Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,

#AE17 Fermanagh and South Tyrone: SDLP most vulnerable

Fermanagh and South Tyrone is the south-western corner of Northern Ireland. In 2016, Nationalists and Unionists divided the seats three each, with Nationalists a whisker ahead in votes, 48.4% to 47.9%.

2016 result
DUP 15,403 (32.6%, +8.2%) 2 seats
UUP 6,028 (12.8%, -6.5%) 1 seat
TUV 1,164 (2.5%, -0.1%)

Green 897 (1.9%)
Alliance 539 (1.1%, -0.7%)
NI Labour 285 (0.6%)

Sinn Féin 18,847 (39.9%, -0.4%) 2 seats (-1)
SDLP 4,014 (8.5%, -1.1%) 1 seat (+1)
2017 candidates
@Arlene Foster (DUP)
@[Lord] Maurice Morrow (DUP)
@Rosemary Barton (UUP)
Alex Elliott (TUV)
Richard Dunn (Cons)

Noreen Campbell (Alliance)
Tanya Jones (Green)
Donal O'Cofaigh (CCLA)

@Richie McPhillips (SDLP)
Jemma Dolan (SF)
@Michelle Gildernew (SF)
@Sean Lynch (SF)

All six incumbents are standing again. There is an even gender split both among incumbent MLAs and among the 14 candidates.

SF and the DUP are defending two seats each on 2.4 and 2.0 quotas respectively; the UUP and SDLP are defending theirs on 0.8 of a quota and 0.5. In 2016 there were 2.88 Unionist quotas and 2.90 Nationalist quotas, so it looks very tight; the scramble for the last seat could be very close indeed.

But I'm calling this as a likely SDLP loss. It's not just that Unionists tend to be better at internal transfers than Nationalists, but it's also important to note that McPhillips owed his seat in 2016 to UUP transfers which came to him once there were no Unionist candidates left in the race, and this year there will be no such spare Unionist votes for him to sweep up.

Having said that, the UUP position is surprisingly precarious for a seat that they hold at Westminster.

Tags: election: ni: 2017
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