After the election… Yes but what does it all amount to (if anything)?

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After the series on party fortunes after the elections an overview is now needed badly The MSM isn’t doing it. Someone should. This is not it.  From afar :

I’ve no idea why the  50+% odd vote was 15% higher than in England. Any guesses? Where are you Nicholas Whyte? Is there a good analysis of differential turnout that I’ve missed?

In the North small earthquake in Chile.  Not  much  has changed politically.

Unionist parties ran a race to the right and increased their collective share.

Is  Unionism venturing  crab like towards old school UUUC unity or just pacts? Is this a long term strategy to meet the long term demographic challenge?  A short term one to regain East Belfast and South Belfast in 2015? Or a stave off the threat –again –  created by the DUP of a Sinn Fein First Minister in 2016?  Do they seriously think they can keep an overall right wing unionist majority long term? See my rival scenario for competition between soft unionism and soft republicanism inspired by Alex Salmond

Centre ground meltdown hasn’t happened. On this I’m a glass half full person. I have always argued that in a 108 member Assembly elected by STV this was always unlikely. Grabbing the leading roles was the easy bit.

We don’t know what the Sinn Fein peak is but it seems not far away, unless the SDLP in the North and Labour in the south implode. Having got this his far on near- empty tanks I don’t see why shouldn’t continue the miracle.

I’m puzzled why people are so impressed by Sinn Fein’s political strategy. It’s really the same as Churchill’s “keep buggering on”.  It’s just that they’ve realised the game for today is percentages rather than the DUP’s old favourite the zero sum which these days is little better than self abuse.

I hear rumours that the DUP may accept the SF challenge of a border referendum in 2016. Forget it. The British government whose call it is, won’t pass it.  For another  thing apart from that it’s a bonkers idea, the rules  say  when a majority might be in in favour of a united Ireland ( not confirming a majority in favour of keeping the Union).

Why isn’t Alliance doing significantly better? Apart from Naomi and Anna too afraid  to step outside the comfort zone  of respectable decency? Get committed to abortion law reform!

I’m puzzled to see small bouquets handed out for Executive performance. I must have missed this. All I’ve seen recently are: collapse finally of single more powerful education authority that could have clipped the bishops’ wings ; withdrawal of scheme to break up the Housing Executive; continuing deadlock over welfare payments reform; still no plans to increase local revenues. Hopes of creative new style of governments in the super councils are likely to be dashed. Was this the shared future? The increase in powers increase is literally cosmetic and anyway, there’s no money.

Have I missed something? Very likely. As Mick rightly observes, much reporting is still stuck in the past. Which reminds me…..

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  • Jagdip

    The first post-elections opinion poll has been published in the Republic. Millward Brown, 1,019 polled, 3.1% margin of error

    Independents 27%
    SF 26%
    FF 20%
    FG 20%
    Labour 5%

    (adds up to 98%, I know, but that is what Irish Indo reports)

    SF probably benefits from the disarray in Labour, but SF has also come out fighting after the results; I was counting almost one press statement an hour for much of this week. Also, FG look like complete clowns in their U-turn on discretionary medical cards.

    The poll confirms SF is now the most popular party in the North (by reference to 1st pref votes in LE and MEP elections) and South.

    It can’t be stressed enough though, that in the South, SF enjoys what must be the MOST benign political environment it can expect. However, even if you strip away the froth, you can almost name the additional 16 TDs it will win in 2015 (Paddy Power’s prediction for next election).

    As has been suggested out on here before, if the Shinners govern the South and hold First Minister role in the North, then will reunification have actually occurred without the referendums on both sides of the Border?

  • Scáth Shéamais

    As has been suggested out on here before, if the Shinners govern the South and hold First Minister role in the North, then will reunification have actually occurred without the referendums on both sides of the Border?

    Of course not. How can there have been reunification if there are two “national” parliaments in the country, if each part of the country uses a different currency etc etc?

  • Mick Fealty

    Damn, just lost a long post… short points…

    - Buggering on, yep. But Churchill won a war on that, so don’t underestimate it.

    - We’re at a long political solstice (winter or summer depending on where your sympathies like) SDLP need to stop worrying about ‘an end’ which isn’t coming and ask themselves Barry Turley’s rhetorical question: “Is there going to be situation where the SDLP becomes the largest party in Northern Nationalism?” If not (that’s what Barry thinks) then what role it is going to play, and start playing it.

    - The TUV is on the right, and is the most active ingredient in the Unionist game but Allister is driving it with liberal democratic arguments. He wants to make it uncomfortable for unionists to go into power with SF, but not impossible. [think on that UUP, if think you are hard enough for leadership??]

    - The puritan DUP digging in for the long haul, the pilgrim SF looking for new flocks to proselytise. Both leaving their left flanks wide open, but only for a politically robust challenge for those who understand that political seasons can also change.

  • socaire

    I know there’s just must be a post coming! Or will it go away if nobody says anything? Talk about Adams and paedophilia and OTRs. Would 500 posts be over the top?
    British government authorised use of torture methods in NI in early 1970s

  • Mick Fealty

    I’m off for the weekend and then some, but will be doing a summary post of all the party profiles.

    And yes, I do think Adams’ 22 year long betrayal of his niece is relevant, especially when it comes to examing the sincerity of the party on historical abuse…

    That’s politics Soc!!!

  • Morpheus

    What it all mounts to is the reversal of dismal turnouts at election time. The unionist politicians used the flags/protests to scare their electorate into voting for them and now the talk of ‘pacts’ and the mad dash to the far looney-tunes right will ensure that the nationalist electorate rallies causing the unionist vote to rally and so on. It’s genius really, rally the troops by using these relatively low impact elections right in time for the big elections when the big boys ‘earn’ their crusts.

    It’s all about fear, fear of what could happen. And the fear button is easily pressed

  • Morpheus

    “And yes, I do think Adams’ 22 year long betrayal of his niece is relevant, especially when it comes to examing the sincerity of the party on historical abuse”

    Mick, do you not even a twinge of guilt about using the victims of terrible crimes to score cheap points against SF? It’s like the McConvilles, used an abused when people thought there was political capital to be gained then discarded when no longer useful.

  • DC

    Mick the more you post on Sinn Fein the better they seem to do, will you please give it up, it’s counter productive lol

  • Mick Fealty

    Cause and effect, do you think DC? Meanwhile, back to Brian’s post. Enough of the ‘buggering on’…

  • Jagdip

    @Mick,
    The terms of the peace may say the killing of the MOT is a crime which can be investigated, and those responsible held to account, but the terms of history say it’s yet another horrible incident in a horrible civil war, where ordinary people were flung headlong into extraordinary times, and did things unconscionable in peace time.
    Maybe the electorate understands, that, because the terms of the peace may lead to judicial consequences, those people responsible, whoever they might be, won’t come clean on their involvement. And, maybe the electorate, forgives those responsible, perhaps not absolutely, but sufficiently to state a preference for them to govern.
    I cannot imagine a future scenario where someone so senior in Sinn Fein would face so serious and emotional a charge, with so much media coverage, a lot of which was negative (see the Sindo poll question, “do you think GA was involved in the murder of the MOT”), so soon to an election.
    The electorate has spoken.

  • Mick Fealty

    I agree Jag.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    I’ve just had a look at the seats won by the various parties in the new Causeway Coast and Glens Council with its six electoral areas and the forecasts by Irish Observer and Faha [aka bangordub] over on Nic Whyte’s site:

    DUP … 11 – 15 – 15
    UUP … 10 – 6 – 6
    SF…….. 7 – 9 – 9
    SDLP…. 6 – 5 – 7
    TUV…… 3 – 0 – 1
    APNI….. 1 – 2 – 1
    PUP…… 1 – 0 – 0
    IND 1 – 3 – 1

    The forecasters were well out but they were handicapped by the big changes to the electoral areas and, probably, a lack of local knowledge. For example, they both plumped for the DUP candidate in the Glens despite the fact that the UUP candidate was established in Moyle Council whereas the DUP one was on Ballymoney Council.

  • Granni Trixie

    Brian

    I know it’s probably a throw away line to you, but your suggestion re Alliance and abortion is totally unrealistic. It is the one which I doubt you could get internal consensus.

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

    Nevin – in fairness, those were not forecasts but projections of the 2011 result onto the new boundaries – as you point out, more than usually fraught in this case. But I think it is a fair analysis to say that the DUP could have expected to do a bit better in CC&G, and the UUP had a comparatively good result.

    Going to Brian‘s orignal question about turnout: I don’t think we can read very much into it. NI’s political system is almost completely different to that of England / Scotland / Wales so there is no reason that we would expect turnout levels to be similar across the narrow sea. I am also dubious that we can really read much into the increase in turnout compared to the previous European election, considering the simultaneous council elections.

    I do think that harder-line Unionist voters turnoed out more this time than others; the beneficiaries were the TUV (and UUP in the local elections, to an extent). Differential turnout is a deciding factor in most elections (except here in Belgium where voting is compulsory). This year there wasn’t an obvious incentive for most voters to make a special effort to vote, so they didn’t. Westminster and the Assembly will be a different matter.

    Finally I think Barry Turley’s question about the SDLP, as reported by Mick, is the right one: I am amazed that my own pre-election projections are being used by the party as evidence of their success; even on my own overtly counterfactual numbers they lost a seat, and on the real numbers they had two of their worst three election results ever. I hope that there is some serious reflection going on beneath the bluster.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “the DUP could have expected to do a bit better in CC&G”

    Nic, I appreciate that you and your colleagues have not yet carried out an in-depth analysis of the results but your observation and Turgon’s ‘small leakage’ doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, if my calculations are accurate:

    Turgon, the DUP council first preference vote dropped from 179436 in 2011 to 144928, a fall of 19% – not exactly a ‘small leakage’.

    Things were worse in the new Causeway Coast and Glens Council district where the vote fell from 16292 to 12582, a fall of 29%. The drop of 4710 votes in the DUP vote should be seen in the context of a modest increase for the UUP [290], 777 for a new PUP candidate in Coleraine and an impressive gain for the TUV [2819]

    The DUP’s 19 candidates 12582 votes yielded 11 seats whereas the UUP’s 12 candidates 7978 votes yielded 10 seats. Did the DUP spread itself too thinly?

    SF also saw a drop [797] and the SDLP a modest increase [94]. The SDLP’s 12 candidates’ 5911 votes yielded 6 seats whereas SF’s 12 candidates’ 9313 votes yielded just 7 seats.

    APNI only got one of the 40 seats and saw a small drop from 1963 to 1822 in its first preference votes.

    I would have thought that a 29% drop was the sort of dramatic drop that we’ve previously seen in UUP results. The DUP could also easily have had one CC&G seat less and SF one more as the difference in the final count in Ballymoney DEA was just 9 votes.

    DUP and SF are each handicapped by their OFMDFM role so, perhaps, it’s hardly surprising that they’ve been unable to fulfil their potential. This may well have contributed to gains for the TUV, PUP and, in some other councils, independent republicans.

    I think the UUP’s decline has been arrested to some extent by Mike Nesbitt’s ability to robustly challenge the SF narrative and, in CC&G, Robin Swann’s collaboration with UUP councillors in the provision of constituency outreach support – though it’s still not in the same league as that of the DUP or SF.

    When the SDLP lost its North Antrim MLA it also lost its Ballycastle office and Donal Cunningham, a sitting SDLP councillor in Moyle may well have been taken out by a well known Independent. We also had the unusual spectacle of Colum Thompson, an Independent who joined SF during the last term in Moyle, being beaten by Margaret Anne McKillop, a SF councillor who hadn’t been selected as a candidate who resigned from the party and joined the SDLP!

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

    Nevin,

    I’m not sure where you think our conclusions diverge: the results in general and the CC&G result in particular weren’t especially good for the DUP, which could have reasonably expected to do better based on previous results. In particular, it’s the first time they have been beaten by SF on first preferences in a local government election, and a decrease of 4.1% overall is not good news. In CC&G we can make a reasonably firm comparison between 2011 and 2014 as the external borders are not changed, and the DUP vote is down 5.8% from 2011.

    But your figures of a fall of 19% overall, and 29% in CC&G, are misleading. Turnout decreased between the two elections; we are comparing apples and oranges. What is interesting is that the DUP remain so dominant among Unionism that they could lose the same again and remain the larger Unionist party. Indeed, it’s almost the perfect result to play with in the Assembly election campaign.

    What should worry the UUP is that in the face of what I think is a disappointing result and you think is a collapse of DUP support, they barely edged forward %-wise in the local elections (up less than 1% overall, 1.6% in CC&G) and got their worst Euro result ever.It’s not enough for people to stop voting DUP; the UUP needs to define why voting for them is a better option.

    As for the SDLP here, credit where it’s due, they got 6 in CC&G where I’d projected 5 from the 2011 results, which is a decent result from a barely improved vote share. Cunningham is no doubt sorry to lose to his running-mate by only 36 votes, but they didn’t have much more than a quota between them.

  • MYtwocents

    Hello Nicholas, first of thank you for your number crunching very informative, could you do, or direct me to where you did, a analysis of how Alliance fared in Belfast, Ormiston would seem a good point of focus, I have an idea that the Alliance vote was considerably more green tinged compared to the last victoria ward, yet they lost a seat, correct me if I am wrong, and thanks.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    Nic, even taking account of the lower turnout, the DUP still lost one voter in 7. I consider that a significant drop. The 4.1 point share drop this time is certainly much greater than the previous 2.4 drop. The first you described as a ‘minor setback’, this one ‘not good news’.

    The lesser drop this time for SF has left it a little bit ahead of DUP on first preference votes but well back on seats. This sets things up very nicely for the Assembly elections, not least the competition for the FM’s revolving chair.

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

    Nevin – I’m really not sure what you are trying to argue; I think we agree that it was not a great result for the DUP, but you seem to be implying that I am somehow sweetening the pill. I’m not terribly interested in arguing the toss between “disappointing” and “poor” so perhaps we should talk about something else. I can’t find where I used the words “minor setback” so perhaps you will have to remind me.

    MYtwocents – I’m reserving judgement for now, I’m afraid. What I’m waiting for is NISRA to produce lookup tables where I can compare the old wards with the new wards more directly. But they are not yet published.

    As you probably know, I projected the 2011 votes onto the new Belfast boundaries as SF 31.2%, DUP 24.0%, Alliance 13.3%,SDLP 13.3%,UUP 8.5%, PUP 2.6% etc. But those numbers need a strong health warning attached, as the boundary changes make it difficult to judge where the votes would have fallen in 2011.

    The actual 2014 results were SF 29.2% (-2.0%), DUP 19.0% (-5.0%), Alliance 11.4% (-1.9%), SDLP 10.0% (-3.3%), UUP 9.0% (+0.5%), PUP 6.5% (+3.9%). Again those swings need a health warning attached as they are based on my counterfactual projections.

    One could use those figures (plus the bits and bobs – other Nationalists up 1% to 3.7%, other Unionists up 3.4% to 4.0%, NI21 2.7%) to argue that the overall Unionist vote is up slightly, the overall Nationalist vote down slightly, therefore the centre parties, particularly Alliance, may have eaten into the Nationalist vote partly compensating for erosion to Unionists.

    My own feeling is that turnout was generally down everywhere; smaller parties attracted a vote that was partly novelty and partly hardline; and the Alliance vote held up relatively well in more mixed areas, and less so in the more heavily Protestant areas where it has sometimes done well in previous elections. The DUP lost most, and it’s fairly easy to see where those votes went; the SDLP lost second most, and while it’s psephologically tempting to see those voters going to Alliance or other centre parties, I suspect they just didn’t turn out at all.

    But as I say, I’m reserving judgement until NISRA produces the comparative tables.

  • MYtwocents

    Thank you Nicholas,

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    Nic, here’s the quote from the 2011 elections:

    These elections saw further advances for Sinn Féin and Alliance, with minor setbacks for the DUP [-2.4] and much worse for the UUP [-2.7] and SDLP [-2.4].

    I’ve noted the UUP and SDLP lower base but I’d suggest that the DUP [-2.4] in 2011 to DUP [-4.1] in 2014 was worthy of an epithet which reflected the accelerated drop.

  • Roy Walsh

    Regardless of the slight dips and/or rises in support for various political parties, for the ordinary Seán’s and Siobhán’s throughout Ireland it’s really just a matter of ‘same shit different day’.
    So, in answer to the question, no, not really.

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

    Nevin,

    I can’t quite believe I’m responding yet again. In 2011 my “minor setbacks” pretty clearly referred to the number of councillors lost, which for the DUP was 3 and for the SDLP and UUP in double figures.

    Fact is that despite some obvious disappointments and causes for concern, the DUP had a decent enough local government election this year. They got the most councillors; they got the largest number of councillors in a majority of the new districts. A slippage from 2011, especially in an election where turnout was generally down, is not a terminal decline, and certainly not worth the time I have put into arguing with you about the precise epithet to use.

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

    Faha has begun a detailed post election analysis for those interested:
    http://bangordub.wordpress.com/2014/06/07/fahas-western-view/

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “A slippage from 2011, especially in an election where turnout was generally down, is not a terminal decline

    Nic, there’s no need to over-egg it :)

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

    Bangordub – thanks for that. I’ll post a comment there too, but want to put one important thought here:

    The key point that emerges from Faha’s analysis for me is that a lot of the people he calls Nationalist voters actually aren’t.

    In 11 of the 21 Western DEAs he surveys, the number of votes for Nationalist parties was less than half of his calculated number of “census Catholics”. (Not sure how he got those figures but I’m happy to accept them as ballpark.)

    If we describe these people, who are not in fact voting for Nationalist parties, as “Nationalists”, we risk making a category error.

  • Reader

    Nicholas Whyte: If we describe these people, who are not in fact voting for Nationalist parties, as “Nationalists”, we risk making a category error.
    While I believe in “unicorns”, I think it’s also fair that Faha can assume the existence of significant numbers of “Garden Centre Nationalists”.
    OK, they aren’t “voters”.

  • Zeno

    NW
    “If we describe these people, who are not in fact voting for Nationalist parties, as “Nationalists”, we risk making a category error.”

    It’s a very common error. There is an idea that there are only two types of people in NI, Nationalists and Unionists. This idea prevails among most political commentators even though half of the population describe themselves as “Neither” and confirm that by not voting for Nationalist nor Unionist Parties. Warnings about the effect of demographic change are used by Politicians and Commentators alike when the facts show that since the GFA the Nationalist Vote has fallen by almost 50,000 in Assembly Elections (the Unionist Vote by even more.)

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

    Reader – I find it interesting that you coin “Garden Centre Nationalists” to counter “Garden Centre Prods”. Nobody ever talked about “Garden Centre Unionists”.

    What I find new and very interesting in Bangordub/Faha‘s analysis is that Catholic turnout in the West is so low. I wrote after the 2010 election about the low turnout of Protestant voters, particularly in the East, and speculated that Unionist politicians banging on about the Union have failed to motivate their potential voters. Could the same apply on the other side as well?

  • Reader

    Nicholas Whyte: I find it interesting that you coin “Garden Centre Nationalists” to counter “Garden Centre Prods”. Nobody ever talked about “Garden Centre Unionists”.
    I would have preferred to use my terminology in both cases, but it’s a bit late now. I think there are large numbers of people who will no longer vote for tribal politicians in a deadlocked assembly, but who would probably turn out for the referendum. I.e. Garden Centre X and Garden Centre Y.
    There are also an unknowable number of people who (a) wouldn’t vote in a referendum, or (b) would cross the lines to vote.
    So, starting with unicorns – Catholics, probably cultural nationalists, used to vote for the SDLP or SF, but might have voted to keep the union or at least abstained. Now won’t even vote for the SDLP or SF.
    Garden Centre Nationalists. Won’t vote for the SDLP or SF anymore, but would vote for a United Ireland.
    The fall in nationalist turnout is interesting (fascinating even), but I don’t know what it *means*.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    Two very different interpretations from our analysts:

    “Nevin – I’m really not sure what you are trying to argue; I think we agree that it was not a great result for the DUP .. Fact is that despite some obvious disappointments and causes for concern, the DUP had a decent enough local government election this year. .. A slippage from 2011, especially in an election where turnout was generally down, is not a terminal decline” .. Nic Whyte

    “Despite all the spin by DUP politicians this election was a total disaster for the DUP. Their council vote was down 34,500 compared to 2011. Belfast was particularly bad.” .. Bangordub/Faha

  • PaddyReilly

    If we describe these people, who are not in fact voting for Nationalist parties, as “Nationalists”, we risk making a category error.

    The problem is that we have four different types of elections, Euro, Westminster, Stormont and local, conducted under different conditions and with different voting systems. A point that needs making is that those people who were brought up on FPTP don’t really understand the working of PR.

    Nicholas White is very much sold on the 1st preference votes as being the real vote, as witnessed by the statement that this has been the worst election ever for the SDLP. What this means is the lowest 1st preference vote: inevitable because there is a proliferation of minor parties. No-one has stated that this has been a bad election for UUP and DUP; it wasn’t; they started with a low percentage and made it up to a quota with transfers.

    Anyone who, in the Euro elections, gave their 1st prefs to Greens, 2nd to Alliance, 3rd to Conservatives, 4th to NI21, was just wasting the counters’ time with fatuous references to Mickey Mouse parties. What matters is whether it then goes to UUP or SDLP: this is the only valid vote.

    However, if this were a Stormont election, and the votes were cast in North Down, then the 1st and 2nd choices would be important, the 5th invisible and irrelevant.

    At the same time, turn-out is conditioned to the possibility of your vote actually meaning something. In the USA there were 100 year old Black women who had never voted in their life who turned out to vote for Obama because this was the first time they had seen the possibility of change. Closer to home, a low turn out at local elections is to be expected in most places because the local government carve-up ensured that the likely results were known from the moment the shape of the districts became known.

    In future elections we can expect a substantial turnout for North Belfast (Westminster) because there is the possibility of a SF win and East Belfast because the DUP will want to overturn Alliance.

    Once it becomes apparent that Catholics outnumber Protestants turn-out will rocket in all types of election.

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

    Reader – thanks for clarifying. I agree with you. (Including that I too do not know what it means.)

    Nevin – with the greatest of respect to our friends on the other blog, I think “total disaster” is hyperbole in this case. A “total disaster” is what happened to the Lib Dems in the European Parliament election in GB, when they lost all but one of their seats. It is not normally applied to a situation where one wins more seats than any other party!

    Paddyreilly – actually my key indicators are 1) bums on seats when the dust settles, and 2) 1st pref vote share rather than raw numbers. The final destination of transferred votes has a role too, but it’s a very variable measuring stick.

    It’s difficult to spin the SDLP’s worst result ever as anything else, but I am impressed by the effort that is being put into the attempt. I humbly suggest that it might be better instead to acknowledge the scale of the problem and set realistic targets for moving forward.

    Once it becomes apparent that Catholics outnumber Protestants turn-out will rocket in all types of election.

    I have not crunched the numbers yet myself, but Faha’s analysis rather indicates the reverse: in the new councils where Catholics clearly do outnumber Protestants, turnout appears to have fallen more than elsewhere, rather than rocketing.

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

    Nicholas,
    I would agree that the evidence seems to suggest that when Nationalist votes are sufficient ensure a nationalist is returned, the nationalist vote tends to drop off in subsequent elections. Consistently Fermanagh/ South Tyrone has been one of the closest constituencies with the highest turnout across the region for example. After the failed Unionist “kitchen sink” exercise at the last Westminster election I expect a drop in turnout across the board at the next

  • PaddyReilly

    in the new councils where Catholics clearly do outnumber Protestants, turnout appears to have fallen more than elsewhere, rather than rocketing.

    Exactly. Since the result is a foregone conclusion, turnout is poor.

    But if we had a venue- Northern Ireland itself- where the change in population meant a significant change of régime was possible- then turnout will rocket, for the duration of that significant change. The phenomenon has already been observed in Mid Ulster.

  • Zeno

    “Once it becomes apparent that Catholics outnumber Protestants turn-out will rocket in all types of election.”

    Still clinging to the 1960′s idea that all Catholics are Nationalists I see. Once the majority number is hit they will all jump out of the bushes and rush to the polling stations at the first opportunity.
    I have to say it seems a tad far fetched.

  • PaddyReilly

    A while back the new local government areas were announced. It was instantly worked out (present company participating) what the complexion (though not the party make-up of course) of the new councils would be and the actual elections just confirmed this. The best determinant of this is the religious census.

    Equally, when we examine the constituencies, we find that those that have a Catholic majority return a SF or SDLP MP; those that don’t choose another party.

    http://belfastmediagroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Screen-Shot-2013-05-21-at-14.29.37-15.54.432.png

    So the obvious conclusion is that when the province itself shows a Catholic majority, there will also be a Nationalist majority among the Euro and Westminster MPs. This may not occur exactly at 50% + 1; but as the Catholic majority increases, it becomes more and more inevitable.

    Stormont is not quite so predictable, because of the power of Centrist MLAs. But one would expect Nationalist MLAs to outnumber Unionist ones, about the time that Catholics outnumber Protestants.

    However, in constituencies in the East of the province, where there is a Unionist majority, we may not assume that a Census Catholic is going to be a voting Nationalist. Still, the election of a SF MLA for East Antrim shows these things are possible.

    Where the percentage of Catholics is extremely low, the Nationalist vote is even lower: there is no sign of the Nationalist vote in North Down catching up with the percentage of Catholics in the population. The deficit is only a couple of thousand, though. And the same is true of the Unionist vote in Foyle.

  • Zeno

    It’s a nice idea Paddy but 48,000 people less (Assembly Elections) are voting Nationalist than did in 1998. Nationalist gains at elections have therefore not come as a result of a rising Catholic Population. The gains have been made because Unionists have stopped voting at an even faster rate. Why have Unionists stopped voting?

  • PaddyReilly

    Unionists generally stop voting because they are dead. In Belfast constituencies they also stop voting because they have moved out of town. Nevertheless, there are plenty of Unionists who think that South Belfast still has a Protestant majority. The 2011 Census shows that this is no longer the case.

    Turnout may have a rhyme or reason but it is well nigh impossible to predict. The recent Euros showed an increase of 88,000 in the Unionist vote and 33,000 in the Nationalist over 2009. Why is this? I believe this is the beginning of a turnout war. Others may think that Unionist rhetoric has converted the Fenians. We will see.

  • Zeno

    ” The recent Euros showed an increase of 88,000 in the Unionist vote and 33,000 in the Nationalist over 2009. Why is this? I believe this is the beginning of a turnout war.”
    Paddy
    It’s not a turnout war. It happened because they held the Euro Elections and Council Elections on the same day.

  • PaddyReilly

    No it didn’t. The Euro vote was significantly higher than the Local Government vote.

  • Zeno

    Total poll 636,093 Euro
    Council 627,777

    They are practically identical Paddy.

  • Reader

    Zeno: They are practically identical Paddy.
    It’s a very small percentage difference, which supports your point – simultaneous elections bring out extra voters.
    However, who were in this 8000 of a difference? Euro citizens with no interest in local elections? North Down and Ards chuckies with no-one to vote for? Greens with no-one to vote for? People of all sorts apalled at the quality of council candidates?

  • PaddyReilly

    In 2011, 481,194 people turned out for local elections: in 2014 636,093. It’s a turnout war.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    PaddyR, the turnout in 2005 was 717913 ;)

  • PaddyReilly

    See my previous statement “Turnout may have a rhyme or reason but it is well nigh impossible to predict.”

  • Zeno

    “However, who were in this 8000 of a difference? Euro citizens with no interest in local elections?”

    READER
    I’d say a lot of younger first time voters.

  • Zeno

    “See my previous statement “Turnout may have a rhyme or reason but it is well nigh impossible to predict.”
    Paddy.
    It has fallen steadily since the GFA.
    Local Gov
    2014________627,777
    2011________660,662
    2005________702,749
    2001________790.457