Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,

#AE17 South Belfast: DUP second seat most vulnerable

We finish this tour of the Northern Ireland constituencies with South Belfast, where I grew up. It elected two Unionists in 2016 with 36.1% of first preferences, two Nationalists with 34.2%, one Alliance with 16.4% and one Green with 9.6%.

2016 result
DUP 8,081 (22.0%, -2.3%) 2 seats (+1)
UUP 2,466 (6.7%, /6.9%) 0 seats (-1)
UKIP 794 (2.2%, +1.5%)
TUV 495 (1.3%)
Ind 475 (1.3%)
PUP 430 (1.2%)
SBU 351 (1.0%)
Conservative 161 (0.4%)

Alliance 6,023 (16.4%, -3.4%) 1 seat
Green 3,521 (9.6%, +6.8%) 1 seat (+1)
CCLA 871 (2.4%)
NILRC 246 (0.7%)
WP 241 (0.7%, +0.3%)

SDLP 7,361 (20.0%, -3.9%) 1 seat (-1)
Sinn Féin 5,207 (14.2%, +1.7%) 1 seat
2017 candidates
@Emma Little Pengelly (DUP)
@Christopher Stalford (DUP)
Michael Henderson (UUP)
John Hiddleston (TUV)
George Jabbour (Cons)

@Paula Bradshaw (Alliance)
Emmet McDonough-Brown (Alliance)
@Clare Bailey (Green)
Sean Burns (CCLA)
Lily Kerr (WP)
Pádraigín Mervin (PBPA)

Naomh Gallagher (SDLP)
@Claire Hanna (SDLP)
@Máirtín Ó Muilleoir (SF)

All six incumbents are standing for re-election; both the incumbent MLAs and the fourteen candidates are equally divided by gender. The DUP are defending their two seats with 1.3 quotas. The SDLP is defending its seat with 1.2 quotas, Alliance on just under a quota, SF on 0.9 of a quota,and the Greens on 0.6 of a quota. In 2016 there were 2.16 quotas of Unionist votes and 2.05 quotas of Nationalist votes.

Although there are more than two Unionist quotas, I have a gut feeling that the DUP may be the ones in trouble here, as the only party defending a second seat in the constituency; it is generally easier to defend one seat from 0.6 of a quota, as the Greens must do, than to defend two with 1.3 quotas, and Unionist voters here have been fickle with their transfers. This is one seat where I can see some potential traction for Mike Nesbitt's suggestion that UUP voters transfer to the SDLP.

Having said that, there will be a lot of transferring votes flying around, and it could be that if the SDLP or Alliance (or indeed the DUP) manage a precise split of their votes between two candidates, they could pull off an unexpected second seat. This is a very volatile and mobile constituency, and anything could happen.

We'll find out on 3 and 4 March.

Tags: election: ni: 2017

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