Kerry South Constituency Poll2011.02.18
Independents dominate constituency, but Fine Gael take the honours.
This Kerry South constituency poll, conducted by RED C for the Irish Examiner, confirms the national trends which point to gains for both Independent candidates and Fine Gael at the next election. It is the Independent candidates that dominate voting in this poll, but due to the number of candidates standing, this may end up with them cancelling each other out. Instead the data suggests that Fine Gael, having also seen gains in first preference, are the big winners in the constituency potentially securing two seats.
The results from the poll suggest this will be a very tight race, with several candidates on similar first preference share and 15% still undecided. This means there is certainly still an opportunity for those who currently appear to be missing out.
A large number of independent candidates feature prominently, overall increasing their share of the first preference vote substantially to 39%, compared to just 15% in 2007. This vote is split fairly evenly between Tom Fleming (14%), Michael Healy-Rae (13%) and Michael Gleeson (11%); but it is Fleming, the former Fianna Fáil candidate, that secures the seat in the end as the only candidate that makes quota. This is mainly due to being more transfer friendly from Gleeson next preferences, than Healy-Rae is, and suggests that Michael Healy-Rae could potentially miss out on retaining his father’s seat. This shows how well former Fianna Fáil candidates now running as Independents could do nationally in the election.
For Fine Gael the increase in vote share is not quite as strong as seen nationally, with just a 25% increase in share. However this is enough to see the party take two seats in the constituency because the share for Independents is split across three candidates. Tom Sheahan tales the highest first preference share (16%), with his colleague Brendan Griffin on 15%; however this is not that much higher than the other candidates and suggests they will also need to work hard to hold on to this share come election day. Neither candidate makes quotas but both are elected after the big casualty in the constituency of John O’Donoghue is eliminated in the fifth count.
The Fianna Fail share of the vote in the constituency, in a similar fashion to what the polls are suggesting nationally, is decimated. Of course this is partly due to the move of Tom Fleming to become an Independent candidate. As a result the parties first preference share is down from 41% in 2007, to just 15% predicted by this poll; and would still be down significantly even if Flemings first preference was added back in.
O’Donoghue himself secures all of the parties 15% share, but this is still down from the 23% he achieved at the last election. Ultimately he is still in the running for a seat with this share, but Fianna Fáil are no longer transfer friendly and he suffers from only getting a very poor transfer from Gleeson.
Labour does relatively poorly in the constituency, particularly when compared to their national gains in the polls. Marie Maloney starts the count still very much in the mix, with 15% share of first preference; but she doesn’t pick up good transfers from either Gleeson or Healy-Rae, and as a result is eliminated on the fifth count.