The big day is here and voters in Kells go to the polls in an effort to replace FG TD Shane McEntee who passed away in 2012. McEntee garnered 20% of the first preference vote and FG over all closed with 41% of the FPV. This was a reversal from the 2007 vote which saw FF take 43% of the FPV
For some unknown reason there have been no decent polls run in the area, so we can't get into the fascinating discussion on the differences in voting patterns in Kilmore and Trohanny.
The bookies have it neck and neck at 5/6 for both Helen McEntee (FG) and Thomas Byrne (FF).
SF's Darren O’Rourke thinks we're all loons and that the "strong feedback" his party have is that this is a neck and neck race between him and Byrne. Let's all remember that when the final numbers are in. It sounds delusional on the face of it to be claiming he's going to have at least tripled SF's single digit result from 2011 by the end of the day.
Byrne getting his odds down that much is really pretty impressive. Not only do FG have the most recent background of 41% of the FPV, they've also got coalition partner Labour's transfers (from the no chancer Eoin Holmes) to fall back on (Lab polled 21% in the last election). A spanner was thrown in the works yesterday though with the Labour party on the ground not making the right noises about transfers.
McEntee Sr was a 2 term TD, FG are still top in the national polls, the party(should) just have to consolidate the 62% FPV available to them in order to win as FF may still have transfer issues. Like Crawley in the UK, anything less than a win for FG today would be seen as a major blow.
A win for FF would be a huge boost to Martin, a single digit polling for Labour (Halving it's FPV from 2011) will call for a rethink on the way they're working in govt. A loss would also be a blow for Kenny who's been on the ground actively pushing hard for this. On the flip side of course, a win for FG will just lead to people saying "Well they were expected to weren't they?"
FF and Fine Gael vying for top spot in Meath East byelection - Political News | Irish & International Politics | The Irish Times - Wed, Mar 27, 2013
By-election gets bitter as Labour attacks Taoiseach - Independent.ie