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Their 24% of the vote is concentrated on 42 candidates which means most of them will get elected on the first count or soon after. FF and FG's 84/82 candidates, by way of contrast shared only 21/22% of the vote and will be relying on lower preference votes to get them across the line - or win the last seat without reaching the quota. The name of the game is not only Maximising first preferences but lower preference as well as other candidates get eliminated or elected (and their surplus over the quota is re-distributed in accordance with their voter's next preferences).

Smaller parties/independents typically only get elected to the last seats by being "transfer friendly" and getting lower preference votes as geographically or ideologically aligned candidates/parties are eliminated. It is part of what makes the Irish system cooperation promoting rather than more divisive and polarising FPTP systems which focus on maximising your base turnout and to hell with cooperating with anyone who votes or stands for anyone else.

Smaller, more centrist parties like the Greens, Labour, and Social Democrats survive and do well because they can attract transfers from both sides of the spectrum. Sinn Fein have traditionally done badly on transfers, being a polarising party, but this time their first preferences are enough to see them home. Nevertheless both FF and FG will probably win more seats despite having a lower first preference vote mainly because Sinn Fein didn't run enough candidates to mop up whatever lower preference votes they might have garnered.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Feb 9th, 2020 at 09:37:03 PM EST
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