#RealityCheck: Labour Pains - How bad will this election be for Labour?

Almost the entire front bench face losing their seats

Alan Kelly, social housing, figures, new homes, Barry Cowen, local authorities, building

Enviroment Minister Alan Kelly speaking to the media in Dublin | Image: Rollingnews.ie

Make no mistake, this election is all about damage control for the Labour party. 

The dizzy heights of the 'Gilmore for Taoiseach' days and their best ever result in a General Election seem long-distant memories as the junior coalition partners slump in the polls. 

The latest Sunday Business Post/Red C poll gives Labour 8% support, down from the 19.5% it achieved in the last election. 

A constituency analysis of those figures by Adrian Kavanagh of Maynooth University indicates this would give Labour just nine seats in the Dáil, 28 less than in 2011. 

The party is trying to sell itself as the only option to keep Fine Gael in check and is pushing a mantra of stability. 

But many people - particularly in working class areas - feel betrayed by a party that failed to keep its promises in Government. 

"Isn't that what you tend to do during an election?" mused Pat Rabbitte when confronted.

If it is, voters don't seem to be buying it in 2016. 

On the doors

Labour campaigners say they are not getting hatred on the doors. But most people tend to hold their tongue when faced with red-nosed and cold campaigners coming to their door. 

No matter how angry you are it is hard to shout at someone who is clearly risking hypothermia to put a campaign leaflet in your hand. 

The anger towards Labour on social media is far more vitriolic, with people having no problem venting their frustrations from behind a keyboard or anonymous Twitter account. 

One thing most Labour members agree on is the anger that was there during the local elections has gone. 

They were a disaster for the party - and mere mention of the campaign sends Labour eyes looking downwards and prompts shudders from even the most hardcore of the party faithful. 

Numbers - how many seats?

Party members are visibly worried and the demeanor and body language of a lot of the candidates on the election trail is one of imminent defeat. 

Many of them know they're about to lose their seats and still have to put on a brave face while knocking on doors every day. 

A halving of their representation in the Dáil would be a good election for Labour - a sad base to start from. 

Many senior Labour members won't commit to a number, but Alex White has said that 20 seats would be a good result. Looking at the figures now, it may be a great result. 

Ministers face losing their seats

Joan Burton - The Tánaiste faces an uphill battle to retain her seat in Dublin West. Leo Varadkar will top the poll. This was the only constituency in Dublin to retain a Fianna Fáil seat for Brian Lenihan in 2011, and a strong campaign from Jack Chambers will likely see him also get a seat. That leaves Burton, Sinn Féin's Paul Donnelly and AAA-PBP TD Ruth Coppinger fighting for the last two seats. Burton believes she's transfer friendly and will hope that a combination of Leo Varadkar's surplus and the traditional lack of transfers Sinn Féin tend to pick up will see her home ahead of Donnelly. 

Alan Kelly - Tipperary is a tough constituency with 6 outgoing TDs vying for 5 seats this time around. Kelly's national profile should be enough for him to keep his seat, possibly at the expense of Fine Gael.

Brendan Howlin - One of the safest Labour seats, Howlin has been a Wexford TD since 1987 and will be for another five years. 

Jan O'Sullivan - The Limerick City Minister is most at risk from Maurice Quinlivan of Sinn Féin. She has a strong personal vote but may well be unseated if the support for Sinn Féin continues to rise. It's likely between her and Fine Gael's Kieran O'Donnell for the last seat. 

Alex White - One of the most changed constituencies is Dublin-Rathdown, and the area Alex White represented as a Councillor has been removed from the constituency. Shane Ross will top the poll, Alan Shatter will keep his seat and White should claim the third due to the lack of a strong Fianna Fáil candidate or a hard left vote. 

Ministers of State

Ged Nash - Labour feel confident enough to run two candidates in Louth, but Nash is in a personal battle for the last seat. Sinn Féin will likely win two with Gerry Adams' surplus. There's a vote there too for Fianna Fáil. Nash will likely keep his seat at the expense of one of the Fine Gael candidates. 

Kathleen Lynch - Cork North Central is another area that will test whether Labour has any credentials as a left wing party, with Lynch's seat under threat from Mick Barry of the Anti Austerity Alliance. Lynch is a shrewd and down to earth politician, but her fate will lie in whether working class voters see that or broken Labour promises. 

Sean Sherlock - Sherlock topped the poll in Cork East last time out and division within Sinn Féin in the area should fracture the left-wing vote and allow Sherlock to retain his seat. 

Kevin Humphreys - Humphreys is in real danger of losing his seat. Ruairi Quinn's vote here was largely personal and based on character - that could transfer well to Green Party leader Eamon Ryan. Eoghan Murphy (FG) and Lucinda Creighton (Renua) will likely keep their seats - leaving Humphreys battling with Fine Gael's Kate O'Connell, Sinn Féin's Chris Andrews and Fianna Fáil's Jim O'Callaghan for the final seat. 

Aodhán Ó'Ríordáin - There should be a cash prize for correctly guessing the outcome of Dublin Bay North, but Ó'Ríordain is in trouble and he knows it. He has made a number of defeatist remarks already during the campaign, hinting that he won't stay in politics if not re-elected. With Richard Bruton, Finian McGrath, Terence Flanagan, Averil Power, Sean Haughey, Tommy Broughan and a strong Sinn Féin vote, it would be a miracle for Aodhán to keep his seat. 

Ann Phelan - Phelan is in a scrap for the last seat in Carlow-Kilkenny with Sinn Féin's Kathleen Funchion and Patrick McKee of Renua who both polled well in the recent by-election. The national Labour vote will probably decide her fate along with transfers from Fine Gael. 

Live from @ElectionNT