The Lord Ashcroft Poll- Brexit and the Border


By Faha

Lord Ashcroft this week released a poll of Northern Ireland voters this which covered opinions on Brexit and a Border Poll.

The poll was conducted in late August to early September.

Image result for border poll

There was much publicity in the media on the results of this poll, which covered attitudes towards well known political figures in the UK and Ireland as well as views on Brexit and a Border Poll.

The data was presented contrasting the views of those from a unionist or nationalist background.

However, missing from all of the media reports was the views of those who do not identify as unionist or nationalist, nor were any results presented based on the religious background of the voters.

Fortunately, the Lord Ashcroft website did contain more detailed results which I will cover here.

Voters were asked how positive or negative they felt about certain politicians on a scale of 0 to 100, with 0 being extremely negative and 100 extremely positive.

These are some of the interesting findings.

Catholic        No Religion         Protestant

Boris Johnson            6                        21                       78

Arlene Foster             3                          9                       67

Nigel Farage               6                        15                       60

These results highlight the polarization between the Catholic and Protestant communities in Northern Ireland with Arlene Foster viewed very negatively by Catholics and even more so than Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson.

All 3 are viewed positively by the Protestant community. Interestingly, those with No Religion have views that are much closer to the Catholic community than the Protestant community.

Voters were asked how they would vote if there was a new EU Referendum tomorrow. Excluding non-voters the results were:

Overall        Catholic         No Religion        Protestant

Remain in EU        60%            91%                  81%                     21%

Leave EU                39%             8%                   16%                     79%

Undecided                1%            1%                     3%                        0%

The actual vote in 2016 was 56% Remain so there has been a small, but significant, shift to Remain since then. This appears to be due to more Catholics and those of No Religion switching to Remain.

There was also the all-important Border Poll question which was worded:

“If there were a Border Poll tomorrow how would you vote?”

Total     Catholic       No Religion     Protestant

Stay in UK             45%          6%                 29%                  89%

United Ireland      46%         84%                59%                   5%

Undecided               9%          10%               12%                   6%

 

EU Referendum Vote        Leave            Remain

 

Stay in UK                               87%                 16%

United Ireland                       11%                  70%

Undecided                                2%                  14%

The percentage of Catholics who would vote to Remain in the UK is very low at 6% with 10% Undecided.

The Percentage of Protestants who would vote for a United Ireland is very low at 5% with 6% Undecided.

Those with No Religion have views closer to those of Catholics and only 29% would prefer to Remain in the UK with 12% Undecided.

Those who voted to Leave the EU in 2016 are strongly in favour of Remaining in the UK at 87% but surprisingly 11% who voted Leave prefer a United Ireland. Why? These would be voters who voted Leave in 2016 but would now vote to Remain in the EU (12% of Leave voters in 2016 indicated in this poll that they would switch to Remain in the EU in a new referendum).

There were also some republican voters in 2016 who tactically voted Leave knowing it could lead to a United Ireland.

There are several other points I wish to stress from this poll. The percentage of Undecided among Catholics and those with No Religion is twice that of Protestants. Approximately 6% of the total 9% Undecided are Catholic or No Religion.

The percentage of Undecided among Leave voters is only 2% but 14% among Remain voters. Protestants who are also Leave the EU voters have all made up their mind and are all in favour of Remaining in the UK.

The 9% of voters who are Undecided are basically all Catholic, No Religion or Protestants who voted to Remain in the EU.

Of the 21% of Protestants who would vote to Remain in the EU in a new referendum I estimate half prefer to Stay in the UK and the other half are Undecided or in favour of a United Ireland.

So it is those Undecided voters who will determine the outcome of an actual Border Poll. There was also no mention of foreign national voters in the poll and foreign nationals are 10% of the voting age population and the electoral register is currently 5% foreign nationals- 3% EU nationals and 2% non EU foreign nationals.

The actual status and nature of a final Brexit is in total chaos at this moment in time and the final outcome will undoubtedly influence voter opinion on a United Ireland.

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European Elections 2019


EU election 2019

By Faha

The District Council elections are over and now it is on to the European Parliament elections scheduled for May 23rd. These elections were not even on the calendar a month ago for the UK but the unexpected 6 month delay (or longer) for Brexit has forced the UK to hold European Parliamentary elections.

What will be the results of the Euro elections in Northern Ireland?

For the District Council elections there were no opinion polls so it was a challenge to predict the outcome. This is not the case with the Euro elections. Lucid Talk conducted a Euro election opinion poll this week (more on this later). However, there was one other opinion poll this month and this was the District Council election.

The sample for this “opinion poll” was 676,867 and should provide an accurate assessment on what the Euro election vote will be.

In 2014 the District Council election and Euro election were held on the same day.

However, the results indicate that not all the same voters voted in both elections. These were the results.

NI Euro 2014

You will notice the vote is identical in both elections.

They do not appear to be exactly the same voters though.  You will notice that the nationalist vote in the Euro election was 17,000 less than the council election. How could this be? Well, there were over 20,000 nationalist voters in the council elections who did not vote for SF or the SDLP and thus did not have a candidate of their 1st preference to vote for.

Many of these were PBP or dissident republican voters. Approximately ¼ did vote for SF or the SDLP. Another ¼ voted for Alliance-Green-NI21, which is why the Alliance-Green-NI21 vote was 6,000 higher in the Euro election. The other ½ (~11,000) did not vote in the Euro election.

For unionist voters it was the opposite.

There were over 100,000 TUV, UKIP and Conservative voters in the Euro election but only 40,000 from those parties in the council election.  Jim Allister may have attracted some of those extra 60,000 voters but it is likely that 30,000 to 40,000 of them had no candidate of their preferred party to vote for in the council election. Apparently 10,000 of those did not vote in the council election but did vote in the Euro election because they had the option of voting TUV-UKIP-Conservative in the Euro election, which they did not have in the council election. When all the votes and transfers were accounted for the UUP defeated the SDLP for the 3rd seat by 43,000 votes.

In 2019 the Euro election is not on the same date as the District Council election. Nevertheless, the council election should predict the outcome of the Euro election since it will be likely all the same voters. What do the results of the 2019 election tell us compared to 2014?

2019                                 2014           Change

SF                              158,579        23.4%         151,258          7,321

SDLP                            80,379        11.9%           85,603        -5,224

Aontu                            7,459           1.1%                    0          7,459

PBP                                9,478           1.4%            1,963          7,555

Ind Nationalist           25,457          3.8%           19,800         5,617

Total Nationalist      281,352      41.6%         258,624        22,728

 

Alliance                        77,644          11.5%        41,786        35,858

Green                           14,284           2.1%           6,354          7,930

NI21                                       0                             11,495        -11,495

 

UUP                              94,381       13.9%         101,375         -6,994

DUP                            161,061       23.8%         144,886         16,175

TUV                              17,586          2.6%           28,161        -10,575

PUP                                5,338          0.8%          12,553          -7,215

UKIP                               2,925         0.4%          9,313              -6,338

Conservative                1,876          0.3%          2,527                -651

Ind unionist                17,000         2.5%         10,810            6,190

Total Unionist          300,167        44.3%        309,625        -9,458

 

2019                2014            Change

Total Nationalist           41.6%             41.2%           +0.4%

Total Unionist               44.3%             49.3%            -5.0%

Total Nonsectarian       14.1%               9.5%           +4.6%

 

There were 49,000 more voters in the 2019 election compared to 2014. There were 64,000 new voters added to the electoral register since 2014 so the majority of the additional voters were new voters though some were those who did not vote in 2014. It appears that most were nationalist or Alliance-Green voters. The total unionist vote was down by 9,458 and the nationalist vote up by 22,728. The increase in the Alliance-Green vote was 43,788 or almost twice the increase in the nationalist vote. The increase in the Alliance-Green vote came from 4 sources. Probably ¼ were NI21 voters from 2014. Another ¼ would be unionist voters who defected to Alliance-Green which is why the unionist vote was down. The other ½ would be a mixture of new voters and nationalist voters who switched to Alliance-Green.

Within the nationalist vote the SDLP vote was down but this was mainly due to the votes received by the 8 former SDLP councilors who were independents or Aontu in 2019. Thus, the other non SDLP origin independent nationalist vote was unchanged. The increase in the nationalist vote was equally shared by SF, Aontu and PBP.

Among unionist parties the vote was down for all parties except the DUP. There are several reasons for the changes. The UUP decline would be moderate unionists who defected to Alliance-Green probably due to Brexit. The DUP vote was up but some of that increase was due to the fact that the minor unionist parties had fewer candidates and some of those voters in certain DEA’s choose the DUP instead. However, there was a real underlying shift to the DUP from the minor unionist parties.

There was a marked 5% decrease in the overall unionist vote since 2014. The nationalist vote was only up slightly so the 4.6% increase in the Alliance-Green came more from new voters and nationalist voters.

So what are the implications for the Euro election? To begin with the Euro election is an election throughout all of Northern Ireland and a voter has a choice of a candidate from the party of their 1st preference. The council elections on based on the DEA’s and voters sometimes cannot vote for the party of their 1st preference because there may be no candidate standing from that party. Some minor adjustments need to be made in order to make a more accurate Euro forecast.

The unionist parties had at least one unionist candidate in all except 3 DEA’s and those 3 had minimal potential unionist votes. Alliance-Green had no candidates in 9 DEA’s and I estimate based on previous elections in those DEA’s that if they did have candidates the overall nationalist vote would be 0.2% less and the unionist vote 0.1% less.

SF did not contest 14 DEA’s and the SDLP did not contest 18 DEA’s. In particular, there was a significant SDLP vote in some of those DEA’s in the past and those voters most likely voted Alliance-Green or SF (in 4 of the DEA’s). All the adjustments would increase the nationalist vote by 0.6% and the unionist would be unchanged. The Alliance-Green vote would be down 0.6%. If the same voters vote in the Euro election then one would expect the vote to be:

Nationalist           42.25%

Unionist                44.25%

Nonsectarian       13.5%

The total unionist 1st preference vote will probably be 44%. The combined TUV-UKIP-Conservative vote in 2019 was only half of what it was in 2014 so I expect a corresponding decline for those parties in the Euro election.

Jim Allister was in a stronger position in 2014 because he could attack the DUP for sharing power with SF in Stormont. He can no longer do so since the DUP refuses to back the return of Stormont.

The DUP are also strongly pro-Brexit and that is their position in Westminster so he will be in a weaker position in 2019.

The UKIP candidate Robert Hill received only 154 votes in the Macedon DEA last week so this does not bode well for UKIP. The TUV, UKIP and Conservatives polled almost 1/3 of the total unionist vote in 2014.

I expect the unionist 1st preference vote to be:

UUP                                           14%

DUP                                           23%

TUV-UKIP-Conservative           7%

Based on the 2014 transfer pattern, 1% of the 7% from the smaller parties will not transfer. In 2014 the unionist vote that did transfer went equally to the DUP and UUP. So the unionist vote after the smaller unionist parties are eliminated would be:

UUP       17%

DUP       26%

Among nationalist parties it is a little more complicated because 6.25% of the vote in the council elections went to non SDLP non SF nationalists. A small number of the 1.4% PBP will actually go to Alliance-Green.

Aontu will definitely not go to pro-choice parties such as Alliance Green. The 3.76% independent nationalist vote is mainly former SDLP or SF candidates so few will end up with Alliance-Green 1st preference. The SDLP will be a little higher due to voters who could not vote for them in those 18 DEA’s with no SDLP candidate. They will also pick up some of the independent nationalist vote, mainly those of SDLP origin.

I expect the total nationalist 1st preference vote to be 41.5% with 0.75% of the original 42.25% lost to Alliance-Green.

SF                27%

SDLP           14.5%

For the nonsectarian candidates it could be approximately

Alliance       11%

Green         2.5%

Independents   1%

The SDLP is only slightly ahead of Alliance and based on the transfer pattern in this month’s council election and 2014, the 3.5% for Green and independents would transfer:

1.75% Alliance

0.75% SDLP

0.50% UUP

0.5% non-transferable

So the vote prior to taking into account the transfer of SF and DUP surpluses would be:

SF                    27%

SDLP              15.25%

Alliance         12.75%

UUP                17.50%

DUP                26%

In 2014, 98% of the DUP surplus went to the UUP. The SF surplus was 20% non-transferable with approximately 65% eventually SDLP and 15% Alliance. So after they are distributed:

SF                 25%

SDLP             16.5%

Alliance        13%

UUP              18.5%

DUP              25%

At this point Alliance would be eliminated. In 2014 Anna Lo of Alliance had a transfer pattern of 20% to unionist parties, 45% to the SDLP and 35% non-transferable.

I do not expect that there will be more than 20% of Alliance transfers to the UUP in 2019. There was a low rate of Alliance transfers to unionist parties in the council election this month and most Alliance voters are opposed to Brexit. The question is will Alliance have a 35% non-transferable rate in 2019? I believe it is unlikely with the prominence of Brexit in this election. The Alliance non transfer rate was very low in the council elections last week. So I expect that at most 2.5% of the 13% Alliance vote will transfer to the UUP, similar to 2014. The transfer rate to the SDLP would be 6% based on the 2014 pattern but likely 8.5% or higher this year. The final vote would be based on the original 100% of the vote:

SF             25%

SDLP        25%

UUP         21%

DUP         25%

Thus this Euro election will elect 1 SF 1 SDLP and 1 UUP. The 1st preference unionist vote was only 44.3% in the council election last week. Some votes are always lost in transfer. There will be few Alliance-Green transfers available to the UUP based on the transfer pattern observed in last week’s council election.

The LucidTalk presents a slightly different picture. This poll was conducted immediately following the council elections. The unweighted results in the poll were:

SF                                    24.6%

SDLP                               11.8%

Alliance                          10.2%

Green                               4.1%

Jane Morrice                   1.3%

Neill McCann                   0.1%

UUP                                 10.6%

DUP                                 18.2%

TUV                                   7.7%

UKIP                                  1.5%

Conservative                    0.1%

Undecided (will vote)     6.7%

Non Voters                       3.1%

After the Undecided and probable nonvoters were removed the adjusted results are:

SF                                    27.2%

SDLP                                13.1%

Alliance                           11.3%

Green                               4.6%

Jane Morrice                   1.4%

Neill McCann                   0.1%

UUP                                 11.8%

DUP                                 20.2%

TUV                                   8.5%

UKIP                                  1.7%

Conservative                    0.1%

The Green preference is much higher than the 2.1% they receive in the council election. The TUV vote is also much higher than the 2.6% in the council election The increased TUV vote appears to be coming from council voters from the PUP, independent unionists and DUP as they is no absolute increase in the total unionist percentage. This may be related to Jim Allister’s high profile. It is not clear where the Green increase is coming from since there is no corresponding decline in the Alliance percentage. The poll shows a vote of 17.4% for non-sectarian candidates which is almost 4% higher than the actual council election results. The margin of error in the poll is +/- 2.6% so the real Green vote could be as low as the 2.1% in the council election. An interesting finding is the percentage of Undecided based on Constitutional Position which was:

Neutral                         14%

Slightly nationalist      12%

Slightly unionist          10%

Strongly nationalist     4%

Strongly unionist          5%

The strongly nationalist group as a whole give SF 72% and the strongly unionist give DUP-TUV-UKIP 68%. The undecided within these 2 groups are probably undecided among candidates within their respective communities. The undecided among the slightly unionist and slightly nationalist groups give slight pluralities to the UUP and SDLP respectively.  Since the percentage undecided is much lower among the strongly unionist and strongly nationalist groups the adjusted totals may be underestimating slightly the percentage for the SDLP, UUP, Alliance and Green candidates.

Second preferences for all candidates were asked and these are some of the results:

ALLIANCE VOTES

Green             47.8%

Morrice            6.0%

SDLP                25.0%

SF                       9.5%

UUP                   7.4%

DUP                    0.6%

None                  3.6%

This is a significant change from 2014. 35% of Alliance votes did not transfer to anyone in the final count and it appears this will be much lower this year. 20% of transfers went to unionist candidates in 2014 versus 8.0% this year.

Indeed SF would receive more transfers than all the unionist candidates combined.

Green Votes

Alliance              71.3%

Morrice                6.3%

SF                          9.8%

SDLP                     5.6%

Unionist               3.5%

None                    2.8%

Alliance receive a large majority of Green transfers.

SF VOTES

Alliance              42.0%

Green                 14.5%

Morrice                1.3%

SDLP                     23.9%

None                    17.6%

SF voters are more than twice as likely to transfer to Alliance-Green rather than the SDLP.

SDLP VOTES

SF                          11.4%

Alliance                71.8%

Green                     8.1%

Morrice                  4.7%

None                      2.7%

Very few SDLP voters are willing to give SF a 2nd preference.

Now I should point out that the actual council election did not confirm these findings for SF and SDLP transfers. There were only a small number of DEA’s where a SF candidate had to choose between the SDLP or Alliance-Green and a similar small number where the SDLP had to choose between SF and Alliance-Green.

In the Oldpark DEA the SDLP surplus transferred 210 to Alliance-Green and 623 to SF so ¾ of SDLP voters preferred SF to Alliance-Green. In Omagh DEA there were near equal transfers to SF and Alliance.

For SF transfers in Lisnasharragh DEA almost ¾ transferred to the SDLP and ¼ to Green. In Bann DEA 89% transferred to the SDLP and 11% Alliance. In Causeway DEA 85% transferred to the SDLP and 15% to Alliance.

If the transfer patterns in shown this poll did occur in this election this would be the results after surpluses are distributed from SF and the DUP

DUP                           25%

UUP                           16.5%

SF                                25%

SDLP                           14.5%

Alliance                      16.5%

Nontransferable         2.5%

Alliance would easily win as they would receive at least 10% of the SDLP total in transfers and would be over a quota. If for some reason the UUP and SDLP percentages were reversed then Alliance would win on UUP transfers though under quota.

Whether the council elections are more accurate or the LucidTalk poll is more accurate there will only be one unionist candidate elected- the DUP. SF will win a seat and the 3rd can only be Alliance or the SDLP. The total unionist vote will only be in the 42% to 44% range and both the council elections and LucidTalk indicate that few nonsectarian voters are willing to transfer to the UUP or any unionist candidate.

District Council Elections 2019 #1 Lisburn-Castlereagh and North Down-Ards


The District Council elections will be held on May 2nd so it is time to do an analysis for those elections. The 2014 elections were a good year for the unionist parties. Nationalist turnout was low, 7% below unionist turnout.

The seats won by party were:

DUP                           130

UUP                            88

TUV                             13

PUP                               4

UKIP                             3

Total Unionist         238

SF                              105

SDLP                           66

PBP                              1

Total Nationalist    172

Alliance                      32

Green                          3

NI21                             1

Total                           36

Independents           15

Will there be any significant changes in 2019? NI21 no longer exists and there is a new nationalist party- Aontu. There is also the major backdrop of an impending Brexit, the nature of which will greatly affect Northern Ireland. Nationalist turnout was much higher in the 2017 Assembly election, only 1% less than unionist turnout. The results in 2019 will greatly depend on whether the electorate of 2014 shows up, or that of 2017.

What is the nature of that electorate? Based on the 2011 census, all those aged 10 to 17 are now old enough to vote. Subtracted from that voting age population are the 115,000 of voting age who have died, mainly the elderly. There has also been significant inward migration of foreign nationals and significant outward migration of natives. The census gives 2 sets of data on Religion. One is Religion plus Religion brought up in. The other is stated Religion at the time of the census. My estimates for the electorate of 2019 are:

Religion and Religion Brought Up In:

Native Irish

Catholic                       42.0%

Protestant                   45.4%

None/Other                 3.6%

Non Native

Foreign Nationals        9.0%

The Catholic Protestant gap is 3.4% and this gap was almost identical to the nationalist unionist gap in the 2017 Assembly election when the gap was 4%

My estimates for the stated Religion are:

Native Irish

Catholic                       40.3%

Protestant                   40.8%

None/Other                 9.9%

Non Native

Foreign Nationals        9.0%

This dataset has been found to be more useful when questioning voters on a Border Poll. With no Brexit, the None/Other group are overwhelmingly in favour of Northern Ireland remaining in the UK.

With a Hard Brexit they are 2 to 1 in favour of a United Ireland.

I will use the Religion and Religion Brought Up In data for this election since it does not involve a Border Poll.

I estimate the actual electorate to be different for several reasons. Those with None/Other background vote at a lower rate. Also foreign nationals are only 5% of the electorate and also vote at a lower rate. If Catholic and Protestant turnout is equal in this election then this would be the voting population:

Catholic                       44.8%

Protestant                   48.2%

None/Other                 3.0%

Foreign Nationals        4.0%

Who will vote in Northern Ireland? There are also local and Euro elections in England, Scotland and Wales in May. Since Brexit has been delayed new polls have been conducted and show a massive drop in support for the Conservative Party and a large increase in support for the new Brexit Party and UKIP. Several polls have shown support for the Conservatives below 20% for the Euro election and support for UKIP and the Brexit Party between 25% and 30%. The Conservatives are being punished for failing to deliver Brexit.

However, the situation is different in Northern Ireland.

The 2019 Northern Ireland electorate is now 60% Remain in the EU. Will Northern Ireland voters punish the pro Brexit DUP?

DUP voters will not punish the DUP since polls show that 80% of their voters prefer leaving the EU with No Deal. A small percentage may defect to the UUP or Alliance-Green but the vast majority will still vote DUP. However, nationalist and nonsectarian voters may decide to punish the DUP for their support of a Hard Brexit and turn out and vote for pro EU parties. We will find out on May 2nd.

 

This first analysis includes the DEA’s of Lisburn- Castlereagh and North Down-Ards councils.

Killultagh- 5 seats   Quota 16.7%

2019 Electorate

Catholic          34%
Protestant      61.5 %

None/Other     4.5%

Candidates

3 DUP   2 UUP   1 SF 1 SDLP 1 Alliance 1 Independent

2014 Results

SF                   13.2%

SDLP              10.8%             1 seat

Alliance           7.0%

NI21                 6.2%

DUP               44.6%             3 seats

UUP               18.2%             1 seat

Based on the demographics there should be 2 nationalist quotas here. The Catholic population has increased by 2% since 2014, which should increase the SF vote to near a quota. Nationalist turnout was also 15% higher in 2017. The NI21 vote in 2014 transferred half to Alliance, ¼ to DUP and ¼ to SDLP-SF. The UUP standing 2 candidates is a poor strategy as the UUP likely will have only 1 quota. The DUP need 50% to elect 3 and there will be very few UUP or Alliance transfers (Alliance transfers were 75% nationalist and 25% DUP in 2014) so the SDLP should obtain the 5th seat on Alliance transfers.

Prediction

2 DUP 1 UUP 1 SF 1 SDLP

Change -1 DUP +1 SF

Lisburn North- 6 seats   Quota 14.3%

2019 Electorate

Catholic           26%
Protestant       67.5 %

None/Other      6.5%

Candidates

3 DUP 2 UUP 1 UKIP 1 Conservative 1 SF 1 SDLP 1 Alliance

2014 Results

SF                    7.5%

SDLP               7.0%

Alliance          10.8%          1 seat

NI21                  8.6%          1 seat

DUP               37.5%           3 seats

UUP               15.5%           1 seat

TUV                  4.5%

PUP                  3.1%

UKIP                 5.1%

Other                0.5%

Based on the demographics there could be 2 nationalist seats here. However, nationalist turnout is much lower than unionist turnout (33% vs 45%). The SF vote was higher than the SDLP vote but the SDLP candidate in 2019 is the NI21 candidate who was elected in 2014. While not all of his vote as NI21 will go to the SDLP the majority will. There are no PUP or TUV candidates in 2019 and most their votes will go to UKIP, UUP or DUP. If nationalist turnout equaled unionist turnout and the SF vote exceeded the Alliance vote then SF could elect one here. More likely the SDLP and Alliance candidates will be elected on SF transfers and Alliance will pick up enough NI21 votes to be close to a 1st count quota.

 

Prediction

3 DUP 1 UUP 1 Alliance 1 SDLP

Change -1 NI21 +1 SDLP

Lisburn South- 6 seats Quota 14.3%

2019 Electorate

Catholic          22%
Protestant      61 %

None/Other     7%

Candidates

4 DUP 2 UUP 1 TUV 1 UKIP 1 Ind Unionist 1 SF 1 SDLP 1 Alliance 1 Independent

2014 Results

SF                       0%

SDLP               6.8%

Alliance          6.9%           1 Alliance

Green              2.2%

NI21                 8.9%

DUP               53.6%          4 seats

UUP               14.0%          1 seat

TUV                  7.5%

The demographics here indicate there is well over 1 nationalist quota. For some unknown reason this DEA has the lowest nationalist turnout, only 20%, of any DEA in all of Northern Ireland that has a nationalist candidate. There are 600 EU nationals on the register here and if the SDLP can persuade even a minority of those to vote for a pro EU party and against the pro Brexit unionist parties then the SDLP vote should increase significantly. SF is not standing a candidate here.

Prediction

3 DUP 1 UUP 1 Alliance 1 SDLP

Change -1 DUP +1 SDLP

Downshire West- 5 seats Quota 16.7%

2019 Electorate

Catholic          15%
Protestant      77 %

None/Other     8%

Candidates

3 DUP 2 UUP 1 Conservative 1 Green 1 SDLP 1 Alliance

2014 Results

SDLP               4.0%

Alliance          8.5%              1 seat

Green              2.1%

NI21                 6.1%

DUP               34.6%              2 seats

UUP               27.4%              2 seats

TUV                  5.8%

UKIP                 5.0%

Conservative  6.5%

There is no nationalist quota here. Alliance will elect one on additional votes from NI21 voters and transfers from the SDLP and Greens. There are no TUV or UKIP candidates in 2019 and their votes will increase the DUP and UUP 1st preferences.

Prediction

2 DUP 2 UUP 1 Alliance

Downshire East- 5 seats Quota 16.7%

Catholic          14.5%
Protestant      78.0 %

None/Other     7.5%

Candidates

3 DUP 2 UUP 1 SDLP 1 Alliance

2014 Results

SDLP               0.0%

Alliance          11.5%         1 seat

NI21               11.6%

DUP               47.2%           3 seats

UUP               19.5%           1 UUP

TUV                  6.9%

UKIP                 3.3%

I expect no change here. Alliance should be elected on the 1st count.

Prediction    3 DUP 1 UUP 1 Alliance

Castlereagh South- 7 seats Quota 12.5%

Catholic          46.5%
Protestant      46.5%

None/Other     7%

Candidates

3 DUP 1 UUP 1 TUV 2 Alliance 1 Green 1 Independent 2 SDLP 1 SF

2014 Results

SF                      9.9%

SDLP               22.7%          2 seats

Alliance          23.3%            2 seats

NI21                 4.4%

DUP               22.2%              2 seats

UUP               11.1%              1 UUP

TUV                  6.4%

This is one of more fascinating elections for 2019. Much of this has to do with the turmoil within the Alliance Party. Both of the Alliance candidates elected in 2014, Geraldine Rice and Vasundhara Kamble, are standing for election this time but not as Alliance candidates. Rice is running as an independent and Kamble for the DUP! They also signed each other’s nomination papers so must be on good terms with each other. There are 2 different Alliance candidates. SF was only 200 votes short of a quota in 2014. It is likely that the SF candidate will be elected on the 1st count in 2019 for 2 reasons. The nationalist vote was 15 % higher in the 2017 Assembly election compared to 2014. The nationalist electorate has also increased by 2% since 2014. I expect that both the SDLP and Alliance vote will be short of 2 quotas. However, both will benefit from transfers from Rice and the Greens. The UUP 1st preference vote will be less than 10% but in 2014 half the TUV vote transferred to the UUP and there will be some transfers from Rice so the UUP should elect one. The DUP total vote will be in the 20% range and with only 1/3 of the TUV vote transferring to the DUP (as in 2014) they will be short of 2 quotas.

Prediction

1 DUP 1 UUP 2 Alliance 2 SDLP 1 SF

Change -1 DUP +1 SF.

Castlereagh East- 6 seats Quota 14.3%

Catholic          6%
Protestant     87 %

None/Other     7%

Candidates 4 DUP 1 UUP 1 TUV 2 Alliance

2014 Results

Alliance          12.5%              1 seat

Green              6.7%

NI21                 3.7%

DUP               48.4%               3 seats

UUP                 8.8%                1 seat

TUV                 10.4%              1 seat

PUP                   7.5%

Unionist            2.1%

If the Alliance party could tap into the anti Brexit vote here they could elect 2 but the combined unionist vote is over 5 quotas. The UUP vote in East Belfast has been declining since 2014 and the UUP barely edged out the 4th DUP candidate in 2014. The only way the UUP could win would be if the Alliance candidates are poorly balanced and one is eliminated before the UUP and the UUP receives enough of the Alliance surplus.

Prediction

4 DUP 1 TUV 1 Alliance

Change +1 DUP -1 UUP

Overall this council will elect 2 more SF and 1 SDLP with 3 fewer DUP

 

North Down-Ards

This council is includes all of the North Down Westminster constituency and most of the Strangford constituency.  North Down voted 53% Remain and this result could impact the vote in the council election. One surprise here is that the SDLP have essentially abandoned competing in the council, contesting only one seat in Ards Peninsula.

Ards Peninsula- 6 seats Quota 14.3%

Catholic          22.5%
Protestant      70.5%

None/Other     7%

Candidates 3 DUP 1 UUP 1 UKIP 1 Conservative 1 Alliance 1 Green 1 SDLP 1 SF

2014 Results

 

SF                      5.4%

SDLP               19.2%        1 seat

Alliance           8.1%          1 seat

NI21                 1.6%

DUP                 47.1%         3 seats

UUP                 16.6%         1 seat

Conservative    2.2%

Good nationalist turnout here. There is unlikely to be any change. The only conceivable path for a seat for SF would be if the SDLP vote declined to the 15% range and the SF vote increased to 10%. SF were 300 votes behind Alliance in the next to last count and the Alliance total included almost 200 SDLP transfers. Alliance will probably have a higher 1st count vote since they will attract anti Brexit unionists.

Prediction

3 DUP 1 UUP 1 Alliance 1 SDLP

Comber- 5 seats Quota 16.7%

Catholic          6.5%
Protestant      86.5%

None/Other     7%

Candidates 3 DUP 2 UUP 1 TUV 1 Ind unionist 1 Alliance 1 Green

2014 Results

Alliance          13.2%        1 seat

NI21                 2.7%

DUP               39.2%          2 seats

UUP                 22.1%        1 seat

TUV                   9.3%         1 seat

UKIP                  6.9%

Conservative    6.6%

The TUV barely edged out the DUP for the last seat by 40 votes. However, there is no UKIP candidate this time and much of their vote will go to the to the TUV 1st preference.

Prediction

2 DUP 1 UUP 1 TUV 1 Alliance

Newtownards- 7 seats Quota 12.5%

Catholic              9%
Protestant      82.5%

None/Other      8.5%

Candidates 3 DUP 2 UUP 1 UKIP 2 Ind unionists 2 Alliance 1 Green

2014 Results

Alliance             12.7%         1 seat

NI21                     3.1%

DUP                   35.7%          3 seats

UUP                   15.2%          2 seats

TUV                     6.4%

Unionist             25.3%         1 seat

Conservative       1.5%

There will be no change here. Menagh will top the poll and 90% of his surplus will go to unionist candidates.

Prediction

3 DUP 2 UUP 1 Unionist (Menagh) 1 Alliance

Bangor East and Donaghadee- 6 seats Quota 14.3%

Catholic               8.5%
Protestant        84%

None/Other       7.5%

Candidates 3 DUP 2 UUP 1 Conservative 1 Ind unionist 1 Alliance 1 Green

2014 Results

Alliance          9.8%           1 seat

Green              3.9%

NI21                 2.6%

DUP                32.4%         3 seats

UUP                 18.9%        1 seat

TUV                   5.3%

UKIP                  5.4%

Unionist            19.2%        1 seat

Conservative      2.6%

 

Alan Chamber was elected with over a quota as an independent in 2014 but in 2019 he is standing for the UUP. Not all of his vote will go with him but enough should to elect 2 UUP. With no UKIP or TUV candidates the DUP should elect 3.

Prediction

3 DUP 2 UUP 1 Alliance

Change +1 UUP -1 Independent

Bangor Central- 6 seats Quota 14.3%

Catholic               12%
Protestant           77%

None/Other        11%

Candidates 3 DUP 2 UUP 1 UKIP 1 Conservative 4 independents 1 Alliance 1 Green

2014 Results

Alliance             12.8%           1 seat

Green                  7.6%            1 seat

NI21                     2.7%

DUP                   28.0%            2 seats

UUP                   15.7%            1 seat

TUV                     4.6%

UKIP                    5.9%

Unionist            20.3%

Conservative      2.6%

I expect the 1st preference Alliance and Green vote to go up as more voters vote for anti-Brexit parties. The UUP elected 2 in 2014 though their 1st preference voter was slightly over 1 quota. However, they have no competition from the TUV and UKIP this time so their 1st preference vote should be higher and they will receive transfers from the many independents.

Prediction

2 DUP 2 UUP 1 Alliance 1 Green

Bangor West- 5 seats Quota 16.7%

Catholic               15%
Protestant           76%

None/Other         9%

Candidates 2 DUP 1 UUP 1 Conservative 2 Alliance 1 Green 1 SF

2014 Results

SDLP                     4.9%

Alliance              17.3%        1 seat

Green                  6.4%          1 seat

NI21                     6.4%

DUP                   31.9%           2 seats

UUP                   16.2%           1 seat

TUV                     9.1%

Unionist              3.1%

Conservative      7.2%

There is no TUV candidate this time so all DUP and UUP candidates will be elected on the 1st count. The Green candidate won only because of poor balancing between the 2 Alliance candidates, a mistake that will not be repeated this year.

Prediction

2 DUP 1 UUP 2 Alliance

Change +1 Alliance -1 Green

Holywood and Clandeboye- 5 seats Quota 16.7 %

Catholic               18.5%
Protestant           71.5%

None/Other         10%

Candidates 2 DUP 2 UUP 1 Conservative 2 Alliance 1 Green

 

 

2014 Results

SDLP                     5.0%

Alliance              22.2%          1 seat

Green                  14.9%          1 seat

NI21                     3.4%

DUP                   31.9%            2 seats

UUP                   17.8%            1 seat

Conservatives    4.3%

Unionist               0.6%

This DEA would have voted over 60% Remain and this will change the vote here. In 2014 the 2nd Alliance candidate was only 195 votes behind the 2nd DUP. With no NI21 or SDLP candidates the Green candidate should be elected on the 1st count. There will be an increased Alliance vote coming from anti-Brexit voters which will elect 2 Alliance.

Prediction

1 DUP 1 UUP 2 Alliance 1 Green

Change   -1 DUP     +1 Alliance

Overall for this council 2 more Alliance and one less each for DUP and Greens

District Council Elections 2019 # 3 and 4


AntrimNewtownabbey-MidEastAntrim,
Belfast,
ArmaghBanbridgeCraigavon-NewryMourneDown,
FermanaghOmagh-MidUlster,
CausewayCoastGlens-DerryStrabane.

                                     District Council 2019

#5                     Fermanagh-Omagh & Mid Ulster

West Tyrone- 6 seats Quota 14.7%

2019 Electorate

Catholic          66.5%
Protestant      32%

None/Other     1.5%

Candidates

1 DUP 1 UUP 1 SDLP 4 SF 1 Aontu

2014 Results

SF                                44.0%            3 seats

SDLP                           15.9%            1 seat

Ind nationalist             0.9%

Alliance                         2.3%

DUP                             19.5%            1 seat

UUP                            17.4%            1 seat

The demographics indicate 2 unionist quotas here. Nationalist turnout was much lower than unionist turnout in 2014 (56% vs 68%) but even with the higher nationalist turnout in the 2017 Assembly election there will still be 2 unionist quotas. The SDLP vote will decline but should be at a quota. I believe Aontu will win a seat here as the 3 SF candidates in 2014 were not evenly balanced and one could be eliminated. There are 4 SF candidates in 2019 which will make the balancing even more difficult.

Prediction

1 DUP 1 UUP 1 SDLP 2 SF 1 Aontu

Change -1 SF +1 Aontu

Mid Tyrone- 6 seats Quota 14.3%

2019 Electorate

Catholic          74%
Protestant      25%

None/Other     1%

Candidates

1 DUP 1 UUP 1 Alliance 1 SDLP 5 SF 1 Aontu I Independent

2014 Results

SF                                57.3%            4 seats

SDLP                           12.7%            1 seat

Green                            2.7%

Alliance                         1.7%

DUP                              8.5%

UUP                            17.1%             1 seat

The demographics indicate 5 nationalist seats and this is what occurred in 2014. This a very difficult election to predict for several reasons. Aontu has a candidate. However, she was the SDLP candidate elected in 2014 and is likely to take more votes from the SDLP than SF. SF is standing 5 candidates but since 1 will be eliminated then Aontu may pick up some transfers. The SDLP received 2/3 of the Green and Alliance transfers in 2014. The nationalist vote will be increasing and it is possible that the DUP candidate will be eliminated in the next to last count. Where will their transfers go? Generally few go to any non unionist but the number that go to the SDLP or Aontu will determine the final results.

Prediction

1 UUP 1 SDLP 1 Aontu 3 SF

Change -1 SF +1 Aontu

Omagh- 6 seats Quota 14.3%

2019 Electorate

Catholic           72%
Protestant      25.5%

None/Other     2.5%

Candidates

1 DUP 1 UUP 1 TUV 1 Alliance 1 Green 2 Ind 2 SDLP 3 SF 1 Aontu 3 Ind nationalists

2014 Results

SF                                37.5%            2 seats

SDLP                           23.3%            2 seat

Ind nationalist             1.4%

Alliance                         6.3%

DUP                             20.0%            1 seat

UUP                             11.5%            1 seat

The demographics indicate only 1 unionist seat but nationalist turnout was only 37% vs 50% unionist. With the abundance of nationalist candidates in 2019 the nationalist turnout will be higher. This DEA very complicated. Two of the independent nationalists (Deehan and Donnelly) are the 2 SDLP candidates that were elected in 2014. Deehan did receive twice the vote of Donnelly. The other independent nationalist (McAnespy) was elected for SF in 2014. There is also an Aontu candidate that will draw votes from all the nationalist candidates. There are 1,000 foreign nationals on the register and if these are targeted by all the anti-Brexit candidates there could be only 1 unionist elected. The UUP vote was only half in the 2017 Assembly and Westminster election compared to 2014.

Prediction

1 DUP 1 SDLP 1 Ind Nationalist (Deehan) 2 SF 1 Aontu

Change -1 UUP -1 SDLP +1 Ind nationalist +1 Aontu

Erne North- 5 seats Quota 16.7%

 

2019 Electorate

Catholic           51%
Protestant       47%

None/Other      2%

Candidates

2 DUP 2 UUP 1 TUV I Ind unionist 1 Alliance 1 SDLP 2 SF

2014 Results

SF                                24.6%            1 seat

SDLP                           16.6%            1 seat

DUP                             38.1%            2 seats

UUP                             13.5%            1 seat

TUV                                7.2%

The demographics indicate 3 nationalist seats but obviously the election results show nowhere near 3. This is because nationalist turnout was 45% vs 69% unionist. Interestingly, in Erne East and North both nationalist and unionist turnout are 69% so it is unclear why there is so much nationalist apathy here.

Prediction

2 DUP 1 UUP 1 SDLP 1 SF

Erne West- 5 seats Quota 16.7%

2019 Electorate

Catholic           70%
Protestant       28%

None/Other      2%

Candidates

1 DUP 1 UUP I Independent unionist 1 SDLP 3 SF 1 Independent nationalist

2014 Results

SF                                39.3%            2 seats

SDLP                           13.9%            1 seat

Ind Nationalist          17.3%            1 seat

DUP                               6.1%

UUP                             23.4%            1 seat

I expect no change here. The SDLP vote may be down but they will receive some UUP transfers.

Prediction

1 UUP 1 SDLP 2 SF 1 Independent Nationalist

Erne East- 6 seats Quota 14.3%

2019 Electorate

Catholic            66%
Protestant       32.5%

None/Other      1.5%

Candidates

1 DUP 1 UUP 2 Independents 1 SDLP 4 SF 1 Aontu

2014 Results

SF                                51.2%            3 seats

SDLP                           12.9%            1 seat

DUP                            15.9%             1 seat

UUP                            16.2%            1 seat

UKIP                              3.8%

The SDLP vote will be down but they will receive a significant number of unionist transfers. Indeed, they received 1/3 of the UKIP vote in transfers in 2014 and that percentage will be even higher for UUP transfers. Former SF MLA from the 2007 election is standing for Aontu. With 4 SF candidates standing he needs to be ahead of 2 of them in order to get elected. He only polled 4.3% in the 2011 council election so this is unlikely.

Prediction

1 DUP 1 UUP 1 SDLP 3 SF

Enniskillen- 6 seats Quota 14.7%

2019 Electorate

Catholic            54%
Protestant        43%

None/Other       3%

Candidates

2 DUP 2 UUP 1 TUV 1 Green 2 Independents 1 SDLP 2 SF

SF                                21.7%            2 seats

SDLP                              9.5%            1 seat

Ind Nationalist           12.9%

Alliance                          2.2%

Green                              1.1%

DUP                              19.0%           1 seat

UUP                              24.2%           2 seats

TUV                                 9.4%

The demographics indicate almost 4 nationalist seats here but the unionist vote actually exceeds the nationalist vote due to low nationalist turnout. There will be no change here.

Prediction

2 UUP 1 DUP 1 SDLP 2 SF

Overall a good result for Aontu with 3 seats in this council.

 

Now on to the Mid Ulster DEA’s

Clogher Valley- 6 seats Quota 14.3%

2019 Electorate

Catholic            53%
Protestant        45%

None/Other       2%

Candidates

2 DUP 2 UUP 1 SDLP 1 SF

2014 Results

SF                                33.0%            2 seats

SDLP                           13.5%            1 seat

DUP                            28.4%             2 seats

UUP                            25.1%            1 seat

This DEA is unusual since the unionist vote far exceeds the nationalist vote even though the demographics indicate the vote should be the opposite of what it was. This is because the nationalist turnout was 55% vs 71% unionist. This may change in 2019 since this a border DEA that will be adversely affected by Brexit. Unionist voters do not vote for nationalist candidates so some may stay home. It is difficult to imagine the local farmers voting for unionist parties whose pro Brexit positions will result in their bankruptcy and loss of their farms. However, turkeys sometimes do vote for Christmas even though it is not in their interest to do so.

Prediction

2 DUP 1 UUP 1 SDLP 2 SF

Dungannon- 6 seats Quota 14.3%

2019 Electorate

Catholic            61%
Protestant        36%

None/Other       3%

Candidates

2 DUP 2 UUP 1 Alliance 1 SDLP 2 SF 2 Independent Nationalists

2014 Results

SF                                20.2%            1 seats

SDLP                              9.1%            1 seat

Ind Nationalist         19.6%             1 seat

Alliance                         3.4%

DUP                            20.7%            2 seats

UUP                            20.2%            1 seat

TUV                                6.7%

The demographics indicate well over 4 nationalist quotas. However, nationalist turnout was much lower at 39% vs 57% unionist. There are over 3,000 EU nationals on the register here, over 20% of the electorate. Obviously, those EU nationals are concerned about Brexit and if the SF and SDLP candidates target those voters then would be 4 nationalist quotas. There is no TUV candidate in 2019 and some of those voters may stay home. The SDLP vote will benefit from Alliance transfers and both SF and the SDLP will receive transfers from the independents surplus.

Prediction

1 DUP 1 UUP I Ind Nationalist 1 SDLP 2 SF

Change -1 DUP +1 SF

Torrent- 6 seats Quota 14.3%

2019 Electorate

Catholic            82%
Protestant        17%

None/Other       1%

Candidates

1 DUP 1 UUP 1 SDLP 4 SF 1 Independent nationalist

2014 Results

SF                                50.0%            4 seats

SDLP                           18.4%            1 seat

Nationalist                   8.1%

DUP                            10.4%

UUP                            13.4%            1 seat

Nationalist turnout was 48% vs 63% unionist. Nationalist turnout was over 80% here 15 years ago. That turnout increased in the 2017 Assembly election. There will be no change here. SF will receive enough SDLP and independent transfers to elect 4.

Prediction

1 UUP 1 SDLP 4 SF

Cookstown- 7 seats Quota 12.5%

2019 Electorate

Catholic            58%
Protestant        39%

None/Other       3%

Candidates

2 DUP 2 UUP 1 TUV 1 SDLP 3 SF

2014 Results

SF                                41.3%            3 seats

 

SDLP                           12.0%            1 seat

Alliance                        1.3%

DUP                            12.5%             1 seat

UUP                            23.7%             2 seats

TUV                               7.1%

UKIP                              2.2%

The demographics indicate almost 5 nationalist quotas but obviously with low nationalist turnout and only 4 candidates only 4 could be elected. It would be interesting to see how close SF would come to 4 quotas if they had a 4th candidate.

Prediction

1 DUP 2 UUP 1 SDLP 3 SF

Magherafelt- 5 seats Quota 16.7%

2019 Electorate

Catholic            54%
Protestant        43.5%

None/Other       2.5%

Candidates

2 DUP 1 UUP 1 SDLP 2 SF 1 Aontu

2014 Results

SF                                29.6%            2 seats

SDLP                           15.5%            1 seat

Independents              8.1%

DUP                            24.8%             1 seat

UUP                            11.2%             1 seat

TUV                               10.7%

The UUP will probably lose their seat. The UUP vote in the 2017 elections declined to a little over half of that in the 2014 council elections in Mid Ulster. The DUP should be close to 2 quotas and 2 will be elected on UUP transfers. The SDLP vote may decline but they picked up 1.5% on independent transfers and will receive UUP transfers also so should elect one. The SF candidates were well balanced so unless Aontu can take away 11% of the SF vote (likely would 32% without Aontu) then SF should win two.

Prediction

2 DUP 1 SDLP 2 SF

Change -1 UUP +1 DUP

Moyola- 5 seats Quota 16.7%

2019 Electorate

Catholic            65.5%
Protestant        33.0%

None/Other       1.5%

Candidates

1 DUP 1 UUP 1 Alliance 1 SDLP 3 SF 1 Workers Party

2014 Results

SF                                51.0%            3 seats

SDLP                           13.6%

DUP                            18.5%             1 seat

UUP                            17.0%             1 seat

The demographics indicate 2 unionist and 4 nationalist quotas but there are only 5 seats. The total unionist vote was 35.5% and 33.4% is needed for 2 quotas. However, in the 2017 Assembly election it would have been only 30% due to much higher nationalist turnout. The UUP vote has also dropped significantly since 2014. This election could see 19% DUP and 11% UUP with not enough DUP transfers to elect the UUP.  The SF vote could exceed 55 % and the SDLP will elect one on SF transfers.

Prediction

1 DUP 1 SDLP 3 SF

Change -1 UUP +1 SDLP

Carntogher- 5 seats Quota 16.7%

2019 Electorate

Catholic            74%
Protestant        25%

None/Other       1%

Candidates

1 DUP 1 UUP 1 Independent 1 SDLP 4 SF 1 Aontu

2014 Results

SF                                60.9%            3 seats

SDLP                           14.8%             1 seat

DUP                               9.0%            1 seat

UUP                               8.7%

TUV                                6.6%

The UUP vote will be lower so the DUP will retain their seat on transfers. The SDLP vote will be lower but they received enough unionist transfers to raise their total by 4% so will keep their seat.  I believe Aontu will win a seat here. SF had 2 candidates elected under a quota and it will be difficult to balance the 4 SF against only 1 Aontu and on a lower 1st preference vote.

Prediction

1 DUP 1 SDLP 2 SF 1 Aontu

Change -1 SF +1 Aontu

Overall a gain of 1 seat each for Aontu and the SDLP and a loss of 1 each for the UUP and SF.

                                   District Council 2019

#4   Armagh-Banbridge-Craigavon and Newry-Mourne-Down

Armagh- 6 seats Quota 14.3%

2019 Electorate

Catholic          71%
Protestant      27 %

None/Other     2%

Candidates

1 DUP 1 UUP 1 Alliance 2 SDLP 3 SF 1 Aontu 1 Ind nationalist

2014 Results

SF                    40.1%               2 seats

SDLP                26.8%              2 seats

Alliance             1.2%

DUP                   9.6%                1 seat

UUP                 19.3%                1 seat

UKIP                  2.1%

There were 2 unionist quotas here in 2014. The demographics indicate 5 nationalist and 2 unionist quotas and turnout was 43% nationalist vs 53 % unionist so the 2 unionist quotas occurred. Nationalist turnout was up in the 2017 Assembly election such that the unionist vote would have been between 28% and 29%. There are 1,200 EU nationals on the register and if these are targeted by the pro EU ant-Brexit SF and SDLP then I would expect 5 nationalist seats, especially since even in 2014 the total party vote for SF was just short of 3 quotas and their 3rd candidate was 490 votes behind the DUP. Of course, how the Aontu vote transfers will influence the outcome. However, the SF vote increased and that of the SDLP decreased between 2014 and 2017 so if there are not 5 nationalists elected it is the SDLP that will lose a seat and SF gain one.

Prediction

1 UUP 2 SDLP 3 SF

Change -1 DUP +1 SF

Cusher- 5 seats Quota 16.7%

2019 Electorate

Catholic          24%
Protestant      73 %

None/Other     3%

Candidates

2 DUP 2 UUP 1 Ind Unionist 1 Independent 1 Alliance 1 SDLP 1 SF

2014 Results

SF                     9.8%

SDLP                11.4%              1 seat

Alliance             1.2%

DUP                   22.0%              1 seat

UUP                   38.4%              2 seats

Unionist            18.4%              1 seat

The UUP vote will be down from 2014 as that is the trend. The SF vote may exceed the SDLP vote here for the first time ever. However, there will be such a large unionist surplus (10%) that the SDLP will keep their seat on transfers.

Prediction

1 DUP 2 UUP 1 Ind Unionist (Berry) 1 SDLP

Portadown- 6 seats Quota 14.3%

2019 Electorate

Catholic          34%
Protestant      61 %

None/Other     5%

Candidates

3 DUP 2 UUP 1 TUV 1 UKIP 1 Ind unionist 1 Alliance 1 SDLP 2 SF

2014 Results

SF                     16.7%               1 seat

SDLP                   8.7%

Alliance              2.0%

NI21                    0.8%

DUP                   32.7%              2 seats

UUP                   19.4%              2 seats

TUV                      6.8%

PUP                      5.4%

UKIP                     7.8%              1 seat

The demographics indicate 2.5 nationalist quotas but only one SF was elected since nationalist turnout was 37% vs 50% unionist. The UKIP councilor elected in 2014, David Jones, is standing as an independent in 2019. There is no PUP candidate. The 2017 Assembly election saw a significant increase in the nationalist turnout. If that higher turnout persists then there will be 2 nationalist quotas. The SF vote will be over twice that of the SDLP vote. This would seem to indicate that 2 SF will be elected. However, 2017 results show a significantly higher DUP vote and lower proportionate UUP vote. There are also 3,000 foreign nationals on the register here of which 2,700 are EU nationals. Obviously, if the pro EU anti-Brexit SF and SDLP candidates are able to target these voters the nationalist vote will be up significantly. If the DUP balance their 3 candidates well (which they did not do in 2014) then they will elect 3. The UUP should still have a quota. There will be a unionist surplus of 10% and enough should transfer to the SDLP along with some Alliance transfers, to elect one for the SDLP.

Prediction

3 DUP 1 UUP 1 SDLP 1 SF

Change -1 UKIP +1 SDLP

Craigavon- 5 seats Quota 16.7%

2019 Electorate

Catholic          56%
Protestant      39 %

None/Other     5%

Candidates

2 DUP 2 UUP 1 Alliance 2 SDLP 2 SF 1 Aontu

2014 Results

SF                    22.5%               1 seat

SDLP                15.1%              1 seat

Nationalist        5.8%

Alliance             4.7%

DUP                   25.4%             2 seats

UUP                   21.7%             1 seat

PUP                      4.9%

The demographics indicate well over 3 nationalist quotas but the unionist vote actually exceeded the nationalist vote. Nationalist turnout was 42% vs 64% unionist. However, if the 2017 Assembly turnout occurred there would have been 3 nationalists elected. There are 1,200 EU nationals on the register so if SF and the SDLP target these voters then there will be 2 SF and 1 SDLP elected. Although the UUP vote is declining their total vote should be above a quota.

Prediction

1 DUP 1 UUP 1 SDLP 2 SF

Change -1 DUP +1 SF

Lurgan- 7 seats Quota 12.5%

2019 Electorate

Catholic          61%
Protestant      36%

None/Other     3%

Candidates

2 DUP 1 UUP 1 Alliance 2 SDLP 4 SF

2014 Results

SF                    35.8%               3 seats

SDLP                14.4%              1 seat

Alliance             5.1%

DUP                  22.6%              2 seats

UUP                  12.5%              1 seat

UKIP                    2.3%

PUP                     2.8%

TUV                     3.2%

The demographics indicate 5 nationalist and 3 unionist quotas. Nationalist turnout was much lower at 38% vs 51% unionist. Nationalist turnout was much higher in the 2017 Assembly election. There are also 1,500 EU nationals on the register here which the pro EU anti-Brexit SF and SDLP candidates can target. The UUP vote may decline to 10% and the SDLP vote may decline to 10% based on trends since 2014.  The DUP will be over 2 quotas based on trends since 2014. I think it will be too difficult for SF to reach the 50% needed for 4 quotas but they will be close.

Prediction

2 DUP 1 UUP 1 SDLP 3 SF

Banbridge- 7 seats Quota 12.5%

2019 Electorate

Catholic          37.5%
Protestant       59 %

None/Other     3.5%

Candidates

2 DUP 3 UUP 1 TUV 1 Alliance 1 SDLP 2 SF

2014 Results

SF                    14.5%               1 seat

SDLP                12.3%              1 seat

Alliance             5.1%

NI21                   3.3%

DUP                  23.9%                2 seats

UUP                  41.0%                3 seats

The demographics indicate 3 nationalist quotas but nationalist turnout was 39% vs 51% unionist. The turnout was higher in 2017 and the combined SF-SDLP vote would have been 30%. However, that is still far from 3 quotas. The SF vote will be up significantly and the SDLP vote may only be at one quota. If the Alliance vote increases to 8% (some NI21 from 2014) then Alliance would be elected on SF transfers from the SF surplus. The DUP vote will be over 2 quotas based on trends since 2014 and the UUP will be less than 3 quotas.

Prediction

2 DUP 2 UUP 1 Alliance 1 SDLP 1 SF

Change -1 UUP +1 Alliance

Lagan River- 5 seats Quota 16.7%

2019 Electorate

Catholic          15%
Protestant      80 %

None/Other     5%

Candidates

3 DUP 2 UUP 1 UKIP 1TUV 1 Ind unionist 1 Alliance 1 SDLP 1 SF

2014 Results

SF                     3.3%

SDLP                3.8%

Alliance           6.2%

NI21                 3.4%

DUP                40.7%                3 seats

UUP                31.4%                2 seats

TUV                   9.1%

Unionist            2.1%

There could be a nationalist seat here but nationalist turnout is so low, 29% vs 53% unionist, that this will not occur. The combined SF-SDLP vote will not exceed 9%. If the Alliance vote were higher they could be elected on nationalist transfers but they did not receive enough of those transfers in 2014.

Prediction

3 DUP 2 UUP

Overall for this council a decline in unionist representation with 2 more SF, 1 SDLP and 1 Alliance elected.

 

Now on to the Newry-Mourne-Down council

Slieve Gullion- 7 seats Quota 12.5%

2019 Electorate

Catholic          85%
Protestant      14 %

None/Other     1%

Candidates

1 DUP 1 UUP 1 Alliance 2 SDLP 5 SF

2014 Results

SF                    62.2%               4 seats

SDLP                23.3%              2 seats

DUP                   3.4%

UUP                 11.1%               1 seat

The SDLP won 2 seats because of poor balancing by SF and UUP transfers. Without the UUP transfers SF would have won a 5th seat by 80 votes. The SF vote will be higher and the SDLP vote lower based on the 2017 Assembly election results. SF will definitely be over 5 quotas and will win 5 seats.  However, the SDLP could still keep their 2 seats depending on turnout. The nationalist turnout was higher in the 2017 Assembly election and the unionist vote here would have been 13% based on that turnout. If it drops any further (to 12.5%) then who wins the 7th seat will depend on transfers. This is a border region that will be very negatively affected by Brexit so nationalist turnout may go up. There are also 400 EU nationals on the register and if they vote in any significant numbers it will determine the outcome.

Prediction

2 SDLP 5 SF

Change -1 UUP +1 SF

Newry- 6 seats Quota 14.3%

2019 Electorate

Catholic          90%
Protestant        8 %

None/Other     2%

Candidates

1 UUP 1 Alliance 2 SDLP 4 SF 1 Ind nationalist

2014 Results

SF                    51.7%               4 seats

SDLP                   31.6%              2 seats

Nationalist        12.3%

UUP                      4.4%

I do not expect any change here. SF will elect all 4 and the SDLP 2. The SDLP may be less than 2 quotas but will reach 2 quotas on Alliance and UUP transfers. There are also 1,600 EU nationals on the register here.

Prediction

2 SDLP 4 SF

Crotlieve- 6 seats Quota 14.3%

2019 Electorate

Catholic             86%
Protestant        12 %

None/Other       2%

Candidates

1 DUP 1 UUP 1 Alliance 3 Independents 3 SDLP 4 SF

2014 Results

SF                             34.5%              2 seats

SDLP                        43.4%              3 seats

Independent          10.3%              1 seat

UUP                           9.5%

DUP                           2.3%

The SDLP vote will be down and less than 3 quotas. The 2017 elections indicate the SDLP and SF percentages will be reversed so SF will have 3 1st preference quotas though all 3 will not be elected until 1 of the 4 SF candidates is eliminated. If the independent elected in 2014 OR the unionist candidates are eliminated then the SDLP will still elect 3.

Prediction

3 SDLP 3 SF

Change -1 Independent +1 SF

The Mournes- 7 seats Quota 12.5%

2019 Electorate

Catholic             59.5%
Protestant         37.5 %

None/Other       3%

Candidates

1 DUP 1 UUP 1 Ind Unionist 1 Alliance 2 SDLP 3 SF

2014 Results

SF                             28.5%                2 seats

SDLP                        23.8%                2 seats

Alliance                      2.4%

NI21                            1.4%

UUP                           17.0%               1 seat

DUP                             9.0%                1 seat

UKIP                           18.1%               1 seat

The demographics indicate almost 5 nationalist quotas. However, nationalist turnout was only 46% vs 56% unionist. Nationalist turnout was higher in the 2017 Assembly elections but total unionist vote would have been 40%, which is still over 3 quotas. The SF vote will be higher and the SDLP vote will be less than 2 quotas but the SDLP will receive enough Alliance and unionist transfers to keep their 2 seats. The UKIP candidate in 2014 is standing as an independent in 2019.

Prediction

1 DUP 1 UUP 1 Ind Unionist 2 SDLP 2 SF

Slieve Croob- 5 seats Quota 16.7%

2019 Electorate

Catholic             65%
Protestant         31.5 %

None/Other       3.5%

Candidates

1 DUP 1 UUP 1 Alliance 2 SDLP 3 SF 1 Aontu

2014 Results

SF                             32.5%                2 seats

SDLP                        24.9%                1 seat

Alliance                   10.0%                1 seat

NI21                            1.6%

UUP                          10.4%

DUP                          14.8%                1 seat

UKIP                            5.9%

Based on trends since 2014 and looking at the 2017 Assembly and Westminster results The SF vote will be 40% and the SDLP vote 20%.  SF will be too far short of 3 quotas even with perfect balancing. The UUP vote will be down based on trends since 2014 and will be less than Alliance 1st preference. Alliance should elect one on UUP and some SDLP transfers.

Prediction

1 DUP 1 Alliance 1 SDLP 2 SF

Downpatrick- 5 seats Quota 16.7%

2019 Electorate

Catholic             86%
Protestant         11 %

None/Other       3%

Candidates

1 DUP 1 UUP 1 Green 1 Alliance 1 Independent 3 SDLP 2 SF 1 Aontu

2014 Results

SF                             28.3%                1 seat

SDLP                        50.9%                3 seats

Independent           12.9%               1 seat

UUP                             5.7%

DUP                             2.2%

The SF vote will certainly be higher since 2014 and will be over 2 quotas (33.4%). The Independent elected in 2014 (Enright) was the Green candidate in 2011. There was no Alliance candidate in 2014 nor a Green candidate. If the SDLP vote is 45% and the SF vote 35% can the SDLP still elect 3? They did receive 60% the unionist transfers vs 40% for Enright. With Alliance and Greens competing Enright will have a lower 1st preference. Since the SDLP will be picking up 4% from unionist transfers as well as some SF surplus transfers they will probably elect 3 again. Only poor balancing could alter this.

Prediction

3 SDLP 2 SF

Change -1 Independent +1 SF

Rowallane- 5 seats Quota 16.7%

2019 Electorate

Catholic             36%
Protestant         59 %

None/Other       5%

Candidates

2 DUP 2 UUP 1 Independent 1 Green 1 Alliance 1 SDLP 1 SF 1 Aontu

2014 Results

SF                               8.0%

SDLP                        19.0%                1 seat

Nationalist                2.2%

Alliance                     7.3%                1 seat

NI21                            3.9%

UUP                          26.2%               1 seat

DUP                          27.3%               2 seats

TUV                             6.2%

The demographics indicate 2 nationalist quotas. Nationalist turnout was 40% vs 45% unionist in 2014 but it was identical in the 2017 Assembly election. The SDLP vote will be down and the SF vote up though the SF increase will be muted by the presence of the Aontu candidate. The total nationalist vote may reach 2 quotas on 1st preference. The UUP vote will be down and the DUP vote up. Alliance will add half of the NI21 vote from 2014. The UUP should still elect 2 on TUV transfers. Alliance defeated the UUP for the 5th seat in 2014 by only 80 votes which included over 400 nationalist transfers. Those transfers will not be available in this election.

Prediction

2 DUP 1 UUP 1 SDLP 1 SF

Change -1 Alliance +1 SF

 

District Council 2019

                                         #3   Belfast

Belfast should be interesting in 2019. Nationalist turnout was quite low in 2014 and unionist turnout was high due to the flag controversy. NI21 no longer exists so their 2.7% of the vote will go elsewhere. The vote of People Before Profit has increased dramatically. It was only 5% in West Belfast in 2014 and increased to 23% in the 2016 Assembly election only to fall back to 15% in the 2017 Assembly election and 10.4% in the 2017 Westminster election. What their vote is in 2019 will greatly determine the results in the 3 DEA’s within West Belfast. The presence of the new republican party Aontu will also influence the results.

This was the distribution of councilors by party after the election:

SF                   19

SDLP                7

PBP                  1

Green              1

Alliance           8

UUP                 7

DUP                13

PUP                   3

TUV                   1

 

Castle- 6 seats Quota 14.3%

2019 Electorate

Catholic          54%
Protestant      40 %

None/Other     6%

Candidates

2 DUP 1 UUP 1 Green 1 Alliance 2 SDLP 2 SF 1 PBP 1 WP 2 Ind Nationalists

2014 Results

SF                     25.1%               1 seat

 

SDLP                 16.6%               1 seat

Nationalist       3.9%

Alliance             9.6%                 1 seat

NI21                  3.2%

DUP                   24.7%               2 seats

UUP                   10.1%               1 seat

PUP                      6.2%

The nationalist electorate is almost 4 quotas but only 2 were elected. This was because of low turnout and lack of transfers to SF and good balancing among all 3 unionists elected. The 2nd SF candidate was only 112 votes behind the UUP on the last count and all 3 unionists were elected under quota. The result will be different in 2019. In North Belfast in 2014 the nationalist vote was 39% but in the 2017 Assembly and Westminster elections it was 47%. If that higher turnout persists then the total nationalist 1st preference vote in Castle DEA will be 55%. There are essentially 4 SDLP candidates since the 2 independent nationalist were the 2 SDLP candidates in 2014. PBP is also standing. The SF vote will be over 30% so both will be elected. There is no PUP candidate in 2019 but in 2014 their vote split evenly between the UUP and DUP. The UUP vote has been declining since 2014 and will be less than 10%, even after taking into account the extra votes from the absence of a PUP candidate.  The majority of the NI21 vote transferred to Alliance so their 1st preference vote will be over 11%. Alliance will be elected since the UUP will be eliminated and receive some of their transfers. 2 DUP will also be elected on UUP transfers. There are essentially 4 SDLP candidates and their combined 1st preference should be over 20%.  Pat Convery received twice the vote of Mullaghan in 2014. It is likely that one of the 2 official SDLP candidates will be elected after the other 3 are eliminated. Some of their transfers will go to Alliance and Alliance should be over a quota.

Prediction

2 DUP 1 Alliance 1 SDLP 2 SF

Change -1 UUP +1 SF

Oldpark- 6 seats Quota 14.3%

2019 Electorate

Catholic          67%
Protestant      29.5 %

None/Other     3.5%

Candidates

2 DUP 1 UUP 1 PUP 1 Green 1 Alliance 1 SDLP 4 SF 1 PBP 1 WP

2014 Results

SF                    44.6%               3 seats

SDLP                 8.8%               1 seat

Nationalist      11.7%

Alliance             3.0%

DUP                18.1%                1 seat

UUP                 3.5%

PUP                  7.4%                  1 seat

TUV                  3.0%

This results in this DEA will also change if the nationalist turnout is as high as it was in the 2017 Assembly and Westminster elections. The nationalist vote would be over 5 quotas (71.4%). The DUP would still have 1 quota. The SF vote will be over 50% and with 4 balanced candidates they all be will be elected on PBP transfers. The SDLP vote may be less than the PBP vote but they will receive significant transfers from Alliance, Green, WP and UUP and should win on the last count.

Prediction

1 DUP 1 SDLP 4 SF

Change -1 PUP +1 SF

Court- 6 seats Quota 14.3%

2019 Electorate

Catholic          38%
Protestant      58 %

None/Other     4%

Candidates

3 DUP 1 UUP 1 PUP 1 TUV I Ind unionist 1 Green 1 Alliance 1 SDLP 2 SF 1 PBP 1 WP

2014 Results

SF                    24.0%               2 seats

SDLP                 4.9%

Nationalist       5.0%

Alliance             1.1%

NI21                   1.0%

DUP                 31.1%                2 seats

UUP                   5.7%

PUP                  19.8%                1 seat

TUV                    7.3%                1 seat

Nationalist turnout was lower than unionist turnout in 2014. Unionist turnout was high due to the flag controversy. However, in the 2017 Assembly election nationalist turnout was so much higher that the nationalist vote would have been 40% with the same unionist turnout. In 2017 unionist turnout was actually lower than the 2014 council election by a few hundred votes. So if a council election had been held the same day in 2017 the nationalist vote would have been 43%. If the nationalist turnout remains high and the unionist turnout is slightly lower (due to demographic changes over the past 5 years) then only 3 unionists will be elected. SF is only standing 2 and their 1st preference vote should equal 30% so 2 will be elected. It is difficult to predict Whether PBP or the SDLP will have the advantage for the 3rd nationalist seat. The SDLP will receive Alliance, Green, WP and UUP transfers but their 1st preference vote may be only 5%. If PBP 1st preference vote is over 7% then they will have the advantage. The PUP will be over a quota and the DUP should be near 2 quotas and will elect 2 on UUP transfers. I do not see how the TUV can win a seat. The independent unionist is the TUV councilor elected in 2014 and likely they will not transfer well to each other depending on who is eliminated first.

Prediction

2 DUP 1 PUP 2 SF 1 PBP

Change -1 TUV +1 PBP

Black Mountain- 7 seats Quota 12.5%

2019 Electorate

Catholic           95%
Protestant        3.5 %

None/Other     1.5%

Candidates

1 Green 1 Alliance 1 SDLP 6 SF 1 Aontu 1 PBP 1 WP

2014 Results

SF                    68.0%               5 seats

SDLP                10.0%              1 seat

Nationalist      20.6%              1 seat (PBP)

Alliance             0.8%

NI21                   0.6%

The PBP vote was 12% in 2014 and based on the 2017 Westminster or Assembly election will be well above a quota. The SDLP vote could be less than 10% but they will receive 1% from the 2014 Alliance and NI21 vote as well as some PBP transfers. The SF vote will be less than 60% due to the increased PBP vote since 2014 as well as the presence of Aontu and may not elect 5. The Eirigi vote was 7.5% in 2014 and it is not clear where this vote will go. Some will go to PBP and some to Aontu. Since it will be difficult to balance 6 candidates and taking into account the changes that occurred in the 2017 I believe SF will elect 4 and Aontu 1. It is also possible that the SDLP could lose their seat and SF elect 5. This is not an easy DEA to predict.

Prediction

1 SDLP 4 SF 1 Aontu 1 PBP

Collin- 6 seats Quota 14.7%

2019 Electorate

Catholic          88%
Protestant      10 %

None/Other     2%

Candidates

1 DUP 1 UUP 1 Green 1 Alliance 1 SDLP 5 SF 1 PBP 1 Aontu 1 WP

2014 Results

SF                    67.4%               5 seats

SDLP               14.1%               1 seat

Nationalist      6.5%

Alliance            3.8%

NI21                  3.8%

UUP                   4.3%

The SDLP vote may be lower but they will receive many Alliance and unionist transfers so will still elect one. Either Aontu or PBP could take the 5th SF seat here. Based on the Assembly vote PBP should be near a quota and should win a seat with Aontu transfers.

Prediction

1 SDLP 4 SF 1 PBP

Change -1 SF +1 PBP

Botanic- 5 seats Quota 16.7%

2019 Electorate

Catholic              48%
Protestant          39 %

None/Other       13%

Candidates

2 DUP 1 UUP 1 PUP 1 TUV 1 Ind unionist 1 Green 2 Alliance 1 SDLP I Ind nationalist 2 SF 1 PBP 1 WP

2014 Results

SF                        14.7%               1 seat

SDLP                   16.7%               1 seat

Nationalist           3.0%

Alliance              17.9%               1 seat

Green                   8.6%

NI21                      5.5%

UUP                      8.5%               1 seat

DUP                     14.1%              1 seat

TUV                        5.7%

PUP                        3.9%

Conservative        1.4%

There was a 6% decline in the unionist vote from the 2014 election to the 2017 Assembly election in South Belfast. If that higher nationalist-Alliance-Green turnout persists then the total unionist vote would be less than 30% here. SF votes should exceed 1 quota. The Green vote has increased significantly since 2014 and their 1st preference vote will be over 10%. They will receive transfers from the SDLP, Alliance, PBP and will receive some of the NI21 vote from 2014. The UUP vote has been declining and it possible that they could be eliminated before the TUV or PUP. Nevertheless, with a total unionist 1st preference less than 30% only one unionist will be elected which will be DUP. There is a remote chance that Alliance could win 2 on Green transfers but it would require perfect balancing and I believe the Green 1st preference vote will be too high for 2 Alliance to be elected. This DEA also has 3,500 foreign nationals on the register including 2,000 EU nationals. Obviously, any pro EU, anti-Brexit candidate who can successfully target those voters will have a major advantage.

Prediction

1 DUP 1 Alliance 1 Green 1 SDLP 1 SF

Change -1 UUP +1 Green

Balmoral- 5 seats Quota 16.7%

2019 Electorate

Catholic              47%
Protestant          47 %

None/Other         6%

Candidates

2 DUP 1 UUP 1 UKIP 1 Green 1 Alliance 2 SDLP 1 SF 1 PBP

2014 Results

SF                        17.1%               1 seat

SDLP                   23.7%               1 seat

Nationalist           0.8%

Alliance              13.9%               1 seat

Green                   2.5%

NI21                      3.7%

UUP                      9.9%               1 seat

DUP                     21.6%              1 seat

PUP                        6.0%

Conservative        0.8%

 

The nationalist-Alliance-Green turnout was much higher in the 2017 Assembly and Westminster elections. If that higher turnout persists then the total 1st preference unionist vote would be 32% or just short of 2 quotas. SF will be elected on the 1st count with a significant surplus. Alliance should be elected on the 1st count since they will pick up much of the 2014 NI21 vote. The UUP vote will be down significantly and may be only 8% or less. If that occurs then the 2 DUP candidates will be ahead of the UUP who will be eliminated. The SDLP could elect 2 if they have good balancing since they will receive SF, PBP, Alliance and Green transfers and if the UUP are eliminated UUP transfers.

Prediction

1 DUP 1 Alliance 2 SDLP 1 SF

Change -1 UUP +1 SDLP

Lisnasharragh- 6 seats Quota 14.3%

2019 Electorate

Catholic              33%
Protestant          59 %

None/Other         8%

Candidates

3 DUP 2 UUP 1 UKIP 1 PUP 1 Green 2 Alliance 1 Ind 1 SDLP 1 SF 1 PBP I Ind nationalist

2014 Results

SF                        6.1%

SDLP                   8.4%                1 seat

Alliance              24.6%              2 seats

Green                   4.6%

NI21                      4.5%

UUP                      13.0%             1 seat

DUP                     32.8%              2 seats

PUP                        6.0%

The nationalist vote should be up significantly to the 20% range. Alliance will pick up enough NI21 votes that they may have 2 1st preference quota. However, based on the 2017 Assembly results the Green vote may be as high as 10% and if the Alliance candidates are not perfectly balanced then one will be eliminated The SF vote may be close the SDLP vote since the independent nationalist Kate Mullan was the SDLP councilor elected in 2014. While much of her transfers will go to the SDLP some may go to SF or Alliance. The UUP vote will be down but they should be elected on PUP transfers of which they received half in 2014. I believe the SDLP will win the last seat with the help of unionist transfers.

Prediction

2 DUP 1 UUP 1 Alliance 1 Green 1 SDLP

Change -1 Alliance +1 Green

Titanic- 6 seats Quota 14.3%

2019 Electorate

Catholic                25%
Protestant            63 %

None/Other         12%

Candidates

3 DUP 2 UUP 1 UKIP 1 PUP 1 Green 2 Alliance 1 Ind 1 SF

2014 Results

SF                        11.7%           1 seat

SDLP                     1.0%

WP                        0.7%

Socialist                1.1%

Alliance               15.1%           1 seat

Green                   2.1%

NI21                      2.6%

UUP                     16.7%             1 seat

DUP                     26.1%              2 seats

PUP                      11.6%              1 seat

TUV                         5.8%

UKIP                        5.5%

This is an area where the demographics are changing rapidly. The native Protestant population is moving out and there has been a large influx of foreign nationals. There are 2,500 foreign nationals on the register of which 1,600 are EU nationals. Many are not registered and that total adult population is somewhere between 15% and 20% of the total population. The total non unionist vote was 34% and this would have been higher in the 2017 Assembly election. There are only 3 anti-Brexit pro EU parties competing. SF could have a 1st count quota if they target the large foreign national electorate, most of whom are very worried about Brexit. Alliance could also elect 2 if they target the same foreign national electorate. The UUP have 2 candidates, which is a poor strategy since the UUP may be slightly short of one quota. They should still elect one on UKIP transfers and intra UUP transfers. The PUP should also elect one on UKIP transfers and some of the2014 TUV vote which they will receive on 1st preference or transfers.

Prediction

2 DUP 1 PUP 1 UUP 1 Alliance 1 SF

Ormiston- 7 seats Quota 12.5%

2019 Electorate

Catholic                14%
Protestant            78 %

None/Other           8%

Candidates

3 DUP 2 UUP 1 UKIP 1 PUP 1 Green 3 Alliance 1 SF

2014 Results

SF                        0.4%

SDLP                    0.7%

Alliance              27.5%           2 seats

Green                   6.5%            1 seat

NI21                      3.4%

UUP                     19.6%             2 seat

DUP                     26.8%             2 seats

PUP                        4.0%

TUV                        5.0%

UKIP                       4.8%

Conservative         1.3%

The Alliance Party will be targeting the Green seat. In 2014 at the 10th count their 3rd candidate was only 57 votes behind the Greens and the 2 other Alliance candidates each had 300 more votes than the Green candidate. It was only by such poor balancing that Alliance lost the 3rd seat. This mistake is unlikely to be repeated again in 2019. The UUP vote will be down be they should still elect 2 on transfers from the smaller unionist parties.

Prediction

2 DUP 2 UUP 3 Alliance

Change -1 Green +1 Alliance

Overall the new Belfast council will be:

SF                        19

SDLP                     8

Aontu                  1

PBP                      3

Alliance               9

Green                   1

DUP                    13

UUP                      5

PUP                       1

I am least confident in the 3rd nationalist seat in Court because of the history of poor intra nationalist transfers. SF could also have 5 in Black Mountain but that will not affect the total number of nationalists. Belfast will either be a narrow nationalist majority council or they will hold half the seats. This outcome will only occur if nationalist turnout equals the 2017 Assembly level and EU and other foreign nationals are targeted.

Overall for this council a very good result with 4 extra seats for SF. 

 District Council 2019

#6       Causeway Coast & Glens—Derry & Strabane

The Glens- 5 seats Quota 16.7%

2019 Electorate

Catholic          71%
Protestant      27%

None/Other     2%

Candidates

1 DUP 1 UUP 1 SDLP 3 SF 1 Independent nationalist

2014 Results

SF                                35.2%            2 seats

SDLP                           18.7%            1 seat

Ind nationalist           22.5%            1 seat

Alliance                         2.0%

DUP                               7.6%

UUP                            10.4%            1 seat

TUV                               3.5%

The demographics indicate 2 unionist quotas but unionist turnout is much lower than nationalist turnout (38% vs 55%). The independent, Padraig McShane, who was elected in 2014 is not standing in 2019. I expect most of this vote to go to SF. The UUP vote may be lower but they will benefit from a few nationalist transfers and keep the seat.

Prediction

1 UUP 1 SDLP 3 SF

Change -1 independent +1 SF

Ballymoney- 7 seats Quota 12.5%

 

 

2019 Electorate

Catholic           31%
Protestant      65.5%

None/Other     3.5%

Candidates

3 DUP 2 UUP 2 TUV 1 Ind unionist 1 Alliance 2 SF

2014 Results

SF                                18.9%        1 seat

SDLP                              5.9%

Ind nationalist             2.4%

Alliance                         3.7%

DUP                             33.1%        3 seats

UUP                             16.7%         2 seats

TUV                              17.9%         1 seat

Conservative                 1.6%

The demographics indicate 2.5 nationalist quotas here but only 1 SF was elected in 2014 due to low nationalist turnout and lack of transfers from the SDLP. SF lost the last seat to the DUP by only 9 votes. In a major surprise the SDLP is not even contesting this DEA while Alliance is. The UUP vote has declined significantly since 2014 in North Antrim so I expect the UUP to elect only one.

Prediction

3 DUP 1 UUP 1 TUV 2 SF

Change -1 UUP +1 SF

Causeway- 7 seats Quota 7.5%

2019 Electorate

Catholic           21.5%
Protestant       73.5%

None/Other      5%

Candidates

3 DUP 2 UUP 2 TUV 1 UKIP 1 Ind unionist 1 Alliance 1 Green 1 SDLP 1 SF

2014 Results

SF                                   0%

SDLP                              9.4%          1 seat

Alliance                       10.1%          1 seat

NI21                               3.6%

DUP                             31.2%         2 seats

UUP                             25.6%         2 seats

TUV                              10.5%         1 seat

UKIP                               3.1%

Unionist                        6.6%

There are 1.75 nationalist quotas based on the demographics but there was less than one in 2014 though the SDLP was elected on transfers under a quota and 100 votes ahead of the DUP candidate. Nationalist turnout was 27% vs 47% unionist. SF will compete in 2019.

Prediction

2 DUP 2 UUP 1 TUV 1 Alliance 1 SDLP

Coleraine- 6 seats Quota 14.3%

2019 Electorate

Catholic            26%
Protestant       68%

None/Other      6%

Candidates

3 DUP 2 UUP 1 PUP 1 UKIP 1 Conservative 1 Alliance 1 SDLP 1 SF

2014 Results

SF                                   5.8%

SDLP                             11.0%           1 seat

Alliance                          6.2%

NI21                               1.7%

DUP                              33.2%           2 seats

UUP                              18.0%           2 seats

TUV                                 5.0%

PUP                               11.8%           1 seat

UKIP                                 2.9%

Unionist                          4.3%

The demographics indicate almost 2 nationalist quotas but nationalist turnout is only 28% versus 40% unionist. Nationalist turnout was higher in the 2017 Assembly election. The UUP vote is slowly declining and I believe the 2nd UUP candidate will be eliminated and some of those transfers will go to Alliance.

Prediction

2 DUP 1 UUP 1 PUP 1 Alliance 1 SDLP

Change -1 UUP +1 Alliance

Bann- 5 seats Quota 16.7%

2019 Electorate

Catholic           35.5%
Protestant       61.5%

None/Other      3.0%

Candidates

3 DUP 2 UUP 1 TUV 1 PUP 1 Alliance 1 SDLP 1 SF

2014 Results

SF                                   15.1%

SDLP                              13.3%          1 seat

Alliance                           3.6%

DUP                               29.1%         2 seats

UUP                               30.5%         2 seats

TUV                                 8.4%

There are over 2 nationalist quotas based on demographics. A nationalist turnout of 47% versus 60% unionist resulted in only 1 SDLP seat. Turnout was higher in the 2017 Assembly election. I expect that SF will be at a quota on the 1st count. The SDLP candidate will be elected on Alliance transfers.

Prediction

1 DUP 2 UUP 1 SDLP 1 SF

Change -1 DUP +1 SF

Limavady- 5 seats Quota 16.7%

2019 Electorate

Catholic           47.5%
Protestant       50.0%

None/Other      2.5%

Candidates

3 DUP 1 UUP 1 TUV 1 Alliance 1 SDLP 1 SF 1 Aontu

2014 Results

SF                                  21.3%           1 seat

SDLP                              15.4%          1 seat

 

DUP                             40.2%         2 seats

UUP                             15.4%         1 seats

TUV                              5.9%

UKIP                             1.9%

The demographics indicate that the nationalist and unionist vote should be nearly equal but nationalist turnout was 35% versus 54% unionist. The main factor here is the Aontu candidate Francie Brolly who is a former SF MLA and councilor. The presence of an Alliance candidate here should help both the SDLP and UUP with transfers. If the Aontu vote exceed the SF vote or the reverse then that candidate will be elected. I will wildly speculate here and predict an Aontu win.

Prediction

2 DUP 1 UUP 1 SDLP 1 Aontu

Change -1 SF +1 Aontu

Benbradagh- 5 seats Quota 16.7%

2019 Electorate

Catholic           71.5%
Protestant       27%

None/Other      1.5%

Candidates

1 DUP 1 UUP 1 TUV 1 Alliance 1 SDLP 3 SF 1 Aontu

2014 Results

SF                                   49.5%          3 seats

SDLP                              18.2%          1 seat

DUP                               12.7%

TUV                                19.6%          1 seat

Both the TUV and SDLP will be above a quota. It is possible that the SDLP could be below a quota but will be elected on Alliance and a few DUP transfers. It will be difficult for SF to win 3 seats here because of Aontu. Indeed, the DUP may encourage their voters to give Aontu a terminal transfer to defeat the 3rd SF candidate.

Prediction

1 TUV 1 SDLP 2 SF 1 Aontu

Change

-1 SF +1 Aontu

Overall for this council 2 SF gains in the eastern DEA’s but 2 losses to Aontu in the western DEA’s. Also a gain of one seat for Alliance.

 

Derry & Strabane

Faughan- 5 seats Quota 16.7%

2019 Electorate

Catholic           56%
Protestant       41%

None/Other      3%

Candidates

2 DUP 1 UUP 1 Alliance 3 SDLP 2 SF 1 Independent

2014 Results

SF                                   19.8%           1 seat

SDLP                              23.3%           2 seats

Ind nationalist               8%

Alliance                           5.3%

DUP                               31.9%         2 seats

UUP                                 8.8%

UKIP                                2.9%

SF may improve on their vote this year. There will be 2 DUP elected. The SDLP should still elect 2 since they will receive Alliance, Independent and UUP transfers.

Prediction

2 DUP 2 SDLP 1 SF

Waterside- 7 seats Quota 12.5%

2019 Electorate

Catholic           47%
Protestant       50%

None/Other      3%

Candidates

3 DUP 1 UUP 1 Alliance 2 SDLP 2 SF 1 PBP

2014 Results

SF                                   19.5%           1 seat

SDLP                               22.3%           2 seats

Ind nationalist                 1.3%

Alliance                             2.7%

DUP                                 28.3%         3 seats

UUP                                 17.0%          1 seat

UKIP                                   5.8%

PUP                                    3.1%

This DEA was once strongly unionist but the demographics have changed dramatically over the past 40 years such that there is now near parity between the nationalist and unionist electorate. Nationalist turnout was 43% vs 48% unionist in 2014 but probably equal in the 2017 Assembly election.  It is possible that there could be 4 nationalists elected. SF has increased their share of the nationalist vote since 2014 and it is likely that the SF vote will slightly exceed the SDLP vote. This is a border region where Brexit is a much more serious issue than in someplace such as Larne. Due to the disruptive effects that Brexit will have here the nationalist vote will be higher and could exceed unionist turnout. There are no UKIP or PUP candidates in 2019 and some of those voters will stay home, depressing the unionist turnout. The demographics show that the nationalist vote would be 2% higher compared to 5 years ago due to these changes. If the total unionist vote is 49% and the nationalist vote 47 % and Alliance 4% then 2 SF and 2 SDLP will be elected. One reason is that the UUP are standing only 1 candidate and will be 5% above the quota. So if the DUP vote is 32% they need all those UUP votes to transfer to the DUP. However, they will not since 1% will go the SDLP. If the SF vote is 24% and the SDLP vote 23% after PBP is eliminated then the SDLP will elect 2 since they will receive UUP and Alliance transfers. While SF will receive few Alliance transfer (0.5%) the DUP will receive few also (0.5%). SF may be just short of 2 quotas but the DUP will be even further away from 3.

Prediction

2 DUP 1 UUP 2 SDLP 2 SF

Change -1 DUP +1 SF

Ballyarnett- 6 seats Quota 14.3%

2019 Electorate

Catholic           95%
Protestant        4%

None/Other     1%

Candidates

1 Alliance 3 SDLP 4 SF 1 Aontu 1 PBP 1 Independent

2014 Results

SF                                   42.1%            3 seats

SDLP                               42.6%           2 seats

Ind nationalist              13.5%           1 seat

Alliance                           1.8%

The SDLP elected only 2 in 2014 despite having 3 1st preference quotas. The SDLP vote will be lower in 2019 but should be well above the 28.6% needed for 2 quotas. The Aontu candidate is a prominent local physician and will attract independent, SF and SDLP votes and should win a seat. SF will keep their 3 seats.

Prediction

2 SDLP 3 SF 1 Aontu

Change -1 Independent +1 Aontu

Foyleside- 5 seats Quota 16.7%

2019 Electorate

Catholic           91%
Protestant        6%

None/Other     3%

Candidates

1 Alliance 3 SDLP 3 SF 1 PBP 1 Independent

2014 Results

SF                                   36.0%            2 seats

SDLP                               41.1%           2 seats

Ind nationalist              20.8%           1 seat

Alliance                           2.2%

The SDLP vote will be down and the SF vote up but the SDLP will still have 2 quotas. The independent is former SDLP. PBP will receive much of the independent nationalist vote and could win on transfers.

Prediction

2 SF 2 SDLP 1 PBP

Change -1 Independent +1 PBP

The Moor- 5 seats Quota 16.7%

2019 Electorate

Catholic           95%
Protestant        5.5%

None/Other     1.5%

Candidates

1 DUP 1 Alliance 2 SDLP 4 SF 1 PBP 2 Independent

2014 Results

SF                                   51.5%            3 seats

SDLP                               30.1%           1 seats

Ind nationalist              18.5%           1 seat

I would expect the SF vote to be up and the SDLP vote to be down but no change if the candidates were the same as in 2014. However, the well-known Eamonn McCann is standing for PBP. One of the independents, Gary Donnelly was elected in 2014 and the other independent is former SDLP.  Donnelly may have received much of the PBP vote in 2014. The SDLP will be well above 1 quota but it will be difficult for SF to win 3 with McCann standing. However, I believe SF will win 3 and McCann will win over Donnelly.

Prediction

1 SDLP 3 SF 1 PBP

Change -1 Independent +1 PBP.

Sperrin- 7 seats Quota 12.5%

2019 Electorate

Catholic           75%
Protestant       24%

None/Other     1%

Candidates

2 DUP 1 UUP 1 Alliance 2 SDLP 4 SF 5 Independent

2014 Results

 

SF                                  38.9%            3 seats

SDLP                              17.6%           1seat

Ind nationalist             16.5%           1 seat

DUP                               21.3%           2 seats

UUP                                 5.8%

This DEA is very difficult to predict due to the 5 independents. The demographics indicate exactly 2 unionist and 5 nationalist quotas. Nationalist turnout was 2% below unionist in 2014 but in the 2017 Assembly election would have been 2% higher. Since this a border region Brexit may increase nationalist turnout even more so than 2017. One independent, Paul Gallagher, will likely be elected again. The DUP may struggle to reach 2 quotas. The nationalist turnout was higher in the 2017 Assembly election and if that higher turnout persists then the total unionist vote would be only 24%. If the DUP are at 19% and the UUP at 5% then the total DUP vote after transfers would be only 23% as not all UUP votes will transfer to the DUP. The 2nd DUP candidate would be 2% short of a quota. The SDLP will have only 1 quota. SF will win 3 and there is a possibility of a 4th SF seat. The SF 1st preference may be 45%. There will be a 6 % surplus from independent nationalists, SDLP and Alliance. SF would need to have good balancing among their 4 candidates and receive a minimum of that 3% of that surplus.

Prediction

1 DUP 1 SDLP 4 SF 1 Independent nationalist

Change -1 DUP +1 SF

Derg- 5 seats Quota 16.7%

2019 Electorate

Catholic           55%
Protestant       44%

None/Other     1%

Candidates

2 DUP 1 UUP 1 Alliance 1 Independent 1 SDLP 3 SF

2014 Results

SF                                  42.7%            3 seats

SDLP                              10.9%

DUP                               20.9%           1 seat

UUP                                 18.7%         1 seat

TUV                                    6.9%

There is no TUV candidate in 2019. There will be no change here.

Prediction

1 DUP 1 UUP 3 SF

Overall for this council SF will gain 2 seats and the DUP lose 2. There will also be gains for Aontu and PBP.

 

The final prediction for total seats in all councils is:

Net gain/loss

SF                                                             120                        +15

SDLP                                                          70                          +4

Aontu                                                          8                          +8

People Before Profit                                5                           +4

Total Nationalist                                   203                        +31

Alliance                                                     39                        +7

 

Green                                           4                              0

Total non-sectarian                  43                            +6

DUP                                           119                          -11

UUP                                             70                          -18

TUV                                              15                          +2

PUP                                                3                           -1

UKIP                                               0                           -3

Total Unionist                           207                         -31

Independents                                9                          -6

A net gain of 31 nationalist seats and a net loss of 31 unionist seats. The non-sectarian parties gain 6 seats and the independents lose 6 seats. It appears that the 9 independents in 2019 are 4 independent nationalists and 5 independent unionists.

School Census 2018


By Faha

The data for the 2018 School Census was released recently.

This data was obtained in October 2018 for all Primary, Secondary and Special Schools in Northern Ireland.
Derry Girls BlackboardThese records are available as far back as 2000 so I have compiled and compared the data for that 18 year time period. Here is the yearly data for the question on religion for students in each and the comparison for the years 2000 and 2018.

 

Year  Protestant  Catholic  Other Christian  Non-Christian  No Religion / Not recorded

2000                140,337      166,311      4,275       1,110     16,012   

2018                107,695      164,353     12,300      3,400     34,973              

Change           -32,642         -1,958        8,025      2,290     18,962

2000                  42.78%       50.70%     1.30%      0.34%     4.88%       

2018                  33.37%       50.93%     3.81%      1.05%    10.84%

Change              -9.41%      +0.23%    +2.51%    +0.71%    +5.96%

The obvious and main trend is the large decline of the Protestants in the student age groups.

The Catholic percentage has increased slightly over the 18 year time period. There has been an absolute decline in the number of Protestant students of 32,642 and the overall percentage has declined from 42.78% to 33.37%, a drop of 9.41%.

There has been a significant increase in the absolute numbers and percentages of No Religion, Non-Christian and Other Christian. The Non-Christian increase is due to the increase in Muslims, Hindus and others due to in migration.

The increase in Other-Christian appears to be due to several sources. Some are Eastern Orthodox, mainly the children of EU nationals from Romania, Bulgaria and Latvia. Others are the children of the increasing number of mixed Catholic-Protestant marriages. Some are former Protestants and Catholics who no longer identify with their original denomination but still identify as Christian.

This group is interesting since 25% attend integrated schools, which is much higher than the percentage of Protestants and Catholics who attend such schools. The number with No Religion has doubled in the past 18 years.  A few are the children of foreign nationals. Some are the children of mixed Protestant-Catholic marriages. The majority of the increase is probably due to the increased secularisation of society. They are also much more likely to attend integrated schools.

The school census is the most extensive and accurate census of religion statistics for the school age population, and by extension, the adult population also.

It appears to have a 99% response rate to the religion question, compared to the 86% response rate to the religion question in the 2011 census.

The school age Protestant population is declining at a rate of 0.5% per year and by the year 2025 will be under 30%. All of these students are future voters. It is difficult to imagine that the union will be secure with such a low support base among future voters.

In 1921 unionists gerrymandered a unionist dominated Northern Ireland with a Catholic population of only 35%.  In 2018 the Protestant school age population is less than what the Catholic population was in 1921.

At this time though, it is the eventual nature of Brexit that will have the most influence on a Border Poll.

However, whether Northern Ireland remains in the UK for another year or another 20 years, every year there will be a steadily declining unionist voting age population in each age cohort that reaches age 18.

The Demographic Clock


As some readers will be aware NISRA produced a report last week regarding 2017 data on the composition of the workforce here.

The Labour force survey religion report (2017) contains a wealth of data including some very interesting post Census 2011 demographic data as well as historical comparisons.

The report runs to 83 pages and goes into considerable detail. It can be accessed in full Here.

For the purpose of this blog I will look at the demographic changes revealed and how they are driving the changes that are now becoming apparent in society and how those changes are, in fact, accelerating.equality-2col

Looking firstly at the relevant Community characteristics, it is clear that the direction of travel is only one way.

From the Report:

“There were 643,000 Protestants aged 16 and over in 1990; in 2017 this figure has
decreased, to 612,000. Over this period, the number of Catholics increased by 165,000, or
38%, from 440,000 to 605,000. The number of people aged 16 and over classified as
‘other/non-determined’ has more than trebled from 63,000 to 245,000 between 1990 and
2017″ 

That is a 7000 person gap between the two primary blocs or 0.6%.

Over this period Protestants (42%) have declined by 14% while Catholics (41%) have increased by 3%. The “Other” cohort has increased from 6% to 17%.

Remember that the figures are from two years ago and clearly the “Other” classification has grown substantially over the period, the question regarding this cohort is which way they would be likely to vote in the coming Border Poll.

It is clear from the above that those from a Catholic background have a net gain of at least 196,000 over the period up to 2017.

If we look at those of Working Age only, (16-59), again from the report:

“Over this period (1990 – 2017), the number of Protestants of working age decreased by 10% (from
495,000 to 446,000), the number of working age Catholics increased by 36% (from
375,000 to 509,000), and the number of those classified as ‘other/non-determined’ more
than quadrupled (from 53,000 to 216,000)”

If we break down the age cohorts further we can see the following:

Age (2017) Catholic Protestant
16+ 41% 42%
16 – 24 45% 33%
16 – 59 43% 38%
60+ 35% 54%

In other words we can see that protestants are now a minority amongst those of working age. this is an accelerating trend as the proportion of elderly/ retired protestants is obviously higher than for catholics. (The elderly and retired don’t tend to be prominent in the childbearing cohorts).

Another area of note is the analysis of Household type across the different cohorts.

Household Type 2017

The above chart from the NISRA report, demonstrates that the only cohorts where protestants are in the majority are single pensioners and pensioner couples with no children.

The implications of this for the future trends should require no further explaination.

For brevity and given the focus of our site here, I haven’t gone into great detail on all aspects of the report but I would urge everyone to have a read in depth using the link provided above.

I’m aware the report is a religion rather than a political analysis. I’m sure the DUP “outreach to Catholics” project is progressing well as always.

It’s, as always, important not to conflate Catholics with Nationalists or Protestants with Unionists in an absolute way but it should be clear that the “Other” cohort is key to where we will be going next. This is a subject Faha has covered on this site previously. I have my own thoughts on the subject but as always things will come down to the votes cast in the next election cycles.

I’m also sure that intelligent unionists know what’s coming down the line and are trying to warn their representatives. As Peter Robinson discovered, that can provoke unfortunate responses from the Sammy Wilson’s of this world.

As always, further research, comment and analysis, from whatever source, is very welcome.

PS: Just one small detail I haven’t mentioned…………… Brexit

EU Withdrawal Agreement and a Border Poll


By Faha

LucidTalk released a NI”Tracker”Poll on December 5th. The polling was conducted from November 30th through December 3rd.

The questions covered the UK governments EU withdrawal agreement as well as questions on a Border Poll with 3 different scenarios.ticking Clock

A total of 1,335 respondents were included.

The raw totals showed an under-representation from the Nationalist community and an overrepresentation from the Neutral community (in respect to constitutional position) so a weighted adjustment was done.

The raw total from the Unionist community was fine and did not need to be adjusted. The weighted percentages by constitutional position were:

Unionist         47.3%

Nationalist     45.5%

Neutral              7.1%

These are self-identifying positions and religion background was not included.

In one scenario voters were given 5 options on the UK governments EU withdrawal agreement if there was a referendum on the current options (“People’s Vote”).One option was for the UK to remain in the EU and the results by constitutional position were:

Nationalist       Neutral        Unionist

#1 Remain in EU                           90%                 78%               21%

#2 Leave-No Deal                            2%                   4%               40%

#3 Leave-Better Deal

More distant from EU                    1%                   2%                26%

#4 Leave-Current deal                    4%                  6%                   7%

#5 Leave-Closer to

EU than current deal               1%              5%             2%

 

In another scenario only 3 options were presented.

Nationalist       Neutral        Unionist

#1 Remain in EU                           94%               81%              29%

#2 Leave-No Deal                            4%                 6%               44%

#3 Leave-Better Deal

More distant from EU                    2%                12%              27%

 

Finally, a scenario was presented with only 2 options.

 

Nationalist       Neutral        Unionist

#1 Remain in EU                          95%                87%               31%

#2 Leave-No Deal                            5%               13%               69%

 

 

Voters from the nationalist community overwhelmingly wish for the UK to Remain in the EU.

There is a low level of support among voters in the unionist community (21%) for the UK to Remain in the EU. Indeed, 2/3 of voters from the unionist community prefer a No Deal Brexit or a Hard Brexit.

Those voters from the Neutral community are almost as much in favour of Remaining in the EU as those from the nationalist community.

What is interesting is that if there is only an option of Remaining in the EU or Leave the EU with No Deal almost 70% of those from the unionist community prefer a No Deal Brexit.

Now you should understand that the poll is referring to those who identify as belonging to the unionist community.

There are significant percentages of voters from both the nationalist and unionist communities that vote for nonsectarian parties and those voters are very unlikely to prefer a No Deal Brexit.

I estimate, based on other recent polls, that if the cross tabs were available in this poll, that up to 80% of voters from the unionist community that VOTE for Unionist parties prefer a No Deal Brexit over Remaining in the EU if those are the only 2 options.

The DUP are criticized for not representing the views of the people of Northern Ireland. However, they do represent the views of their own voters.

There were a question asked on a Border Poll with 3 scenarios. One was a scenario in which there is no Brexit and the UK remains within the EU.

 

United Ireland   NI Remain in UK    Undecided

Total                         29%                  60%                    11%

Nationalist               62%                  22%                    14%

Unionist                     0%                   97%                      3%

Neutral                       2%                   58%                    40%

Of the total 11% Undecided only 1% are from the unionist community.

Nevertheless, even if most of those undecideds from the nationalist and neutral communities voted for a United Ireland there would be over 60% of voters who would vote to remain in the UK. These views are basically identical to polls from 15 to 20 years ago.

Another scenario asked voters how they would vote if a Brexit occurred with the UK governments’ current EU withdrawal agreement.

 

United Ireland   NI Remain in UK    Undecided

Total                         48%                  48%                     4%

Nationalist               92%                   5%                      3%

Unionist                     3%                   92%                     5%

Neutral                     54%                  29%                    17%

Under the proposed current EU withdrawal agreement there are equal number of voters who prefer a United Ireland or to Remain in the UK. The current EU agreement is basically a very soft Brexit.

You will notice that there is a dramatic shift in those voters from the Neutral community with Brexit and support for a United Ireland increasing from 2% to 54%.

In an actual Border Poll a United Ireland vote would have a slight majority since 16 and 17 year olds are not included in this poll.

Also there are very few foreign nationals included in the poll, an electorate that strongly favours staying in the EU.

Another scenario asked voters how they would vote if the UK governments EU withdrawal agreement was defeated in the UK parliament and no deal was negotiated with the EU.

United Ireland   NI Remain in UK    Undecided

Total                        55%                  42%                      3%

Nationalist              98%                   0%                       2%

Unionist                  11%                  86%                       3%

Neutral                    70%                  14%                     16%

Clearly, under a No Deal scenario there would be a substantial majority in favour of a United Ireland.

After accounting for the Undecided the vote would be approximately 56% for a United Ireland and 44% against.

You will notice that these results are identical to the EU referendum results so the vote in favour of a United Ireland is basically determined by Brexit preferences.

Some may be skeptical that 11% of voters from the unionist community would vote for a United Ireland. However, the majority of that 11% are voters from the unionist community that vote for Alliance, Green, SDLP or independents.

Voters from the unionist community that VOTE for unionist parties are likely less than 5% of voters who vote for unionist parties and who would vote for a United Ireland in a No Deal scenario.

I would also note that these polls only include 1% of their respondents from the ethnic national population of Northern Ireland. Currently ethnic nationals are 5% of the registered voters and 9% of the voting age population. EU nationals will be overwhelmingly in favour of Remaining in the EU. They were permitted to vote in the Scottish Independence Referendum.

Those age 16 and 17 should also be allowed to vote in a Border Poll as they were in the Scottish Independence Referendum. Taking these extra voters into account a United Ireland Vote would be 60% in favour of a United Ireland with a 100% turnout of voters in a No Deal scenario and 54% in favour of a United Ireland if the current EU agreement passed in Westminster.

There is a similar trend in Scotland. Panelbase did a recent poll for the Sunday Times among Scottish voters. Only 47% are in favour of an Independent Scotland. This increases to 53% if the current EU agreement is passed. It increase to 59% in a No Deal scenario. The latter two are basically identical to Northern Ireland preferences in the same scenarios.

At this time all political parties in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland should be demanding a Border Poll if Brexit occurs in late March 2019.

According to the Good Friday Agreement and St. Andrews Agreement the British government may schedule a Border Poll if it appears that a majority of voters in Northern Ireland would favour reunification with the Republic of Ireland.

All opinion polls in the previous 6 months indicate that this is the true if Brexit occurs.

When should a Border Poll be held?

I believe that it should be scheduled for June and no later than October.

The reason is that businesses in Northern Ireland that trade with EU nations need to know if their trade in goods and services with EU nations will be affected in a detrimental manner as soon as possible. Businesses often operate on narrow profit margins. After 2 or 3 months some of these companies in Northern Ireland could be unprofitable and need to make a decision to relocate to Ireland or other EU nations in order to have access to their EU markets. They cannot wait for a Border Poll that could be held 10, 5 or even 1 years after Brexit.

Already some Northern Ireland companies have indicated that they will need to move their operations to the Republic of Ireland in order to have access to the EU market.

It is unlikely that the Conservative government would agree to a Border Poll.

Their coalition partner, the DUP, is strongly opposed to one. One of the provisions of the Good Friday and St. Andrews agreement is that the Northern Ireland Secretary is required to call another election if no government if formed in Northern Ireland within 30 days of an Assembly election.

The last Assembly election was held in March 2017 and the deadline for the Northern Ireland Secretary to call an election is almost 2 years overdue.

The point is that the British government will ignore the provisions of the Good Friday and St. Andrews agreement and will refuse to schedule a Border Poll.

However, behind the scenes pressure can be applied to the British government by the EU nations to schedule a Border Poll after Brexit.

Any future concessions by the EU in negotiations with the British government should be contingent on the timely scheduling of a Border Poll.

 

 

 

So What did they Do?


Every time I’ve started a blog this week I’ve been overtaken and outflanked by that curse of the political classes as defined by Macmillan –  Events.

As the English catastrophe known as “Brexit” lurches from crisis to crisis, many of us look on aghast. I have no idea what form of collective insanity still thinks it is a good idea for anybody but that is a matter for English (and Welsh) voters if that is still their wish. Scottish voters are in a similar position to ourselves in Ireland of course.

There can be no doubt that many English voters have been on a very steep learning Howling at the mooncurve over the last two years. Here is a particularly moving example. I’m still not convinced that Brexit will happen at the end of March.

Theresa May has put the option of not leaving back on the table, there may be a second referendum, at the current rate of developments there could be a Coup d’etat, but we will surely see how it all pans out.

For myself, I am very concerned for the people of this Island.  All of us.

Quietly, but with increasing urgency and volume, a coalition has been emerging, united in opposition to this Brexit insanity. It includes political parties representing a majority of voters and representatives of farming, industry and wider civic society.

Meanwhile, the Dup and indeed, wider political Unionism, is busy alienating precisely the demographic cohorts they will need in future elections. In other words, the young, the unionist middle classes, the politically agnostic, and pretty much every single nationalist, of whatever hue or inclination, in these six tormented counties.

Instead, they are reverting to type with the political slogans of the 1690’s, calls for “Unionist Unity” and the old wagon circling instincts coming to the fore. I’m sure readers here will need no interpretation of “Blood Red Lines”, “No Surrender” and suggestions that the EU has signed up with the IRA.

This is Dog whistling of the worst kind which is of limited effect when directed at eejits who are howling at the moon instead of engaging their brains.

I’m going to close this blog with another Macmillan quote from 1962. It’s about a different matter but I trust the relevance to today will be apparent and I have in mind those who have not actively engaged in a political sense until now. More power to them!

“So what did they do? They solemnly asked Parliament, not to approve or disapprove, but to ‘take note’ of our decision. Perhaps some of the older ones among you will remember that popular song: ‘She didn’t say “Yes”, she didn’t say “No”. She didn’t say “stay”, she didn’t say “go”. She wanted to climb, but dreaded to fall, she bided her time and clung to the wall.'”

The future of England


By Faha

A new poll was released this week. It was commissioned by the University of Edinburgh and the University of Cardiff and was called the “Future of England Study”. Voters were Fragmented nationpolled throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland during late June and early July 2018.  In Northern Ireland the fieldwork was conducted by LucidTalk and included a weighted sample of 1,089 voters. Numerous questions were asked and I will go over only the most relevant ones.

Voters were asked how they would vote if a Westminster election were held. The results were (excluding those who would not vote)

DUP                                 31.6%

UUP                                 11.1%

Other Unionist                 3.1%

Total Unionist                45.8%

SF                                     27.3%

SDLP                                 11.5%

PBP                                     0.5%

Total Nationalist             39.3%

Alliance-Green                10.6%

Undecided                          4.3%

The Undecided were 70% from the unionist community, 10% nationalist and 20% Neither. Taking that into account it appears the total Unionist vote would be 48%, the total nationalist vote 40% and the Alliance-Green vote 12%. The sample in the poll appears to reflect the actual electorate since the unionist vote is nearly identical to the actual unionist vote in 2017 though the nationalist vote is lower and the Alliance-Green vote higher than the 2017 election.  However, I wish to note that 22% of voters stated they would not vote and the results by constitutional background were:

Nationalist-Republican    29%

Unionist                              14%

Neutral                               17%

None-Non Political           91%

Nationalist voters are much less likely to vote in a Westminster election than unionist voters. As you know, this has been my contention for many years that voter turnout is lower among nationalist voters than unionist voters.

Voters were asked how they would vote on a new EU referendum and the results were:

Nationalist       Unionist         Neutral      None-Non Political

 

Remain in EU                   85%                   28%                94%            92%

Leave EU                             3%                   68%                 3%              3%

Undecided                        12%                    4%                  3%              4%

For all voters it was 60% Remain, 32% Leave and 8% Undecided. This poll shows an increase in support for Remain compared to the actual EU referendum result of 56% Remain in Northern Ireland.

A question on a Border Poll was not directly asked. Voters were asked if Scotland, Wales, England or Northern Ireland should become independent countries. The results for Northern Ireland were:

No it should become part of a United Ireland   44%

No it should remain the UK                                   43%

Yes-independent country                                         4%

Undecided                                                                   9%

The breakdown by constitutional preference was:

Nationalist       Unionist         Neutral      None-Non Political

United Ireland                     89%                2%                 39%           2%

Stay in UK                               0%               93%                16%            5%

Independent country           4%                 3%                  8%             1%

Undecided                              6%                 1%                 37%           93%

The results are unsurprising. A small number of voters actually prefer an independent Northern Ireland. There are 3 interesting findings about the None- Non Political group. Over 90% are in favour of Remaining in the EU and over 90% are Undecided about a United Ireland. Over 90% of this group also indicated that they would not vote in a Westminster election. So major questions are:

How many None-Non Political voters would vote in a Border Poll since over 90% indicate they would not vote in a Westminster election?

Since over 90% wish to Remain in the EU how will that influence their vote on a United Ireland?

The more recent Delta Poll showed that voter preference for a United Ireland would range from 53% to 56% depending on the Brexit scenario with 40% preferring to Remain in the UK. It appears that in the interval between the Edinburgh-Cardiff poll and the more recent Delta Poll that the Undecided and those who prefer an independent Northern Ireland have move to a United Ireland preference.

Another interesting finding is that voters were asked the following question:

Question 47: Some have suggested that leaving the EU may present challenges to the UK. One of these includes the unravelling of the peace process in Northern Ireland. If this happens would you say that:

Leaving the EU was not worth jeopardizing the peace process

Nationalist                       97%

Unionist                            30%

Neutral                             98%

None- Non Political        99%

Yes it was worth it to take back control

Nationalist                         3%

Unionist                            70%

Neutral                                2%

None- Non Political           1%

So unionist voters believe that leaving the EU is more important than peace in Northern Ireland.

This may seem surprising but it is actually not.

First of all, not all Protestants vote unionist and taking this into account perhaps 60% of Protestants believe that leaving the EU is more important than peace in Northern Ireland. When the Good Friday Agreement passed in the Referendum held in 1998 there was little polling done. The media and governments involved tried to convince the world that a slight majority of Protestants voted in favour of the Good Friday Agreement.

It is more likely that a there was a slight majority that voted against the Agreement and these voters are now still opposed to power sharing and believe that any action that jeopardizes peace in Northern Ireland, including leaving the EU, is acceptable.

The final nature of Brexit should be known by late November. It is likely that LucidTalk will conduct another poll on preferences for a United Ireland after that time.

Clarifacation of the poll quoted above as requested by Lucid Talk ” LT did the NI fieldwork (ie gathered the data) but Edinburgh/Cardiff did all the weighting, data analysis, and produced the poll results”

Boundary Commission- the results


Last year I attended the 1st consultation on the Boundary Commissions proposals for the new boundaries. While not perfect, they were reasonable and considered. Following that process they came back with a revision that almost entirely mirrored the DUP version of Leo and Theresawhat was essentially a unionist wish list. A Gerrymander of epic proportions in my opinion.Boundary Commission for Northern Ireland Final Recommendations Report

The final version, published today, is essentially that DUP wish list with minor alterations.

North Down as the sacrificial lamb and the capitulation on Belfast are the glaring examples.

I have no doubts whatsoever that political intervention has taken place here and, contrary to the BC guidelines, influence has been excercised which has no place in their remit.

Based upon these changes, Sylvia Hermon would definitely lose since the 3 Holywood area wards removed which are strong for her and the wards added from the Ards Peninsula are heavily DUP.

The nationalist electorate goes up by 1% in North Belfast but these are mainly extra voters from Newtownabbey that would also add to the Alliance vote.

 

Faha has collated the figures below and this is a work in progress so please bear with us.

Religion or religion brought up in:
Catholic (%)
Religion or religion brought up in:
Protestant and Other Christian (including Christian related) (%)
Religion or religion brought up in:
Other religions (%)
Religion or religion brought up
None (%)
Belfast East 12.70% 75.40% 1.44% 10.47%
New 14.09% 73.83% 1.43% 10.65%
Belfast North 46.94% 45.67% 1.04% 6.36%
New 47.90% 44.21% 1.14% 6.75%
Belfast South 44.01% 43.65% 2.80% 9.54%
New 42.00% 45.82% 2.71% 9.48%
Belfast West 80.09% 16.64% 0.58% 2.69%
New 69.70% 26.18% 0.67% 3.45%
East Antrim 20.39% 70.11% 0.97% 8.53%
New 16.63% 74.06% 0.86% 8.44%
East Londonderry 41.70% 53.27% 0.68% 4.35%
New- Causeway 33.52% 60.83% 0.74% 4.91%
Fermanagh and South Tyrone 57.69% 39.10% 0.61% 2.60%
New 58.57% 38.27% 0.59% 2.57%
Foyle 75.12% 22.02% 0.79% 2.07%
New 74.31% 22.79% 0.79% 2.11%
Mid Ulster 66.72% 30.78% 0.44% 2.06%
New 65.67% 31.76% 0.45% 2.12%
Newry and Armagh 66.36% 30.59% 0.55% 2.50%
New 69.43% 27.69% 0.54% 2.35%
North Antrim 28.39% 66.03% 0.74% 4.84%
New- Mid Antrim 30.28% 64.15% 0.72% 4.85%
North Down 12.59% 74.44% 1.15% 11.83%
New 14.61% 73.47% 1.07% 10.86%
South Antrim 31.86% 59.80% 0.87% 7.46%
New 28.47% 62.06% 1.00% 8.47%
South Down 69.26% 26.85% 0.52% 3.36%
New 68.66% 27.53% 0.52% 3.29%
Strangford 17.28% 73.13% 0.94% 8.65%
New- Mid Down 17.69% 73.86% 0.89% 7.57%
Upper Bann 44.00% 49.99% 0.88% 5.14%
New 43.72% 50.30% 0.92% 5.06%
West Tyrone 67.98% 30.16% 0.40% 1.47%
New-  Sperrin 70.23% 27.99% 0.37% 1.41%