Wednesday 24 January 2018

What the votes in the local elections tell us about the next general election

Votes being sorted at the count in the RDS. Photo: Tony Gavin
Votes being sorted at the count in the RDS. Photo: Tony Gavin

Adrian Kavanagh

What would the results of the next general election look like if people vote exactly the same way as they did in Friday’s local elections?

By aggregating the local election results into the different general election constituencies (and allowing for the fact that there are not exact matches between general election and local election constituency areas in a number of cases), some interesting trends emerge here.


CandidatesFine GaelFianna FailLabourSinn FeinGreensInds/Others
Cork East21%28%13%19%1%18%
Cork North-Central20%24%7%23%1%25%
Cork North-West28%27%5%13%1%26%
Cork South-Central25%27%4%19%4%20%
Cork South-West34%29%4%12%1%20%
Dublin Bay North16%20%10%23%4%27%
Dublin Bay South25%15%18%12%10%20%
Dublin Central7%8%11%30%5%39%
Dublin Mid West24%15%11%33%0%17%
Dublin Fingal12%16%14%11%5%43%
Dublin North-West14%15%14%30%4%22%
Dublin Rathdown28%18%14%8%7%25%
Dublin South Central7%9%12%27%4%41%
Dublin South West18%15%11%24%3%29%
Dublin West11%13%10%32%1%32%
Dun Laoghaire28%19%12%8%7%26%
Galway East24%27%5%13%0%31%
Galway West22%26%7%9%1%35%
Kildare North23%28%17%7%3%22%
Kildare South25%30%11%14%0%20%
Limerick City27%22%13%16%0%22%
Limerick County31%33%0%13%0%23%
Meath East23%27%4%16%0%30%
Meath West23%29%8%20%0%20%


In a number of these general election constituency areas, the combined votes won by Independents and the Others groupings would be on a par with those won by the larger parties. Indeed, the Independents and the Others groupings would emerge as the largest political grouping in a number of these constituency areas, including Dublin Central, Dublin Fingal, Dublin South Central and Wicklow. 

Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin would be faring strongly in a number of these constituencies also, although the Sinn Féin voting in some of these areas would not be as striking as some of their local election constituency results, in part reflecting the fact that they ran much fewer candidates than did Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil in these elections.

By contrast, the high support levels attributed to the Independents and the Others groupings are a reflection of the large number of candidates associated with these groupings, which in turn pushed up their overall votes if not necessarily their likelihood of translating these large vote numbers into similarly large shares of the overall seat numbers. Labour are seen to be struggling to win a sufficient number of votes in a number of these constituency areas, although it must be recognised that the party did not contest all of the local election constituencies (Labour did not contest 29 constituencies) and this does have a bearing somewhat on that party’s overall seat numbers.

Indeed, given that the party ran candidates in all of the electoral areas (and ran multiple candidates in most of these with the exceptions of Ballyfermot-Drimnagh, Tallaght South, Waterford City South and Arklow) the constituency support estimates here for Fine Gael must be viewed as especially disappointing, leaving that party overshadowed somewhat by Fianna Fáil in this analysis. The Greens recovery at these local elections would not translate into Dáil seat gains based on these figures, but the party would be competitive at least in a number of constituencies, such as Dublin Bay South.



Cavan-Monaghan12 1 
Clare12  1
Cork East12  1
Cork North-Central11 11
Cork North-West11  1
Cork South-Central11 11
Cork South-West11  1
Donegal 2 12
Dublin Bay North11 12
Dublin Bay South111 1
Dublin Central   12
Dublin Mid West1  21
Dublin Fingal 11 3
Dublin North-West 1 11
Dublin Rathdown11  1
Dublin South Central   22
Dublin South West11 12
Dublin West   22
Dun Laoghaire21  1
Galway East11  1
Galway West12  2
Kerry11 12
Kildare North111 1
Kildare South11  1
Laois11  1
Louth11 21
Limerick City11 11
Limerick County11  1
Longford-Westmeath12  1
Mayo21  1
Meath East11  1
Meath West11 1 
Offaly11  1
Roscommon-Galway11  1
Sligo-Leitrim12  1
Tipperary21  2
Waterford11 11
Wexford12  2
Wicklow11 12


Translating these constituency support figures into support estimates brings some chilling news for the government parties – on the basis of this analysis Fine Gael would stand poised to lose well over half of the seats numbers won by them at the 2011 election, while Labour would be left with just four seats in the Carlow-Killkenny, Dublin Bay South, Dublin Fingal and Kildare North.

Both Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil would be well placed to make seat gains here, with the latter party faring stronger based on its stronger local election showing. The biggest political grouping on a strict application of the vote numbers into seat estimates would be the Independents and Others groupings. Of course, the seat estimate here would be severely under-estimated, given that the constituency votes are being driven in a large part by the large number of candidates associated with these different groupings.

But these figures do underpin the potential for significant gains – albeit not as dramatic as outlined here – on the part of this grouping with these coming mainly from the government parties. At this stage, now that we are counting down months and not years until the next general election, it is obvious that the government parties – if they wish to retain power at the next election – need to make up ground and to do so fast!

Online Editors

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Also in this section