The election has potential to be surprising, any leftfield results wont be known until the count but Ive been considering how each party may judge a successful return. Levels of success rely not just on the number of MPs returned but comparative votes from the last Westminster election and since along with other considerations. For example SF were the largest party in terms of vote after the European election but that wasnt the case at the last Westminster electon. Similarly the DUPs vote is almost guaranteed to fall from the last Westminster election but that doesnt reflect the emergence of the TUV in the last European. Success will be judged on several levels the number of MPs, percentage and actual votes and how the result would translate into seats at Assembly level (arguably more important for some).
My thoughts below on judging success are by no means definitive please suggest other factors that could indicate a successful outcome for the parties.
Retaining seats all their Westminster seats will be the main aim. Adding a seat in South Belfast, as a full gain or countering a single seat lose elsewhere, would also be an excellent result.
The cant expect a gain in vote in percentage or real terms from the last Westminster election as the TUV are now involved but need to improve on their percentage at the Europeans given the TUV arent running in every constituency (not running in FST makes this more difficult).
Retaining all their seats is the key aim. They have limited chances for an additional seat but coming through the middle in Upper Bann as a full gain or to counteract a lose in FST would be a big victory.
They’ll return the largest vote but increasing on it from the European elections would be a success.
Retaining FST would be a massive win but losing it with the SDLP vote suffering badly would be a minor success.
Retaining all seats and increasing their percentage and vote, there seems no realistic option for adding a seat.
Retaining SB in particular but with an increase in vote.
Losing in FST but increasing percentage and vote
They must return 2 MPs from somewhere, they must increase their percentage and actual vote (again not running in FST makes this more difficult).
South Antrim in particular needs to be a gain.
Winning 1 seat (North Antrim)
Reaching a quota for Assembly elections in numerous constituencies
(They cant increase their vote or percentage from European election as they are only running in 10 constituencies)
Retaining percentage and vote and/or growing in certain constituencies
(Cant really expect to win any seat)
Retaining vote at Assembly level in ND under Agnew
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