Thursday, April 26, 2007

The dead vote scenario

I posted last May about the possible problems that the excessive amount of 3 seaters in Ireland and FF's dominance of the 2nd seats in such constituencies could pose were their national vote share drop into the mid 30s in terms of percentages. Well, the national vote share scenario may be coming to pass if the MRBI poll is the trend of things. I would expect a lot of senior FF figures who have been asked to share their territory reneging rapidly on any commitments given.

For all the talk about PR being a fair system and proportionate and that ever vote counts, it is all to often overlooked that some votes end up not amounting to be much at all. People readily forget that in multi seat PR-STV elections that there is a significant chunk of votes that is left in the possession of the last person standing without a seat in 3 seaters.

And with a minimal spread of candidates selected to ensure that there is no leakage of votes outside your own party you could see further problems in getting someone who is on less than 80% of a quota elected, especially if their running mate is elected without much of a surplus. This can be almost 20% of the vote in 3 seaters. In 4 seaters this danger figure could be 16% and in 5 seaters 13.3%. In those constituencies the presence of so many other candidates would tend to mean that you should be able to pick up some votes. However in places like Limerick West, and Cork South West it would mean candidates who did relatively well losing out and those are high targets for FG. More significantly it could cause problems for FF in Donegal North East, and Donegal South West, costing them 2nd seats that their high preferences vote share might have lead people to think were safe.

Essentially if the seal on the drum is too tight not alone won't it leak but it won't let in any water either.

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