February 15th, 2017


Interesting Links for 15-02-2017


#AE17 East Antrim: Will DUP or SF lose out?

East Antrim is the coastal strip of the county from Newtownabbey to the Glens. Unionists won only four seats here in 2016 with 69.6% of the vote; Nationalists succeeded in retaining one with 11.9%; and Alliance kept theirs with 14.6%.

2016 result
DUP 11,701 (36.1%, -10.1%) 3 seats
UUP 6,552 (20.2%, +3.3%) 1 seat
UKIP 2,207 (6.8%)
TUV 1,643 (5.1%, +0.5%)
PUP 455 (1.4%)

Alliance 4,747 (14.6%, -0.9%) 1 seat
Green 693 (2.1%, -0.2%)
CCLP 551 (1.7%)

SF 2,633 (8.1%, -0.1%) 1 seat
SDLP 1,229 (3.8%, -0.8%)
2017 candidates
@David Hilditch (DUP)
@Gordon Lyons (DUP)
Stephen Ross (DUP)
@Roy Beggs (UUP)
John Stewart (UUP)
Ruth Wilson (TUV)
Noel Jordan (UKIP)
Alan Dunlop (Conservative)

@Stewart Dickson (Alliance)
Danny Donnelly (Alliance)
Dawn Patterson (Green)
Conor Sheridan (Cross Community Labour Alternative)
Ricky Best (Ind)

Margaret McKillop (SDLP)
@Oliver McMullan (SF)

Five out of six incumbents are standing again, with a DUP retirement. There are fifteen candidates in total, a record shared with East Londonderry and West Tyrone. The DUP are defending three seats with less than 2.2 quotas; the UUP, Alliance and SF are defending their seats with 1.2 quotas, 0.9 of a quota and 0.5 of a quota respectively. So two DUP seats are safe, and so in principle are the UUP and Alliance seats - though frankly I think the latter are taking an unnecessary risk by running two candidates with less than a quota between them.

It's much more difficult to see SF's path to retaining their seat, and my gut feeling is that the last seat will be a Unionist one, with the DUP in a stronger position to hold their third than the UUP are to make a gain (or UKIP, who came within 105 votes of beating SF for the last seat last time). But a lot is going to depend on how the votes balance out between the candidates.


#AE17 Foyle: Can SF hold on to two, or will PBPA lose out?

Foyle is essentially the city of Derry. The Nationalist parties got four seats with 58.5% of the vote last time, boosted by independents who were mostly from a similar part of the spectrum; Unionists got one with 18.5%, and the People Before Profit Alliance broke through to take the last seat with 10.5%.

2016 result
DUP 4737 (11.9%, -6.5%) 1 seat
UUP 1420 (3.6%)
Conservative 36 (0.1%)

Independents 5485 (13.9%)
People Before Profit 4176 (10.5%, +2.5%) 1 seat (+1)
CISTA 259 (0.7%)
Alliance 238 (0.6%, -0.3%)
Green 157 (0.4%)

SDLP 11897 (30.0%, -5.3%) 2 seats (-1)
Sinn Féin 11297 (28.5%, -5.5%) 2 seats
2017 candidates
@Gary Middleton (DUP)
Julia Kee (UUP)
Stuart Canning (Cons)

Colm Cavanagh (Alliance)
Shannon Downey (Green)
John Lindsay (CISTA)
@Eamonn McCann (PBPA)
Arthur McGuinness (Ind)

@Mark H. Durkan (SDLP)
@Colum Eastwood (SDLP)
Elisha McCallion (SF)
@Raymond McCartney (SF)

Five of the six incumbents are standing again, with SF's Martin McGuinness retiring. The SDLP and SF are defending two seats each with 1.8 and 1.7 quotas respectively; the DUP and PBPA are defending their seats with 0.7 and 0.6 of a quota each. In 2016 there were 1.1 Unionist quotas (counting the votes of a former DUP independent) and 3.5 quotas for the Nationalist parties (not counting the independents, or PBPA who do not designate as Nationalists in the Assembly).

The DUP seat therefore looks pretty safe; on paper, the SDLP and SF should be able to divide the other four evenly between them, shutting out the PBPA. But it will take good balancing and there is little room for manoeuvre. If Eamonn McCann does hold his seat, SF are more likely than the SDLP to lose out, having (slightly) fewer numbers to start with, with their best-known figure no longer on the scene, and being less likely than the SDLP to benefit from transfers from other parties.