Boylan and Hayes lead the pack in Dublin
FG and SF look safe
Sinn Féin’s Lynn Boylan and Fine Gael’s Brian Hayes are likely to be elected to represent Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke
Lynn Boylan of Sinn Féin and Brian Hayes of Fine Gael look certain to be elected to the European Parliament to represent Dublin, according to the latest Irish Times Ipsos MRBI opinion poll.
The third and final seat looks like being a three-way battle between Mary Fitzpatrick of Fianna Fáil, Eamon Ryan of the Green Party and Emer Costello of the Labour Party.
The poll shows Boylan marginally ahead of Hayes in terms of first preference votes but it is very possible the Fine Gael candidate will actually top the poll when the votes are counted.
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Boylan’s support is heavily concentrated among the poorest DE category of voters where turnout is traditionally lower than from other social groups.
It will be a test of Sinn Féin’s organisation to get out as many of its potential voters as possible.
However, even if there is considerable slippage among her DE supporters Boylan appears to be polling sufficiently well among other categories to be assured of election.
While she does poorly on transfers, the poll indicates that she will have enough first preferences to see her home.
Brian Hayes does best at the other end of the social spectrum. He is strongest among the best off AB voters but is also polling well among middle class C1 voters and skilled working class C2 voters, and so also appears to be assured of a seat.
He is more transfer-friendly than Boylan so he could well be the first elected in Dublin even if he is in second place on the first count.
The battle for the third seat is promising to provide the real drama of the Dublin count.
Mary Fitzpatrick is in third place on the first count on 12 per cent, followed by Eamon Ryan on 10 per cent, Emer Costello on 9 per cent and Nessa Childers on 8 per cent.
Bríd Smith of People Before Profit follows on 7 per cent, with Paul Murphy of the Socialist Party on 6 per cent. Four other candidates are attracting 2 per cent or less.
Given that the margin of error in a constituency poll with a sample of 500 is 4.5 per cent, any change in the order of the chasing pack could have a significant impact on the outcome.
Fitzpatrick has the advantage of being ahead of her main rivals in terms of first preference votes and if that pattern is repeated in the election she will be hard to catch.
It had been assumed that she would not be transfer-friendly but the poll indicates that she is capable to picking up enough transfers to stay ahead of her rivals and could pip Ryan for the seat on the final count.
However, if Ryan or Costello can come in with the same first preference vote as Fitzpatrick either of them could edge the last seat.
Ryan would be the favourite in that situation as Costello has more ground to make up. On the other hand she appears to be doing significantly better than anybody else on Childers transfers.
It is likely that the destination of the final seat will still be in doubt long after the first count is declared next Sunday evening.