Constituency Electorate Sizes and Quota Estimates for the 2016 General Election

Adrian Kavanagh, 19th February 2016

The Department of Environment has now made available electorate figures for all of the 40 Dail constituencies being contested in next Friday’s (26th February) general election contest. As these stand, numbers on the supplementary register have not been added in to these figures (meaning that electorate sizes will actually be larger on election day). Applying the 2011 General Election voter turnout figures for those constituencies to these numbers, it is possible to get an estimate of the total poll/number of voters in these constituencies and hence get an estimate of the likely size of the quotas in these constituencies.

The approach of applying turnout statistics used here is not especially fine-tuned and cannot/does not take account of territory transfers between counties, in the absence of more finely detailed turnout statistics below the constituency level for the 2011 election. Note that in cases where a new constituency has been formed out of two older constituencies (as with Tipperary, Kerry, Donegal and Dublin Bay North) that the turnout figures used here involves an averaging out of the turnout levels across those two constituencies. The official Laois-Offaly voter turnout figure is applied in the case of both the new constituencies of Laois and Offaly, by contrast.

Constituency Seats Dáil Electors Est. Turnout Est. Quota
Carlow-Kilkenny 5 105,977 74,926 12,488
Cavan-Monaghan 4 89,784 65,273 13,055
Clare 4 82,965 58,656 11,731
Cork East 4 82,566 56,723 11,345
Cork North-Central 4 80,899 56,629 11,326
Cork North-West 3 67,116 49,330 12,333
Cork South-Central 4 83,480 58,937 11,787
Cork South-West 3 62,917 46,621 11,655
Donegal 5 116,680 77,242 12,874
Dublin Bay North 5 106,548 77,780 12,963
Dublin Bay South 4 68,729 41,581 8,316
Dublin Central 3 41,604 25,628 6,407
Dublin Fingal 5 92,895 65,677 10,946
Dublin Mid-West 4 68,940 45,500 9,100
Dublin North-West 3 58,113 39,226 9,807
Dublin Rathdown 3 61,500 43,911 10,978
Dublin South-Central 4 71,385 46,043 9,209
Dublin South-West 5 104,819 70,438 11,740
Dublin West 4 64,180 44,027 8,805
Dún Laoghaire 4* 90,949 64,847 16,212
Galway East 3 68,011 48,628 12,157
Galway West 5 99,290 68,510 11,418
Kerry 5 111,942 82,389 13,732
Kildare North 4 76,835 50,865 10,173
Kildare South 3 58,673 38,489 9,622
Laois 3 62,834 43,732 10,933
Limerick City 4 74,950 50,366 10,073
Limerick County 3 67,002 46,834 11,709
Longford-Westmeath 4 88,247 59,743 11,949
Louth 5 104,198 73,460 12,243
Mayo 4 92,257 68,178 13,636
Meath East 3 64,931 43,114 10,779
Meath West 3 64,070 41,453 10,363
Offaly 3 64,892 45,165 11,291
Roscommon-Galway 3 63,888 50,280 12,570
Sligo-Leitrim 4 94,922 67,110 13,422
Tipperary 5 111,055 83,402 13,900
Waterford 4 81,360 56,301 11,260
Wexford 5 108,877 74,798 12,466
Wicklow 5 97,381 72,841 12,140

 Table 1: Electorate size details for Dail constituencies, in addition to estimated total poll and estimated quota size statistics 

Looking at the details included in Table 1, it can be seen that the constituency that is likely to have the largest quota, by some distance, in this election is Dun Laoghaire, where there is likely to be a quota of more than 16,000 votes. The potential size of this quota reflects the relatively high proportion of Dail electors relative to population within that constituency and its relatively healthy voter turnout level at Dail elections, but also reflects the fact that this four-seat constituency becomes effectively a three-seat constituency in this election due to the automatic re-election of the Ceann Comhairle, Deputy Sean Barrett.

If the constituency voter turnout figures for the 2016 General Election tend to be higher, or lower, than the 2011 figures applied here, then the estimated quota levels for those constituencies will have been, in turn, under-estimated, or over-estimated.

The other constituencies with high estimated quota levels all tend to be high turnout rural constituencies  – all of which would have a relatively high proportion of Dail electors relative to their populations also – including Tipperary, Kerry, Mayo, Sligo-Leitrim and Cavan-Monaghan.

By contrast, the constituency with the lowest estimated quota level in Dublin Central, with the estimate here being nearly 10,000 votes lowest than the estimate for Dun Laoghaire. The small size of the quota here reflects the generally low voter turnout levels associated with this constituency for Dail elections (and the moving out of a number of the highest turnout levels in the old Dublin Central by the 2012 Constituency Commission report is likely to push down the (percentage) Dublin Central turnout level even further). But it also reflects the fact that proportion of Dail electors relative to the population size tends to be lower than for most other constituencies. This may reflect the high level of non-Irish/UK citizens living within this constituency – particularly within the North Inner City area – but also the high levels of residential mobility that are evident within this constituency, meaning that many (usually younger) residents may not be on the electoral register. (Or if they are on the electoral register, they are on the register instead for their “home” constituencies – which is usually somewhere “down the country”.)  These same factors also apply in the case of the other constituencies with much lower than average quota levels – Dublin Bay South, Dublin West, Dublin Mid-West and Dublin South-Central.

As noted above, Table 1 does not include supplementary voter figures/details, but where these are available, these will be factored into the amended version of this table, as shown in Table 2 below.

Constituency Seats Dáil Electors Est. Turnout Est. Quota
Carlow-Kilkenny 5 105,977 74,926 12,488
Cavan-Monaghan 4 89,784 65,273 13,055
Clare 4 82,965 58,656 11,731
Cork East 4 82,566 56,723 11,345
Cork North-Central 4 80,899 56,629 11,326
Cork North-West 3 67,116 49,330 12,333
Cork South-Central 4 83,480 58,937 11,787
Cork South-West 3 62,917 46,621 11,655
Donegal 5 116,680 77,242 12,874
Dublin Bay North 5 106,548 77,780 12,963
Dublin Bay South 4 68,729 41,581 8,316
Dublin Central 3 41,604 25,628 6,407
Dublin Fingal 5 92,895 65,677 10,946
Dublin Mid-West 4 68,940 45,500 9,100
Dublin North-West 3 58,113 39,226 9,807
Dublin Rathdown 3 61,500 43,911 10,978
Dublin South-Central 4 71,385 46,043 9,209
Dublin South-West 5 104,819 70,438 11,740
Dublin West 4 64,180 44,027 8,805
Dún Laoghaire 4* 90,949 64,847 16,212
Galway East 3 68,011 48,628 12,157
Galway West 5 99,290 68,510 11,418
Kerry 5 111,942 82,389 13,732
Kildare North 4 76,835 50,865 10,173
Kildare South 3 58,673 38,489 9,622
Laois 3 62,834 43,732 10,933
Limerick City 4 74,950 50,366 10,073
Limerick County 3 67,002 46,834 11,709
Longford-Westmeath 4 88,515 59,925 11,985
Louth 5 104,198 73,460 12,243
Mayo 4 92,257 68,178 13,636
Meath East 3 64,931 43,114 10,779
Meath West 3 64,070 41,453 10,363
Offaly 3 64,892 45,165 11,291
Roscommon-Galway 3 64,166 50,499 12,625
Sligo-Leitrim 4 95,531 67,540 13,508
Tipperary 5 111,055 83,402 13,900
Waterford 4 81,360 56,301 11,260
Wexford 5 108,877 74,798 12,466
Wicklow 5 97,381 72,841 12,140

Table 2: Electorate size details for Dail constituencies (including supplementary voter numbers, where these are available, in addition to estimated total poll and estimated quota size statistics 

Where figures have been amended to take account of supplementary voter levels, these are highlighted by italics in Table 2 above.

At this point, supplementary voter numbers have only been factored in for parts of the North Midlands/North West constituencies, based on supplementary voter figures for Leitrim, Roscommon and Longford, as reported on the Shannonside Radio webpage (19th February 2016).

The constituencies with the lowest estimated quota levels are probably all likely to have high numbers of voters on the supplement the electoral register, meaning that the gap between these and the constituencies with the highest estimated quota levels will not be as wide, once the supplementary figures are factored in.

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About Adrian Kavanagh

Lecturer in Maynooth University Department of Geography.
This entry was posted in Election data, Voter turnout and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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