Election 2015: FG will be largest party - but make-up of government remains a mystery
It's now when, not if, the 2015 General Election will be called, and previewing the next Dáil is the blood sport of choice for anoraks like me.
National opinion polls can't detect or assimilate the idiosyncrasies of 40 individual constituency contests - that's why parties have privately conducted their own secret research of sample ballot papers in recent months.
Even sophisticated computer software can't unravel each parochial battleground. The strengths of parties are directly attributable to the loyalty and affiliation of voters and to the personality of the local TD. Generic opinion polls that group "Independents" together vary across the country: to assess the composition of the 32nd Dáil, you've to work on basis of the sum of the parts.