“Lots of people go mad in January. Not as many as in May, of course.” – Karen Joy Fowler
Guest Blog by Faha. Part one of a four part series
“Only three weeks to go folks until the ultimate sectarian headcount. The last of the FPP races outside the horseracing world.
Faha has been crunching the numbers with his usual aplomb and his post is below as promised. I’m popping in a few figures of my own below to stir the debate and I look forward to the usual excellent quality of your thoughts and comments” Bangordub
This first review of the Westminster election will cover the unionist seats where the outcome is not expected to change compared to 2010. I have included data on the demographics of the electorate within each constituency based on the 2011 census, adding in new voters who are now 18 years of age and subtracting voters who have died based on Northern Ireland mortality statistics since 2011.
There is no doubt that Sylvia Hermon will win this seat overwhelmingly. She received 63% of the vote in 2010. The hard line unionist vote will be divided among the DUP, TUV and UKIP so there is no possibility that she could lose. It is significant that the DUP vote collapsed from 12412 in the 2011 Assembly election to only 7730 in the 2014 council elections. The UUP have declined to stand a candidate. Is this an indication that the UUP is hoping she will return to the UUP?
Jim Shannon should easily win here. Of concern for the DUP is the over 4000 drop in the DUP council vote since the previous Westminster and Assembly elections. Watch the TUV and UKIP vote here to see if one of the 3 DUP Assembly seats are at risk in 2016.The Alliance 2014 council vote was down significantly from the 2011 Assembly election and the vote in this election could have implications for their Assembly seat. Can the combined SDLP and SF vote come near an Assembly quota?
Jeffrey Donaldson should easily win this seat. Of concern for the DUP is the over 4000 vote decline in 2014 since the 2011 Assembly election. The Alliance vote has also dropped by almost 1500 since 2011. The TUV could be in contention for an Assembly seat here depending on their vote as the DUP vote in 2014 was exactly 3 quotas, indicating that one of their Assembly seats is in jeopardy.
Ian Paisley should easily win here. It is interesting that Jim Allister did not stand here and Timothy Gaston is the TUV candidate. The reason for this may be to raise his profile as a 2nd TUV Assembly candidate in 2016. You will note that the DUP vote collapsed by 6000 compared to the 2010 and 2011 elections, indicating there is significant dissatisfaction with the DUP among traditional DUP voters. The TUV have noticed this and may be hoping for a 2nd Assembly seat in 2016.
Gregory Campbell should easily win this seat. What is surprising here is that UKIP and especially the TUV decided not to contest this seat. The DUP vote has declined by over 4,000 compared to the 2011 Assembly election and their 2014 council vote was less than 2 Assembly quotas. The TUV received 9% and the PUP + UKIP were an additional 4% indicating that the TUV could take one of the DUP Assembly seats in 2016. However, by declining to stand in 2015 it will be difficult for the TUV to evaluate their prospects for 2016.