And so onto the next in the series. I’ve long been curious about Antrim in particular as I consider it a changing town. Over to Faha:
This 8th analysis of the new district councils will cover the new Antrim Newtownabbey council. This new district council comprises all of the current Antrim and Newtownabbey councils. The demographic breakdown is 29.74% Catholic, 61.1% Protestant, 1.09% Other and 8.08% None. The following shows the change in the turnout for the nationalist and unionist parties comparing the 2005 and 2011 district council elections.
The election turnout for the 2005 and 2011 elections indicate:
#1 There was a steep decline in turnout between the 2005 and 2011 elections.
#2 Unionist turnout is much higher than nationalist turnout in all DEA’s except Northwest, where turnout is equal.
#3 Almost 2,500 additional nationalist voters would have had to vote in 2011 in order to equal unionist turnout.
#4 In the 2011 Assembly election, nationalist voter apathy (approximately 1,400 voters within the boundaries of the South Antrim constituency), resulted in the defeat of the SDLP candidate, who lost by approximately 1,200 votes.
#5 Nationalist voter apathy in the Macedon and Antrim Line DEA’s also affects the North Belfast Westminster election. There is approximately a 700 vote nationalist voter deficit within the boundaries of the Newtownabbey section of North Belfast, which is 1/3 of the votes by which Gerry Kelly lost his election to Nigel Dodds in 2010.
The percentage change in the party vote between 2005 and 2011 is as follows:
For Newtownabbey, the SDLP vote decline in Antrim Line DEA defected to SF. The increase in SF and SDLP vote in University DEA is entirely due to the fact that the 2011 election is the only election in which SF and the SDLP have competed here. The SDLP decline in Macedon is entirely due to no candidate and the 2005 voters voted SF or Alliance. The increased Alliance vote is mainly due to UUP voters who have defected to Alliance, which accounts for the decline the UUP vote in 2011. There was also a steep decline in the DUP and independent unionist vote.
For Antrim, there was a sharp decline in the SDLP vote. There was also a steep decline in the UUP vote and a similar increase in the Alliance vote, indicating that many UUP voters defected to the Alliance party. The decline in the DUP vote in Southeast DEA is due to voters that defected to the TUV.
The new DEA’s bear some resemblance to the old ones (see map). The Northwest DEA (now Dunsilly) has been expanded to include Parkgate ward and a section of Doagh ward and now has a slight Protestant majority. All the town of Antrim is now included in one DEA. The predicted election results are based on the 2011 turnout.
The average ward electorate is 2355. The total electorate and average ward electorate for each DEA is.
Dunsilly 11939 (2388)
Antrim 14414 (2402)
Airport 12751 (2550)
Ballyclare 12411 (2482)
Glengormley 15523 (2218)
Macedon 13171 (2195)
3 Mile Water 14005 (2334)
The current Antrim and Newtownabbey councils had the following party strength after the 2011 elections.
The expected party strength in the new council with the new DEA boundaries:
The new council will have 4 fewer councilors and the net party loss would be.
The new DEA boundaries are favourable to the DUP as they would have the same number of councilors despite 4 fewer councilors in the new council. As in the other councils I have covered to date, low nationalist turnout affects the results. There should be a SDLP councilor elected in Antrim DEA, since the nationalist electorate is approximately 37%, far above 2 quotas (28.6%). However, the 30% nationalist turnout in 2011 is so low that if it does not increase then there will be only one nationalist seat here. There are 1.5 nationalist quotas in Macedon DEA, but with a 28% nationalist turnout in 2011, there will be no nationalist councilors elected in this DEA unless turnout increases. Although this is a unionist majority council, it is possible that in 15 to 20 years there will not be a unionist majority on the council. If nationalist turnout increases to the level of unionist turnout, there would be 2 additional nationalist councilors in Antrim and Macedon. Also, the growth of the Catholic population in Dunsilly, Airport, Glengormley and 3 Mile Water is occurring so rapidly that there would be one additional nationalist councilor elected in each of these 4 DEA’s 15 years from now. At that point there would be 20 unionist and 20 non unionist councilors (6 Alliance and 14 SF-SDLP).