BelTel Poll: UUP disappearing in the east of Northern Ireland?

So, here’s today’s poll in the BelTel:

DUP 30%

SF 26.4

SDLP 13.5

Alliance 11.6

UUP 11.4

Alliance, without doing very much for it, are pounding the UUP east of Bann. As one leading commentator told Slugger this morning, this would cost the UUP key seats in Belfast and North Down. In fact, what’s happening underneath the figures are that the UUP are quickly becoming a border area party, with the DUP now holding majority shares in the broader pro Union alliance.

On the nationalist side, the SDLP moves back to its previous support. Sinn Fein drops back a little. But both are within the margin of error, so no real change there. The SDLP’s resilience is worth noting.

There may be several factors in play. The SDLP have no serious rivals for their Catholic middle class base. Sinn Fein’s brand and pitch, not least on reconciling wider society to the legitimacy of the IRA’s war, hold little appeal for SDLP voters. And, outside some significant transfer ‘diversions’ in south Belfast, the Alliance have as yet little serious appeal to Catholic voters.

Note: I don’t have the poll figures for the Greens…

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  • Big Boss

    Seems like a decent poll for the SDLP, shows that they are able to keep the support they have despite what the shinners and the media would have us believe.

    But what do qwe make of these figurers for the next election in 2014? does it tell us that Nationalists could take 2 seats at the EUs? Surely a message UUP will need to really consider, and one the SDLP should be pushing. Losing their EU seat will break the UUP, winning one back will make the SDLP.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Seems to confirm recent trends.

    Personally I’m cautiously optimistic that the UUP has bottomed out and has a leader with the right instincts for rebuilding as the modern, progressive unionist alternative. I’m not bothered what the vehicle is personally as long as moderate unionists regain a stronger voice in politics somehow and preferably in a party with some potential to appeal to non-dyed-in-the-wool-nationalist Catholics too.

    If UUP split and part joined DUP and part joined a beefed-up Alliance, that would be fine too. Alliance may be a better brand / container for progressive UK-oriented politics in NI in terms of attracting ‘non-aligned’ voters in the future.

  • PaddyReilly

    Adds up to 92.9%.

  • Mick Fealty

    See the note at the end Paddy? I’m not saying that Greens are at up to 7.1%, but I did make crystal clear the figures were no comprehensive.

  • PaddyReilly

    If the Alliance manages to gain more first preference votes than the UUP in the Euro election (as it does in this poll), then the UUP will be eliminated and its second preferences pass predominantly to Alliance, who will then take the third seat, not the SDLP.

  • Mick Fealty

    That’s certainly possible (though given that party’s tight geographical base, probably unlikely) Paddy.

    Here’s the 2009 results:

    Bairbre De Brún, Sinn Fein – 126,184 (26%)
    Diane Dodds, DUP – 88,346 (18.2%)
    Jim Nicholson, Ulster Conservative and Unionist – 82,893 (17.1%)
    Alban Maginness, SDLP – 78,489 (16.2%)
    Jim Allister, Traditional Unionist Voice – 66,197 (13.7%)
    Ian Parsley, Alliance – 26,699 (5.5%)

    Dodds this time will be the only incumbent running (which ought to give her a serious bonus). Allister will not be an incumbent, if he does choose to run. Nor is Martina Anderson, the SF candidate.

    Wee Jim has been there since year dot. If the UUs dump him, I’d expect the DUP might run a second candidate.

    In theory, there is a game on here for the SDLP. But they’ve still not made their candidate choice, and with EP elections, the six week campaign is a media afterthought.

    The noises they’ve been making about running a pro EU candidate is good one. But, unless they can pull in a real impact player, the longer the leave it to choose the man/woman and stall on getting the real campaign started, the less likely they are to succeed.

  • Drumlins Rock

    The nominations for Ulster Unionist MEP candidate in 2014 have opened, and closed, with only one nomination, the encumbent Jim Nicholson, the decision has just to be finalisied by the Party Executive.

  • mjh

    The missing 7.1% from the reported poll figures will include TUV, as well as Green. Those voters should ensure that the “unionist bloc” win two seats in the Euros. Neither Alliance nor the SDLP would have enough votes on these figures to be realistically in with a shout.

    In terms of an Assembly Election these figures would most likely produce no change in the number of seats won by the DUP and SF, a loss of 3 or 4 seats for the UUP, a gain of between 5 and 7 for Alliance, and a loss of 1 or 2 by the SDLP. One Independent would be in danger. (We don’t yet know about the Green.)

  • Framer

    Given that the UUP’s strength is in south and west Ulster, Jim Nicholson should be able to hold his vote, and if the Euro election is about someone who will look after Northern Ireland’s interests in Europe and has some influence where it matters, then Nicholson would be many’s first choice.
    Alliance and the UUP will be fighting it out in Belfast, north Down and south Antrim for many of the same votes but the fact that Alliance is being gradually revealed as not very liberal at all, if anything more traditionalist than the UUP, though not yet the DUP, then Mike Nesbitt should have the edge in votes for genuine modernism.

  • Charlie Sheens PR guru

    How solid is that DUP vote in the face of a Jim Allister led TUV-UKIP pact? Or alternatively with a slate of possible TUV/UKIP/BNP/conservative underlings to contend with.

    Before I could, but now I can’t see where two unionist seats are coming from. A lot will depend on the bounce of the ball with transfers.

    If we take these numbers for a moment and start considering transfer patterns from the DUP and SF, it leaves the third seat up in the air. Particularly if there are lots of PBP and Green votes knocking about which will probably fall for alliance about 2:1 over SDLP. Could another republican come out of nowhere?

    If the alliance gets eliminated before UUP, I’d say SDLP are favourites.. If the UUP are eliminated first, probably alliance will have enough to overtake SDLP. Hard to say.

  • PaddyReilly

    If we add DUP 30% and UUP 11.4% we have 41.4%: add the missing 7.1% to that and we have 48.5%. Two quotas is 50% + 2. But the missing voters will not all be TUV, there are Greens as well, nor will that many of the Greens transfer to Unionist parties before they do to Alliance. So realistically, the Unionist vote after the redistribution of the TUV votes will be about 45-46%. This does not guarantee a UUP seat. It all depends whether Alliance gets enough Green transfers to stay ahead.

    Given the generous margin of error, we can only say that Alliance, UUP and SDLP are all in the running for the 3rd place.

  • FuturePhysicist

    The SDLP have no serious rivals for their Catholic middle class base.

    Well except Sinn Féin, the leading Party of Queen’s University students and many new Catholic professionals and the always middle class Alliance Party … and indeed the fact that middle class Catholics may have downward mobility as a result of the recession. Tories are perhaps below the DUP and indeed UKIP on the Catholic middle class radar these days.

    SDLP are getting voters back the hard way here. When Martina Anderson recovers the Sinn Féin vote back to Mitchell McLauglin’s level despite a declining turnout, people speak of the rise of Sinn Féin in Foyle.

    Double Standards.

    Indeed the UUP is on the Up, Alliance are on the Up, but while the UUP might win back as much as 3-4 seats from across the North, who is next in line for the APNI to win a seat from … Stephen Agnew, seemingly Agnew’s leftwing credentials do him better here than the more centralist APNI.

    Again Double Standards.

  • FuturePhysicist

    How solid is that DUP vote in the face of a Jim Allister led TUV-UKIP pact? Or alternatively with a slate of possible TUV/UKIP/BNP/conservative underlings to contend with.

    Before I could, but now I can’t see where two unionist seats are coming from. A lot will depend on the bounce of the ball with transfers.

    If we take these numbers for a moment and start considering transfer patterns from the DUP and SF, it leaves the third seat up in the air. Particularly if there are lots of PBP and Green votes knocking about which will probably fall for alliance about 2:1 over SDLP. Could another republican come out of nowhere?

    If the alliance gets eliminated before UUP, I’d say SDLP are favourites.. If the UUP are eliminated first, probably alliance will have enough to overtake SDLP. Hard to say.

    Not sure if Green/PbP votes would fall 2:1 for Alliance, indeed given the polling Alliance usually gets in a European election, I wouldn’t rule out McCann should he stand beating an Alliance challenger on the European election arena. I think he has before.

  • Mick Fealty

    Any Alliance worker will tell you they always get a discounted vote in Euro elections. They also get penalised if they miss them out. Which is the real reason they will stand someone this time.

    I think you are clutching at anti unionist straws again Paddy. If the SDLP want a realistic shot at the seat they will have to do it in their own terms by taking a bite out of the SF and soft unionist/alliance votes.

    And I just don’t see the momentum for that. Do you?

  • mjh

    CharlieSheensPRGuru
    “I can’t see where two unionist seats are coming from”

    That’s probably because we do not yet see the TUV percentages. When we do we will probably be looking at:

    Unionist bloc 45%
    Rep/Nat bloc 40%
    Non aligned bloc 15%

    (The PUL block and the Others block might vary by 1% when we see the final figures, but the CNR block will not.)

    To get elected the quota is 25%. The Unionist bloc is good at internal transfers. So after electing one DUP candidate they will have 20% left. Even if the DUP ran two candidates who both came above the UUP, it is unlikely that the UUP transfers would leak more than 1% to Alliance. Still leaving the bloc with 19%.

    On the other side once the SF candidate’s transfers could only get the SDLP up to 15%, (although Rep/Nat voters often do not transfer to each other as well as unionists do).

    The third seat would be decided on the transfers of the Non aligned votes. For the SDLP to win they would have to take at least 2 out of every 3 transfers. There is no evidence to suggest that this is possible.

  • FuturePhysicist

    Alliance, without doing very much for it, are pounding the UUP east of Bann. As one leading commentator told Slugger this morning, this would cost the UUP key seats in Belfast and North Down. In fact, what’s happening underneath the figures are that the UUP are quickly becoming a border area party, with the DUP now holding majority shares in the broader pro Union alliance.

    If you look at it both parties are on the rise, but unless you have elemental evidence of variation rather than Top Gear math or Speculator math, there isn’t enough swing to cause the UUP to lose seats in Belfast or North Down, indeed they should secure both with the DUP losing support.

    The UUP are on the rise, a political commentator with a vendetta against the party spins it into a defeat.

    Don’t put much effort into a failed spin-doctoring exercise Mr Fealty. Alliance doesn’t have two quotas in South Belfast, three quotas in East Belfast or a single quota in the North or West on the basis of these figures, the 2nd North Down seat they are after is Agnew’s, the UUP should still be holding a quota or so there after unionist transfers come to them.

  • FuturePhysicist

    The third seat would be decided on the transfers of the Non aligned votes. For the SDLP to win they would have to take at least 2 out of every 3 transfers. There is no evidence to suggest that this is possible.

    There’s left wing Unionist voters too I guess. I have wondered if they’d try to outreach Purvis and Herman for backing of Northern Ireland’s lone PES representative.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Umm excuse me guys, before you start eliminating too quick remember the DUP has 5% spare here, which together with the UKIP/TUV tranfers should move the UUP well in front of Alliance and SDLP. the Alliance & Green votes ” split fairly evenly, 37% to the remaining Nationalist candidate, 42% to the three Unionists (and 17% to nobody).” according to Nic Whyte.

    The only logical risk (providing the world dosn’t end on 21st Dec etc.) is a second DUP candidate, and even then they would have to micro manage the vote, difficult across a large area.

    The real story in June 2014 will be the shadow councils, if they happen…

  • FuturePhysicist

    There is a logical risk for the SDLP here too … reaching out to left wing unionism to provide a pan-national left-wing agenda for Europe, one that keeps the intertwined interests of these isles and the similar problems that came from not just the Eurozone collapse but the Banking culture conformity of interests that have seen to have found no spot from here to the Urals, the Arctic Circle and the South Mediterranean untouched.

    Personally I think the SDLP has had sensible policies on European affairs, and if there’s the odd British flag in their European manifesto well laissez-faire to that!

  • FuturePhysicist

    There is a massive 10% swing from a small exhaustible group of undecideds I’ll admit, and not yet enough for the SDLP to coup d’etait Sinn Féin’s seat on the back of transfers, Apathy and a strong anti-right wing vote might be enough to push someone like McDevitt through. Anderson has not been a tried and tested candidate at this level and may not get the 25% quota this time the way De Brun did last time, if that’s so it will have a negative impact on the SDLP, who may need every SF transfer they could get.

  • iluvni

    Has Anderson made any of her wordy patronising but utterly vacuous contributions since being parachuted into the seat left vacant by Meg Griffin?

  • mjh

    Future Physicist
    “Alliance doesn’t have two quotas in South Belfast, three quotas in East Belfast or a single quota in the North or West on the basis of these figures, the 2nd North Down seat they are after is Agnew’s”

    To be precise, on the basis of these figures, Alliance would have 2.1 quotas in South Belfast. So they would take a second seat. But since the UUP would still have 0.8 of a quota they would retain the seat. The Alliance gain would be at the expense of the SDLP.

    In East Belfast Alliance would have 2.8 quotas, with the UUP dropping to 0.6. Here the UUP would lose a seat to Alliance.

    In Belfast North Alliance would get just under 0.7 of a quota, but this would be unlikely to give it a seat. In West Belfast it would get 0.1.

    So in Belfast the UUP would retain only 1 seat.

    In North Down these figures would give Alliance 2.0 quotas – and an extra seat. The UUP on 0.6 would be fighting it out with Agnew for the sixth seat.

  • http://sammymorse.livejournal.com Gerry Lynch

    Greens (3.7%) plus TUV (3.4%) make up the balance. Don’t get excited about changes at the decimal point level. The Margin of Error is considerably larger than any of the changes we noted from our May poll. This is pretty much as we were. We had already picked up the UUP’s real difficulties in Greater Belfast.

    Greens have virtually no voters over 45 but are starting to do very well indeed with younger voters.

    Remember, we are probably going to drop to 5 seats per constituency next time as well. That will be particularly brutal for the UUP. For example, I’m starting to really struggle to see how they hold on to one seat out of five in South Belfast – Lo (or her successor), McDonnell, McDevitt, Maskey and anybody the DUP cares to nominate all look safe.

  • http://sammymorse.livejournal.com Gerry Lynch

    The only logical risk (providing the world dosn’t end on 21st Dec etc.) is a second DUP candidate, and even then they would have to micro manage the vote, difficult across a large area.

    Not really, because it isn’t exactly micro-management over such a large area. E.g. one candidate getting the 9 Belfast and suburban ring constituencies, the other getting the remaining 9 is probably a good start for a finger in the wind estimate of how the DUP might split the vote. Or one gets Belfast, Down and Armagh and the other gets Antrim and West of the Bann. If I had time and interest, I could work it out precisely in about half an hour and so can lots of people in the DUP.

  • http://sammymorse.livejournal.com Gerry Lynch

    If the SDLP want a realistic shot at the seat they will have to do it in their own terms by taking a bite out of the SF and soft unionist/alliance votes.

    SF have just over a quota and the nature of how plumpers are handled in a surplus means the SDLP will get nearly all of the surplus. SDLP need to attract Alliance and soft unionist voters to pull that one off, not so much pulling votes off SF.

    If Alliance had a marquee candidate and ran the campaign like they believed they were going to win a seat their vote wouldn’t melt down the way it usually does and I wouldn’t rule them out given their innate transfer friendliness. And it didn’t especially in 2009 although it was pretty obvious to everyone they didn’t have a cat’s chance in hell of winning, because they actually did quite a bit of campaigning.

    Bottom line is both Nicholson and his party are weak. Can he survive? The DUP have a real chance of putting him to the sword, the SDLP and Alliance have much smaller but greater-than-zero chances of doing so, and he’ll only survive if none of these three parties runs a candidate strong enough to take him out.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “Wee Jim has been there since year dot”

    Mick, I would have said Quite Big Jim. Perhaps you’re thinking of Jim Molyneaux.

  • ayeYerMa

    “Sinn Fein’s brand and pitch, not least on reconciling wider society to the legitimacy of the IRA’s war, hold little appeal for SDLP voters.”

    Oh really, so that’s why the SDLP are still supportive of the renaming of a children’s play area after an IRA gunman linked to the Kingsmills Massacre?

  • http://bangordub.wordpress.com/ Bangordub

    Mick,
    The SDLP are clearly recovering, the UUP are not. Why are they constantly lumped together?

  • http://bangordub.wordpress.com/ Bangordub

    Aye YerMa,
    Grow up.

  • http://sammymorse.livejournal.com Gerry Lynch

    The SDLP are clearly recovering, the UUP are not.

    I don’t see any evidence the SDLP is recovering. But it does seem to have bottomed out, and always seems to have a steady stream of young and quite able people making their way up through the ranks. Although it’s far from unthinkable that the SDLP could recover, but it’s equally far from certain.

    You are right to point out that the UUP’s problems are both more serious and less tractable.

    Another point is that at least some in the SDLP seem to be capable of asking themselves hard questions about what it’s for in a post-Agreement world where SF and the DUP are the dominant parties.

    The UUP seems to think if it waits long enough the electorate will just pretend the last 15 years never happened and come back.

    Both parties need to reinvent themselves.

  • http://sammymorse.livejournal.com Gerry Lynch

    Indeed the UUP is on the Up, Alliance are on the Up, but while the UUP might win back as much as 3-4 seats from across the North,

    Which North is this we’re talking about? North Dakota? Because in the North of Ireland, there’s just noooooo evidence this is going to happen.

  • mjh

    Gerry Lynch

    Are you taking into account other factors apart from this poll into your projection for a 5 seater South Belfast? Purely on the basis of this poll the quotas would be:
    DUP 1,4
    UUP 0.7
    Alliance 1.7
    SDLP` 1.3
    SF 0.7
    Green + others 0.3

    That would seem to suggest that DUP, Alliance and SDLP each would have one safe seat. With the last two a fight between UUP, a second Alliance and SF. With SF possibly looking the most vulnerable. Either way it looks hard for the SDLP to retain two seats here.

  • aquifer

    WIth Niomi in East Belfast etc Alliance may have the big ‘Mo’, momentum to mobilise the voters who voted for the GFA and then went back to gardening.

    The new media may help them reach further into the electorate than the local sectarian print titles and TV news let them.

    If SFDUP voters get sick of seeing people they hate back in government every time, and stay home, who knows?

  • http://bangordub.wordpress.com/ Bangordub

    Gerry,
    There appears to at least be a debate within the SDLP about adressing and reversing their electoral decline. There is none within the UUP other than disciplining party members who attempt to stimulate any type of debate. Tonights developments may be fun re Mark CcKinty

  • ayeYerMa

    Grow up Bangordub?A bit too inconvenient for you is it? I think I have simply exposed the pro-SDLP bias by Lord Fealty in his inaccurate and dishonest description of the darling SDLP party.

    It seems there appears to be attempts to censor this issue, with the next to zero coverage of it on our media and the use of the word “equality” to push through something which is offensive in the long-term, a cold and considered decision of SDLP/Sinn Fein/IRA, using public funds to use a public space to glorify terrorism and indoctrinate children. Meanwhile “equality” is used to censor the sovereign flag in Belfast.

    Contrast this to the endless apparently headline-worthy media coverage we had over the summer (and at least 4 threads here on Slugger, if not more, and hundreds of comments) concerning 3 minutes of instrumental music by non-public individuals who acted in a spontaneous and inconsiderate manner. I have even read at least 4 or 5 references to this this week alone.

  • http://bangordub.wordpress.com/ Bangordub

    ayeYerMa
    QED
    If you think Mick is pro SDLP, I give up. (With no offence intended to Mick)

  • Comrade Stalin

    FuturePhysicist :

    Indeed the UUP is on the Up, Alliance are on the Up, but while the UUP might win back as much as 3-4 seats from across the North,

    You sound pretty confident, so I guess you are in a position to say which seats will the UUP be targetting and what candidates are they going to run ?

    who is next in line for the APNI to win a seat from … Stephen Agnew, seemingly Agnew’s leftwing credentials do him better here than the more centralist APNI.

    Stephen’s a good MLA, he’s making his mark all by himself and I think he’ll have no trouble defending his seat. But it was a seat that was nicked narrowly at the last minute from Alliance.

  • Mick Fealty

    BD,

    If you think there is the least evidence of change see Gerry’s comments about margins of error. The damage to UUs in the east was already in in May.

    The ‘rally’ in SDLP figures may match the slight drop in SFs, but until you see it stretch beyond three percent discount it. And unless you see it repeated stay wary.

    No one is making waves in NI pols, which is just how both incumbents like it. Nor is there much scope for disruption. There’s two years to go till the next serious test.

    The puzzle for all small parties is how stop a third, ‘as you were’ result in a row.

  • Mick Fealty

    I’ll do a thread tomorrow on it AYM. But you will get pinged if you start your usual needling game!

  • http://nwhyte.livejournal.com Nicholas Whyte

    Rearranging the figures:

    Unionists 44.8%
    DUP 30%
    UUP 11.4%
    TUV 3.4%

    Centre 15.3%
    Alliance 11.6
    Green 3.7

    Nationalists 39.9%
    SF 26.4
    SDLP 13.5

    If those figures were reproduced in a European election, it’s pretty obviously status quo, with the UUP overtaking Alliance and SDLP to take the last seat. I will agree that Alliance might nip through on a very good day under the circumstances Gerry describes.

    I can’t see how the SDLP could do so. The total Nationalist vote is too low, and Alliance / Green transfers will not make up the difference.

    I also agree that a second DUP candidate would have a very good chance of taking the UUP seat, but I understand from sources inside the party that this is considered unlikely.

    However, it also seems to me that a clearly identified UKIP candidate could make significant inroads into the Unionist vote in a European election, which is their best possible battleground.

  • Barry the Blender

    I suppose in the East the UUP are too socially liberal, having Basil, Kinaghan and Copeland voted for gay marriage. The alliance MLAs were more in tune with the social conservatism people wanted and either voted against or abstained.

  • boondock

    Mick not sure you have read all the stats from the beltel poll

    ‘And, outside some significant transfer ‘diversions’ in south Belfast, the Alliance have as yet little serious appeal to Catholic voters’

    Liam Clarke has gone into a bit more detail over the results

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/politics/alliance-noses-ahead-of-a-flagging-uup-while-the-big-two-consolidate-16244790.html

    On breaking down the Alliance vote share reveals an interesting stat – ‘Once regarded as a middle-class Protestant party, its support is now split in a 4/3 ratio between Catholics and Protestants, with Catholics in the majority’.

    Therefore if we take the SF and SDLP vote together with 4/7 alliance vote we end up with 46.5% of the vote which Im pretty sure will be round about the catholic community background figure we will see in the census in 10 days. So much for the DUP catholic outreach program infact one other interesting figure had the DUP getting 1% of the Catholic vote but SF actually getting 2% of the Protestant vote!

  • PaddyReilly

    Therefore if we take the SF and SDLP vote together with 4/7 alliance vote we end up with 46.5% of the vote which Im pretty sure will be round about the catholic community background figure we will see in the census in 10 days.

    If you take the SF + SDLP vote plus 4/7ths of the Alliance and Green vote you get 48.64%, which will be a lot closer to the Catholic Community percentage of the population.

  • boondock

    Good point Paddy although we have no official breakdown of the green vote I dont see any reason why it wouldnt be around 50/50. A natural growth of the catholic population since 2001 will give a catholic community background population of 46-47% however this is going to be affected by the large influx of migrants (largely from catholic countries) and the emigration of young people from here who cant find work. I think this could still result in a net gain for the catholic community background an extra percent or 2 pushing things up to 48% and although this doesnt transfer into a percent who want a united ireland you can still see why PR has been so keen to talk so much about catholic unionists – has he already seen the stats?

  • Drumlins Rock

    sorrty for repeating my self in the same post ….

    “…the Alliance & Green votes ” split fairly evenly, 37% to the remaining Nationalist candidate, 42% to the three Unionists (and 17% to nobody).” according to Nic Whyte.”

    I cant see it changing alot in the last few years, the quality of the SDLP candidate of course might make some difference.

  • PaddyReilly

    We all know the story of the man who informed a census worker/policeman that he was an Atheist, and was then asked whether he was Catholic or Protestant Atheist. Asking only for people’s 1st preference voting intentions when elections are multiple choice is not a lot of help. A question everyone is going to ask is inevitably, are you a Protestant or a Catholic Alliance voter? Drumlins Rock quoting N. Whyte found less than 3/7 Alliance + Green voters giving their transfers to the SDLP in 2009, Boondock quoting Liam Clarke found 4/7 more recently. I think the latter figure is at least plausible because the BelTel survey shows the SDLP vote dropping, meaning some 1st pref SDLP voters have now become 1st pref Alliance 2nd pref SDLP.

  • http://www.wordpress.ianjamesparsley.com IJP

    The poll specifically refers to an Assembly election.

    A cursory glance at electoral history tells us European elections are somewhat different.

    If Alliance beats 8% at a European election, it’ll be a stunning result, suggesting the above poll will in fact be proved about right at Assembly level – at which Alliamce would gain further through its transfer-friendliness.

  • PaulT

    Mmmmmh at the SDLP conference, a survey on who attendees would like the SDLP to have closer ties to put the Alliance at slightly less toxic than SF (the UUP was favs) if they are going to rely on Alliance transfers they prob shouldn’t publish things like that

  • PaddyReilly

    THE 2014 EUROPEAN PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION

    The European Parliamentary elections have since their inception started with a Nationalist candidate (originally the SDLP) winning a quota and a second Nationalist candidate competing for the last seat, but being pipped by the second Unionist candidate. Originally this defeat was overwhelming, but every 5 years the number of votes by which the second Nationalist candidate was short of a quota has been coming down.

    THE SECOND NATIONALIST CANDIDATE: votes short of a quota

    1994 84,752 (with undistributed SDLP surplus of 22,025)
    1999 50,319 (with undistributed SDLP surplus of 21,028)
    2004 28,789 (with undistributed SF surplus of 7,221)
    2009 18,676 (with undistributed SF surplus of 5,040)

    (In 1994 SF put up 3 candidates, so I added their totals together.) I should explain for non-geeks that EU elections are rarely pursued to the last possible count, so quite often there is a surplus, the number of votes which a candidate has received which exceed his required quota, which can if necessary be redistributed.

    Now there is a definite pattern here, you could draw a line on a chart: I would say that this is because the Nationalist vote goes up by a consistent 2,000 per annum. This is obviously still happening, so I can make a prediction for 2014: the SDLP vote, after accepting all 2nd and 3rd preferences, will still be *8,500 short of a quota: if the SF surplus is redistributed, it will be around *2,500 short of a quota. (A * indicates a conjectural figure).

    Shucks. However, that is not the whole of the story, since for the Nationalist percentage of the vote to rise, it follows that the Unionist percentage has to fall. The Unionist side of the story is that a Unionist candidate (originally the UUP) wins a quota and then a second Unionist party (originally the DUP), with the help of a redistributed surplus from the first Unionist and 2nd and 3rd preferences from any of TUV, Alliance and Green, etc, who are standing, goes on to win a second quota, and more besides. However in this case the surplus to the second quota has been steadily coming down:-

    THE SECOND UNIONIST CANDIDATE: votes in excess of a quota

    1994 no final redistribution
    1999 15,036
    2004 9,738
    2009 (11,113 UCUNF surplus) + DUP deficit of -5,422 = 5,691.

    Now there is a definite pattern here, you could draw a line on a chart: I would say that this is because the Unionist vote goes down by circa 1,000 per annum. This is obviously still happening, so I can make a prediction for 2014: that there will be *no surplus. So all in all, a reasonable prediction for the results of 2014, after redistribution of all the votes, would be as follows:-

    SF 1 quota
    DUP 1 quota
    UUP 1 quota
    SDLP 0.98% of a quota.
    0.2% undistributed TUV, Alliance, Green votes.

    The problem however is that a difference of 2,500 is really too close to call: there are other factors, turnout, over-efficient party workers, panic, fraud, which could reverse these figures. But as things stand, we should expect that Alliance will not manage to take the 3rd seat, and that on the final count the SDLP will be surpassed, but only slightly, by the UUP.

    But of course if these things do come to pass and the SDLP is just 2,500 votes short of a quota in 2014, or thereabouts, then we will know that the (N +2000, U -1000) rule is correct, and thus be able to predict when the grand dépassement (50% + 1) will take place: 2016, of course.

  • PaddyReilly

    There’s always one mistake: should have written “0.02% undistributed TUV, Alliance, Green votes.”

  • http://WindowsIDHotmail danielsmoran

    Charlie Sheen’s PR The comment in the Tele about the poll noted the age factor is worrying for the DUP as something approaching 2/3 of the electorate are over 60 so thats an added depressing future prospect on top of the overall receding of the unionist vote looking further into the first half of the century.