November 18th, 2019

politics

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Northern Ireland local election votes from May 2019 projected onto #GE2019 boundaries

I've been going belatedly through the May 2019 local government election results for Northern Ireland, and projecting them onto the Westminster / Assembly constituency boundaries.

Westminster projection

In three cases, the party with most votes in May does not hold the Westminster seat.

The first, obviously, is North Down where Independent MP Sylvia Hermon is retiring. DUP are ahead here on May local govt figures - but Alliance can surely expect tactical boost from Greens not standing. (Other candidates are UUP and Conservatives.)
DUP UUP Cons Oth U Alliance Green Oth SDLP SF
2019lg 29.5% 19.8% 2.1% 0.9% 25.6% 14.4% 7.3% 0.1% 0.3%
2017w 38.1% 2.4% 41.2% 9.3% 6.5% 0.1% 1.0% 1.4%
2017a 37.5%** 21.5%* 1.7% 18.6%* 13.7%* 3.6% 1.8% 1.6%
2016a 41.7%*** 15.5%* 2.1% 4.0% 16.8%* 12.7%* 4.9% 1.3% 1.0%
2015w 23.6% 4.4% 55.2% 8.6% 5.4% 0.9% 1.0% 0.8%
2014lg 31.9% 17.3% 3.4% 7.5% 15.1% 7.9% 14.6% 2.3% 0.0%

In Foyle, Sinn Féin, who gained the Westminster seat in 2017, slipped back behind the SDLP in May local govt votes. Independent candidates got a lot of voters who had drifted away from SF - will they drift back? (Also standing: DUP, UUP, Alliance, PBPA, Aontú)
DUP UUP Oth U Alliance PBPA Oth SDLP SF
2019lg 11.4% 5.3% 5.2% 9.0% 12.3% 30.8% 26.0%
2017w 16.1% 1.8% 3.0% 39.3% 39.7%
2017a 13.4%* 3.7% 0.2% 2.5% 10.7% 1.1% 31.8%** 36.6%**
2016a 11.9%* 3.6% 3.0% 0.6% 10.5%* 10.9% 30.0%** 28.5%**
2015w 12.4% 3.3% 2.6% 2.3% 47.9% 31.6%
2014lg 11.9% 5.7% 2.7% 1.5% 11.4% 32.3% 34.4%

In South Belfast, the Alliance Party got the most votes in the May local govt elections, just ahead of the DUP. Sinn Féin not standing will help the SDLP; who will Green votes help more, SDLP or Alliance? How many votes will divert to Aontú? How many to the UUP?
DUP UUP Oth U Alliance Green Oth SDLP SF
2019lg 22.9% 6.1% 2.7% 24.5% 9.5% 5.2% 15.3% 13.2%
2017w 30.4% 3.5% 0.6% 18.2% 5.1% 25.9% 16.3%
2017a 20.8%* 9.0% 2.1% 17.8%* 9.9%* 3.4% 19.4%* 17.7%*
2016a 22.0%** 6.7% 7.4% 16.4%* 9.6%* 3.4% 20.0%* 14.2%*
2015w 22.2% 9.1% 6.4% 17.2% 5.7% 0.9% 24.5% 13.9%
2014lg 20.4% 10.1% 8.0% 19.4% 4.0% 6.1% 18.9% 13.5%

In two other Belfast seats held by DUP MPs, the party was just ahead on May local govt votes. In East Belfast, the lead over Alliance was less than 150 votes. Both Alliance and the DUP have tactical reserves, but the DUP will aim to squeeze the UUP candidate's vote.
DUP UUP PUP Oth U Alliance Oth SDLP SF
2019lg 33.4% 13.4% 4.8% 3.3% 33.0% 8.6% 0.4% 3.3%
2017w 55.8% 3.3% 1.0% 36.0% 1.4% 0.4% 2.1%
2017a 37.6%** 13.1%* 6.6% 3.0% 31.4%** 4.9% 0.6% 2.9%
2016a 36.7%*** 11.1%* 4.8% 4.1% 28.7%** 11.7% 0.4% 2.5%
2015w 49.3% 2.8% 42.8% 2.7% 0.3% 2.1%
2014lg 32.7% 16.4% 7.8% 8.5% 20.9% 9.3% 0.9% 3.4%

In North Belfast, the DUP numbers from May local govt votes are better, but my gut says it's a tougher defence. No SDLP candidate boosts SF considerably; absence of other Unionists boosts the DUP a bit less; Alliance are standing here as well.
DUP UUP Oth U Alliance Oth SDLP SF
2019lg 29.3% 8.0% 3.8% 11.2% 9.2% 13.4% 25.2%
2017w 46.2% 5.4% 2.2% 4.5% 41.7%
2017a 32.1%** 5.8% 5.1% 8.4% 6.1% 13.1%* 29.4%**
2016a 35.0%*** 5.4% 7.3% 7.0% 7.7% 10.6%* 26.5%**
2015w 47.0% 7.2% 3.6% 8.2% 33.9%
2014lg 29.4% 8.4% 12.3% 8.9% 6.4% 9.3% 25.4%

One other seat to note is Fermanagh and South Tyrone. On May local govt figures, the total Unionist vote is more than the SDLP and SF combined. But what about those independents? The DUP are not standing, UUP, SF, SDLP, Alliance and Ind Lab are.
DUP UUP Oth U Alliance Oth SDLP SF
2019lg 22.8% 18.6% 2.1% 2.5% 11.6% 11.9% 30.8%
2017w 45.5% 1.7% 0.8% 4.8% 47.2%
2017a 29.8%* 11.6%* 1.6% 2.7% 2.3% 9.8% 42.1%***
2016a 32.6%** 12.8%* 2.5% 1.1% 2.5% 8.5%* 39.9%**
2015w 46.4% 1.3% 1.5% 5.4% 45.4%
2014lg 18.1% 24.4% 4.6% 0.6% 8.1% 12.4% 31.8%

The other seven DUP seats look safe enough on May 2019 local govt figures. The UUP are in second place in North Antrim, South Antrim and Lagan Valley; Alliance are in second place in East Antrim and Strangford; and Sinn Féin are in second place in East Londonderry and Upper Bann.

Apart from Foyle and FST, Sinn Féin's other five seats also look safe on May 2019 local govt figures: West Belfast, South Down, Mid Ulster, Newry and Armagh and West Tyrone.

Assembly projection

This is not a cheerful set of Westminster projections for the UUP, but at Assembly level it's a different story - on May 2019 local govt figures they have prospects in South Down, Lagan Valley, East Londonderry, Mid Ulster, Newry and Armagh, and West Tyrone, though they are vulnerable in East Antrim.

Also on May local govt figures:
  • Alliance have Assembly prospects in North Belfast, South Belfast and East Antrim.
  • The SDLP are vulnerable in North Belfast and Lagan Valley, but have prospects in FST.
  • The DUP are vulnerable in South Down and Newry and Armagh, but have prospects in South Belfast.
  • The Greens are vulnerable S Belfast.
  • So is Claire Sugden in East Londonderry (though it's not a fair comparison as she was not represented in the local elections).
  • And SF are vulnerable in North Belfast, South Belfast, FST, Mid Ulster, Newry and Armagh and West Tyrone.


Of course, all elections are different; but best predictor of future voting behaviour remains past voting behaviour!