Oh the fun and games above on the hill!

It is, if nothing else, entertaining.

On a more serious level, it is confirming the politico-sceptic opinions of much of the electorate here. I think there is a concensus that nationalist voters are not turning out to reflect their demographic strength in recent elections so I’ve had a look at some relevant figures which, after all, is what this blog is about.

Firstly let us look as the turnout by age at the 2010 UK election:

Turnout by age 1

Now we all know two things, those most likely to vote unionist are in an older demographic cohort in the north east of Ireland and they are also in a majority within that older cohort. In fact they are in a majority at every age over 43 according to the most recent census.

We also know that potential nationalist voters are in a majority at every age below that threshold and, indeed, are on the cusp of a majority overall in real terms.

The actual voting figures are currently approx 4% apart between the main nationalist and unionist blocks. This tends to be concentrated geographically but that is a subject for another blog.

What I am looking at here is the fact that the older demographic tend to vote in greater numbers and therefore disproportionately skew results. That is a perfectly legitimate electoral fact and in no way do I dispute the results thereof.

Let’s take a look at another interesting graph from the Guardian:

Guardian Turnout

Although this graph is based on UK voting patterns we can see that the gap exceeds 5% on average. That is enough to generate a border poll debate.

It is interesting to note that in Scotland the inclusion of younger voters generated a much energised  electorate and an independence campaign that failed only, as is now generally acknowledged, by a campaign of fear and intimidation aimed primarily at older voters.

The challenge for nationalist parties now is to energise and invigorate their base electorate.

Are any of them up for it?

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