ScalesOk. I got the title of my previous post wrong. It should of course have referenced 2011 rather than 2012 as these are the only complete figures available at this time. I left the title unchanged however to demonstrate that I’m only human!

The purpose of the annual balance sheet is to give a snapshot of developments during the year and extract some likely conclusions and projections regarding future elections. It is, after all, elections that actually count. Everything else is academic. There are a number of assumptions underlying these figures so I will set these out first:

  • Although Catholics and Protestants do not all vote for pro Union/Nationalist parties pro-rata, as a rule the percentages for each group tend to follow a close  correllation.
  • Older voters are much more likely to turn out on election days.
  • People are living longer now than compared to 20 years ago.
  • There are four elements to changes in population. 1: Start point. 2. Births. 3. Deaths. 4. Migration.
  • We now have the benefit of the 2011 Census to factor into the equation.
  • We also know that Protestants have a greater representation at the higher age groups as set out below. (Figures based upon 2001 census+ 10 years, we don’t have this breakdown for 2011…….yet) It should also be noted that at ages below 10 there are much higher rates of non declaration of Religion.

Age and Community Background

What we do have for the under 10’s age group however is the 2011 Schools data. If we look just at primary schools the breakdown is Catholic background 50.1% Protestant background 36.2% Other/ Undeclared Background 13.7%.

We also have the births and deaths data for 2011 below. I have broken this into 3 groups by Local Govt District. Catholic / Protestant majority areas and Mixed areas. NB: Belfast is included as a mixed area in the chart below although we now know it is in fact, majority Catholic.

Births and Deaths 2011

Taking as a start point Horsemans original template and the excellent work of Enda, here and here, I have taken the same methodology and expanded it. It will be interesting to see if forthcoming election results reflect the findings as accurately as they have done previously.

Here are my results:

(1) Nationalism
2011 Assembly election: 278,183 (42.2% of the total)
Plus – New voters: 9,213 x 50% = 4,606
Minus – Deaths (voting age only): 4,261 x 80% = 3,409
New total: 279,381

(2) Unionism
2011 Assembly election: 318,869 votes (48.3% of the total)
Plus – New voters: 8,983 x 50% = 4,491
Minus – Deaths (voting age only): 9,217 x 80% = 7,374
New total: 316,831

(3) Others or no religion
2011 Assembly election: 62,344 votes (9.5% of the total)
Plus – New voters: 7,077x 50% = 3538
Minus – Deaths (voting age only): 145 x 80% = 116
New total: 68,509

At the end of 2011, therefore, we might have expected a voting result along the lines of:
–  Nationalist 42.67%        Actual Vote was 42.2%
– Unionist 48.39%             Actual Vote was 48.3%
– Others 8.94%                 Actual Vote was 9.5%

Interesting stuff !

The stats are all pointing one way without doubt and explain in large measure the attempts by Unionist politicians to garner Catholic votes. Those attempts foundered upon the events of the summer marching season and the fleg protests in recent weeks. I see no reason to suspect that voting patterns will change in the near future. I do, however, see evidence of “Garden Centre” nationalists. These tend to manifest themselves in constituencies where the demographic pendulum has already swung decisively. I will be posting shortly on one such constituency, Mid Ulster which has a forthcoming by-election.

If anyone needs clarification on my sources or calculations, please let me know.