Part 3 of Faha’s series continues. I’d also recommend a read of this article here from The Detail which tells us what we all know numbers-wise but has some interesting analysis and terrific graphics as well as some home truths for the Unionist parties, specially on the day they trooped through the lobbies opposing gay marriage. (incidentally where were the SDLP?) – BD

Nationalist Constituencies- The Safe Seats  

This review covers the 4 nationalist seats where the outcome is not expected to change compared to the 2010 election.

West Tyrone:

West May WT

Pat Doherty should easily win this seat for SF. The only point of interest here will be the proportion of the vote that the SDLP, UUP and DUP receive and whether there is any change in the relative strength of the vote among these parties.

Mid Ulster:

West May MU

Francie Molloy should easily win this seat for SF. The only thing to watch here is to see if the SDLP can increase their vote and the relative strength of the unionist parties.

West Belfast:

West May WB

Paul Maskey will easily win this seat for SF. However, the vote in this constituency is very important because of the Assembly implications. The total unionist vote was 16% in the 2014 council elections and based on that percentage the DUP would win an Assembly seat at the expense of SF. The SF vote declined by 6000 compared to the 2011 Assembly election while the unionist vote increased by 800. The total nationalist vote was down by almost 6000 indicating that there must be significant dissatisfaction among traditional SF voters who stayed home in large numbers. Since the total SF percentage was only 55.9% SF would lose one of their 5 Assembly seats (57.2% equals 4 quotas). Since the DUP would win one the final seat would be won by either the SDLP or PBPA. So the Westminster vote has significant implications for the 2016 Assembly election.

South Down:

West May SD

Margaret Ritchie will easily win this seat for the SDLP. The vote totals will have implications for the Assembly election. The DUP polled only slightly above UKIP in the 2014 council elections. Since then there have been moves to close wards at Downe Hospital, threatening a future possible hospital closure. This is occurring under the DUP Health Minister Jim Wells. Follow the DUP vote here to see if the DUP Assembly seat could be lost to either UKIP or the SDLP.