fianna Fail pollies brought into it from previous elections, it was reasonably clear they were both toast and the only issue being decided by a recount was who would be excluded first, and so a monumental waste of time.

Those who had tallymen at the count would have been even better able to judge how much ex-party leakage there was in the Fianna Fail vote in that constituency: you see enough first preferences for someone from a party with no preference for the running mate, you'd know what was coming.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Mar 1st, 2011 at 03:26:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
His running mate had already conceded and regarded the recount as a waste of time.  Joe Behan, the Independent, had been an FF TD until he resigned from the party last year.  Between the three of them they had more than a quota, but there was never any party solidarity between them so it wasn't even close.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Mar 1st, 2011 at 03:59:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... Fitzgerald, who'd conceded the inevitable, ending up even more votes ahead of Dick Roche, who was only delaying the inevitable.

Though as it ended up, it might have been a wash after all, since when the SF Brady said he'd call for a recount, the returning officer said there'd only be a recount from the end of the 13th count, the first 13 already having been recounted, and with that in mind Brady withdrew the request for a recount.

Of course, Brady looks a young fellow, so he'd not want to rile people up, while D. Roche is getting on and despite having topped the poll in 2007 may not have another chance.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Mar 1st, 2011 at 04:09:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Newly elected independent Luke Ming Flanagan is a marijuana smoker.  Apparently the Dail phone system has now been updated to take account of the new members. To contact Ming, please press the hash key...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Feb 28th, 2011 at 07:05:52 PM EST
Taoiseach elect, Enda Kenny, has enquired about using Twitter to reform the Dail. Apparently he wants to reduce it to 140 characters...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Feb 28th, 2011 at 09:30:22 PM EST
What timespan is usual for coalition talks?

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Mar 1st, 2011 at 03:37:04 AM EST
A while?

The expectation is that there will be a Labour special delegate conference on Sunday to ratify the agreement, so it needs to be done by then - and there are EU meetings shortly so the government needs to be in place for that.

I'd guess Thursday.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 1st, 2011 at 03:41:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Emergency EU summit on the 11th.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 1st, 2011 at 05:06:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In the end the traditional Irish party constellation is largely intact.

If Fianna Fail retain the status of official opposition they can hope to move back into second place at the next general election. If that is what happens then the 31st Dail can be seen as an anomaly, not a major realignment.

by Gary J on Tue Mar 1st, 2011 at 07:02:38 AM EST
... post-vote commentary in the pre-vote diary whether there could be an "Accord" between Sinn Fein and a technical group of left wing independent / socialist splitters to claim the leadership of the opposition.

They will in any event be denying Fianna Fail the oxygen that goes with strong opposition to unpopular measures, since the unpopular measures will be watered down versions of Fianna Fail policies while in government, but if they can deny Fianna Fail leader the mantle of leader of the opposition, the question arises whether a party that has long ago sacrificed all principles apart from doing what is needed to gain and hold power offers to voters in an election where it has no prospect of gaining power.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Mar 1st, 2011 at 03:16:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect the various left groups are too fractious to align with Sinn Fein, but I would expect to see a strong left technical group emerging which may morph into a party around the ULA grouping - which is itself only a technical group at this stage.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Mar 1st, 2011 at 04:09:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, the Accord would want to be defined on a narrow range of issues, but which narrow range of issues would work would seem likely to vary between the Militant tendency, the PBP and the expansive New Vision contingent.

Its certainly safer to use that fact of agreement in opposition to government policies to help drown out Fianna Fail.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Mar 1st, 2011 at 04:14:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... and it ought to go in the results diary.

The Guardian blogs provides this offering from Nicholas Watt, Nick Clegg provides a model and a warning for Ireland, which is a load of codswallop, as if the Irish political party with the most experience of getting into bed with the enemy in pursuit of political office needs to be schooled by from such naive newcomers to the process as the Lib-Dems.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Mar 1st, 2011 at 04:53:06 PM EST
There once was a lady called Eames,
of a seat in Dáil Éireann she dreams,
she called a recount,
so now there's no doubt,
"I'm stuck in the Seanad!" she screams

RT @notthenewsire: Fine Gael and Labour discuss how best to break promises made to electorate tinyurl... #ge11 #wk #ireland #lab #fg #gyw

RT @efferal: Rumours abound that Jane Russell hung on til it had been confirmed that Dick Roche had lost his seat, then passed away peacefully #wk #ge11

RT @Rathbaner: #ge11 #wk Returning officer has ordered a wooden stake and a hammer be brought to count centre in an effort to eliminate Dick Roche #vinb


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Mar 1st, 2011 at 11:54:01 PM EST
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Mar 2nd, 2011 at 04:50:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Taking a wrong turn: new Fine Gael deputy begins career with a bump - The Irish Times - Thu, Mar 03, 2011
The Fine Gael deputy for Dún Laoghaire had mistakenly driven on to the plinth at the front of Leinster House and then drove down the steps towards the exit gate.

Unfortunately for her, photographers and cameramen captured her mistake as they gathered at the gates waiting for Fine Gael and Labour negotiators.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Mar 3rd, 2011 at 06:01:18 AM EST
Maybe James Bond car chase jokes, instead?

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 3rd, 2011 at 06:16:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Fianna Fail drove the country's economy off a cliff. We promise to only drive it down some steps."

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Mar 3rd, 2011 at 10:58:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]

A couple of websites held simulated votes to test opinions amongst their user base.

Ballotbox.ie was an initiative by irish emigrants in Canada (rightly) annoyed that Irish emigrants lose their Irish vote as soon as they leave the country.  (Many EU countries allow their passport holders resident abroad to vote for quite a long tome post emigration). They used IP addresses and requested Passport numbers to prevent non Irish or those resident in Ireland form voting.

Boards.ie is an Irish current affairs community blog.

I wonder will Labour in Government push for votes for emigrants?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Mar 3rd, 2011 at 05:12:44 PM EST
Some hard data confirming the breakdown in Internal FF party discipline (FF voters transferring from one FF candidate to another) and the degree to which party supporters transferred to other parties when their own party candidate was eliminated.  FF still has the highest proportion of "plumpers" - i.e. voters who vote fr their party candidates and no one else - resulting in their votes becoming non-transferable when all FF candidates eliminated.

2011 election: transfer patterns reveal more about Fianna Fáil's electoral meltdown « politicalreform.ie

Table 1: Levels of internal party loyalty (intermediate transfers that stay within party ranks)

2011 

%

2007 

%

Fianna Fáil 58.2 66.9
Fine Gael 66.8 64.3
Labour 56.3 43.7
Greens n.a. 61.1
Sinn Féin 57.6 n.a.

Source: RTE election results service

Table 2: Destination of inter-party (terminal) transfers in 2011

FF 

%

FG 

%

Lab 

%

GP 

%

SF 

%

Non-trans 

%

FF 20.7 16.9 n.a. 9.0 36.3
FG 25.1 27.8 2.7 5.3 22.7
Lab 10.7 35.8 2.0 9.4 19.5
GP 14.8 34.1 21.5 1.9 14.9
SF 10.8 19.9 23.4 0.9 28.3

Source: RTE election results service



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Mar 4th, 2011 at 06:25:14 PM EST


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