Although there is still much to be revealed about these elections, in particular, who will win the eleven European seats that can be filled immediately and who will win the two awaiting events in the UK, there seems to be little doubt about some of the major trends.
Most notably, we have the second coming of the Green Party, which seems to be close to second place in Europeans and is likely to be a more formidable force in various local authorities. Suddenly, it is also at stake in the negotiations that will inevitably follow the next general election.
Great decisions were made by the party in 2007 and these did not work out, but they can not be avoided because of this. The second is that the FG and the FF are closely matched in the local elections and, although it remains to be seen as the biggest party, there will not be a clear winner.
On the European front, FG should repeat its strong performance in 2014, and in that arena, there is a clear winner. Sinn Féin did not have a good election, again, neither in local nor European, while the return of Labor is not apparent.
There appear to be large differences in party performance in the two sets of elections. This is far from unprecedented, but the fluidity of partisan loyalties is more marked than ever.
According to the RTE exit survey, one in two voters supported a candidate from different parties in their first two preference votes. This is considerably more than the 38 per cent who did it in 2014, 41 per cent in 2009 and the 42 per cent who did it in 2004, when these two sets of elections were held together.
After massive changes in party support after the crash, some saw signs of a new balance being established, albeit with FF as no longer dominant. However, Friday's vote suggests that we may be entering an era of even more changes.
Table 1 shows the results of the survey for local and European elections, and the movements in voter bodies that underlie the differences between the two.
The results of the course may be slightly different, but there is no reason to think that this invalidates the standards we see underlying them. One way to see the results is to ask how the parties compared in terms of the number of voters who attracted in at least one of the contests.
The FG does well in this regard, attracting more than one in three voters. This points to a considerable reservoir of support, but the challenge of FG will be to mobilize this next time. We can also see that a much smaller number, less than 1 in 6 voters, was willing to vote in GF in both elections.
Your current position for the next election is in the twenties in this survey, and in many recent ones.
The FF reservoir is smaller, with 27%, with just over a third of them voting for the FF in both elections. SF and the Greens seem fairly balanced with 17 percent support in either one this time, but only 8 and 7 percent, respectively, giving each party both votes.
In 2014 Independents had the most potential support and remain a very significant force, with 31% voting independently on Friday.
This group does not seem so strong in terms of support in a hypothetical general election, but when the time comes, independents are expected to raise that number up. There is also a significant body of support for other small parties, all pointing to a growing fragmentation of the party system.
We can see this further, exploring stability by party according to the intentions of voting in the next election. FG, SF and the Greens show a similar pattern: about 55 percent of their vote in the general election gave consistent support, with local and European support evenly distributed.
The FF and the Independents did not mobilize this consistent support, and both were more successful in getting "their" support from the locals. We saw the same pattern for the independents in 2014, but in this set of elections the FF got almost two thirds of its voters to support them in the two elections, as well as the SF. Overall, however, all parties saw fewer of those who said they would vote for him in a general election willing to do so in places and Europeans.
Another apparent trend is the likely success of many women candidates, particularly on the European stage. It is possible that the majority of Irish MEPs by 2019-2024 are women. In a previous TEN article online, I explored the role of women voters in this regard by asking them how much they could choose for a woman instead of a male candidate, and other things being equal.
Based on the RED C / RTE exit poll, it appears that female voters – as in 2014 – show a slight preference for female candidates.
Research indicates that 50 percent of women gave preference to a woman in the European elections, while only 41 percent of men did, a slightly greater difference than was found in the 2014 exit survey of the RTE. This applies to all parties, as shown in Figure 2. This also applies to the second preferences.
The disadvantage of this for women candidates is that this implies that men were less to support women, if for small margins. But usually there are more male voters.