This race is done and dusted: FG's young guns will bring Leo to power
On February 18 - 13 weeks ago - I wrote in the Irish Independent: "I believe its Leo's to lose… I would be shocked if Leo does not win". I was accused of supporting and spinning on behalf of Leo. Not true. I simply listened to the class of 2011 - the surge of newly elected Fine Gael TDs who would determine the future direction of the party. I now believe the race is virtually done and dusted. My best guess is Leo will win by 63pc to 37pc.
Predicting who will win the imminent Fine Gael leadership contest amounts to an exercise in adding the sum of the parts together. Even with a 50pc turnout of party members, it is impossible to know how more than 10,000 grassroots activists will vote. The best indicator of their intentions and those of 232 councillors is most likely to be reflected in how the 73 Fine Gael parliamentarians vote.
It's apparent in many constituencies that TDs/senators will do their own thing - irrespective of supporters' views. However, as a crude rule of thumb, it's not unreasonable to assume that each TD has confidence of around a dozen councillors and 300 loyal members. When we get visibility on voting intentions of the parliamentary party individually, you can apply a multiplier effect on the ground. The key to accurate punditry is ascertaining 50 TDs' intentions.