June 6th, 2009


Turnout again

Conall McDevitt has taken me to task for my back-of-an-envelope calculations about the drop in turnout last night. (Incidentally, Conall, I can spell your name correctly; I would appreciate it if you can return the favour.) We now have the full turnout figures for all 18 constituencies, so here they are, ranked by the fall in turnout between the last Euro-election in 2004 and this year's vote, and coloured as to whether the 2001 census found more Catholics or more Protestants in each:

Newry and Armagh 49.1% (-16.9%)
FST 51.5% (-15.2%)
Mid Ulster 52.8% (-12.6%)
West Tyrone 50.3% (-12.1%)
Foyle 44.3% (12.0%)
West Belfast 46.6% ( -10.5%)
North Antrim 43.2% (-10.1%)
East Derry 42.3% (-9.1%)
South Down 45.0% ( -9.0%)
Upper Bann 41.8% (-8.4%)
Belfast North 41.0% (-7.7%)
South Belfast 42.1% (-7.2%)
Lagan Valley 38.9% (-7.2%)
East Belfast 38.8% (-6.1%)
South Antrim 38.0% (-5.8%)
Strangford 34.2% (-5.7%)
East Antrim 34.5% (-4.8%)
North Down 34.5% (-3.5%)

That is not a difficult table to read, even for SDLP supporters, who are habitually prone to wishful thinking; the average fall in turnout in Catholic majority seats is 12.6%, in Protestant majority seats 6.9%. I expect the gap between combined Unionist candidates and combined Nationalist candidates to widen from 2004 (when it was 48.5 to 43.2). I suspect that the intense rivalry between the three Unionist candidates has decreased the usual differential of turnout (Nationalists have been pulling out more of their potential voters at every election since 1996), and the combined Unionist vote will be comfortably over 50% even though it is split three ways. There is therefore no chance of the SDLP winning the third seat. (Incidentally the above figures suggest that the SF vote share will also be down, though word from the tallies is that this is not the case.)

The ask me meme, answered

geekette8 asks two questions:

1. What is your degree(s?) in? Collapse )

2. What is your connection with Northern Ireland such that you ended up standing as a candidate there? Collapse )

cygny asks: I suppose you moved to Belgium for career opportunities. Have you ever regretted that decision? Collapse )

minny asks: If you could be head of any country (ie the one with all the power), which country would you rule? Collapse )

bohemiancoast asks: You are one of the two most effective super-connectors amongst my friends. The other is Jon Singer. Do you two know each other? I know other super-connectors, but not as well. Was this a deliberate choice? A natural tendency? Is it something you work on actively or just the way you are? Do you use tools to help you network? Discuss.  Collapse )

alexmc asks: So do you believe the people you represent are "right" or is it more like a legal advocate: everyone deserves representation?Collapse )

kelvix, thanks for your question; I look forward to answering it in person some day.

Others, feel free to ask.