The Irish Times view on the Dublin Bay South byelection: transfers will decide it

It appears the real battle for the seat will be between Fine Gael’s James Geoghegan and Ivana Bacik of the Labour Party

Fine Gael candidate James Geoghegan is leading the field on 27 per cent but Bacik is only five points behind on 22 per cent, with Sinn Féin’s Lynn Boylan trailing well back in third place on 13 per cent. Photograph: Leah Farrell / RollingNews.ie

Fine Gael candidate James Geoghegan is leading the field on 27 per cent but Bacik is only five points behind on 22 per cent, with Sinn Féin’s Lynn Boylan trailing well back in third place on 13 per cent. Photograph: Leah Farrell / RollingNews.ie

 

The outcome of the Dublin Bay South byelection is wide open going by the results of an Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI opinion poll conducted in the constituency in recent days. The big talking point is the strong performance of Labour Party candidate Ivana Bacik who is in with a real chance of taking the seat from Fine Gael if she can win enough transfers.

Fine Gael candidate James Geoghegan is leading the field on 27 per cent but Bacik is only five points behind on 22 per cent, with Sinn Féin’s Lynn Boylan trailing well back in third place on 13 per cent. Green candidate Claire Byrne comes next on 11 per cent closely followed by Fianna Fáil candidate Deirdre Conroy on 10 per cent. The other ten candidates have 17 per cent between them.

It appears that the real battle for the seat will be between Geoghegan and Bacik and the result will hinge on which of them can attract the most transfers. Bacik is in a good position to close the gap as the poll shows her attracting half of the second preferences of Social Democrat candidate, Sarah Durcan, and a quarter of Boylan’s number twos.

Geoghegan’s prospects depend on him being able to attract transfers from the other two parties in the coalition. Traditional voting patterns would have given him little chance of achieving this but the poll indicates that he is winning 45 per cent of Conroy’s number twos with the Green candidate’s second preferences split almost equally between him and Bacik. It looks like being a nail biting finish.

A notable feature of the poll is that Geoghegan is trailing the Fine Gael vote in the constituency by a whopping 10 points while Bacik is a full 12 points ahead of the Labour vote. A significant proportion of Fine Gael voters are clearly being attracted to Bacik and that must be a reflection on the party’s decision not to run its former TD Kate O’Connell.

If Fine Gael loses the seat to the Opposition because of poor candidate selection party leader Leo Varadkar will have to take some of the responsibility for the fact that the candidate with the best chance of winning the seat was sidelined.

Dublin Bay South byelection

Full results and analysis
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