Implications for Assembly election?

While this election can’t predict the outcome of next years’ Assembly election it may give some pointers to possible target seats and vulnerabilities.

Most constituencies seem to indicate no change likely but the following show some possible change:

Fermanagh South Tyrone – possibility of SDLP dropping sole seat and a SF gain
North Antrim – TUV target seat from DUP
South Antrim – big hitters weren’t on field but one of the SDLP/Alliance could be vulnerable to UUP gain
Upper Bann – SF target for 2nd seat probably from UUP
Lagan Valley – SF seat gone possible UUP or TUV target
North Down – hard to call but Green seat looks vulnerable
East Belfast – Alliance target 2nd seat from DUP

Do you agree/disagree? See others I have missed?


  • Delta Omega

    More importantly will there be immediate implications within the assembly in terms of double jobbers having to choose either Westminster or Assembly? If a newly elected MP chooses Westminster and resigns from the Assembly will their positions be filled by co-option? Will this instigate an executive and committee chair reshuffle and if so when?

  • Co. Down man

    SDLP to lose one seat in south Down, the party’s weakness was hidden by the fact at least 7,000 Unionists voted Ritchie to keep Ruane out.

  • BOM

    Everybody is in bed…

  • Mark McGregor

    Ha, what nonsense.

  • Seamus

    The actual swing from Unionists to Nationalists (probably tactical voting by Unionists) was 3% of the vote. So it is more like 1,200 votes.

  • Co. Down man

    Lads the Unionist vote fell by 9% was at the count saw the boxes, Wells, Mc Allister and the TUV all publicly applauded the fact thousands voted for Ritchie. Even the SDLP accepted that!

  • Mark McGregor

    Look at the 2003 Assembly election that is what this vote is masking – SF dropping 2k votes and the SDLP picking them up.

  • Seamus

    It fell by 9% from 2005. The boundaries were redrawn. Compared to the notional results Unionists dropped by 6%, Nationalists gained 3% and others gained 3%.

  • Darrell Monteith

    The loss of Peter Robinson’s seat in east Belfast rather disguised the excellent DUP performance across the province. The TUV clearly turned out to be a busted flush and their vote will fall again from here. Many good people have have left the DUP and joined them and these good people will be welcome to return to their natural fold. I doubt Jim Allister will ever swallow all that personal pride and bile to return to the DUP – but you never know.

  • Lionel Hutz

    The SDLP gets some unionist votes which is not a new phenomonon. What’s hidden in 2010 was hidden in 2005

  • Seamus

    The SDLP did get some Unionist votes but I don’t think the actual scenario on the ground is that different. If anything the SDLP got about 3.5% of Sinn Féin’s vote in the constituency so I doubt there will be SDLP losses there.

  • Simplemente Maria

    Co. Down man, a lot of nationalists in South Down didn’t go to vote at all yesterday, but they will at the Assembly elections, and I can tell you: many of us would vote anybody, but Catriona Ruane!

  • John Joe

    This is the eternal problem of translating FPtP to STV.
    Did the SDLP get unionist votes per se – or were they cast to keep out SF?
    Semantic point, maybe, but if that is the case, from the point of view of Assembly seats, transfers to the SDLP may appear too low down the ballot to translate into seats.

  • Sammy Morse

    Wouldn’t read too much into North Down beyond saying that if Sylvia cloned herself three times, she could win 4 seats in the Assembly.

  • Co. Down man

    I would say John Joe to keep SF out, the boxes for Killough 90% Unionist for example were showing 50% SDLP, In the cold light of day I think the SDLP will be concerned for the assembly.

  • orly

    Think the Greens will be alright in North Down really.

  • John Joe

    Combined DUP-UUP-TUV in SD only 19.4%, split three ways thats not really going to translate to two quotas (and there were/are two safe unionist seats). So whatever proportion went to Ritchie will come back. Similarly, SF pulling in about 2 quotas, with 2 safe SDLP quotas and plus ca change in South Down.

  • outsidegawkingin

    It is likely the TUV brand is so badly damaged that it would be unlikely that even Jim Allister could bring out that same vote in NA for Assembly election.

  • John Joe

    Upper Bann going to be very tight for last seat. Appears to be 2 safe DUP, 1 safe seat each for SF, SDLP and UUP. Last seat is between SF and UUP, SF vote has been down a couple of percent lower in Westminister over Assembly. Neither SF nor UUP will be close to 28-29% (roughly two quotas) to make this anything other than a cliffhanger.

    SF will lose Lagan Valley seat on these numbers. Doesn’t appear to be a nationalist quota either way. Maybe extra seat for the UUP, but more like a TUV gain.

  • PaddyReilly

    You can’t really use General Election results to predict Assembly ones exactly. It’s a different ball-game.

    FST: obviously the SDLP has been subjected to an enormous squeeze due to the Unionist Unity candidate. It will bounce back for the Assembly.

    N Antrim. Yes, the TUV will win a seat here, and in other constituencies. The PR system is geared to keep minor parties going.

    S Antrim. Some distortion here due to there being a race between DUP and UUP, possibly tactical voting. No change expected in distribution of 6 Stormont seats, other than their ordering in the count.

    Upper Bann. SF was already very close to a second seat, and may yet achieve it.

    Lagan Valley. There should still be one Nationalist quota here: the seat will either revert to the SDLP, or be lost, probably only temporarily.

    North Down. Green is safe. Different ball-game. But does Sylvia intend to start her own party and run it in Stormont? That really would make a difference. If she doesn’t, perhaps Alliance should have a go for another seat.

    East Belfast. Yes, a second Alliance seat is here inevitable.

    Result: Unionists no longer majority in Assembly, balance held by Alliance. However, DUP has done very well and TUV not so: it may be that the DUP will remain the largest party, with the psychological comfort blanket of 1st minister.

  • jaunty

    can anyone shed any light on this?
    what is SF stance given that they dont go to westminster…

  • Tochais Síoraí

    Is the SDLP seat in North Antrim at risk?

    A nationalist in East Antrim looks nailed & the SDLP have a good chance in Strangford.

    Is the 2nd Alliance seat in EB likely? Was last night not due to a large personal vote for Naomi Long & she won’t be running in next assembly election?

    Thought the Greens would do better in South Down yesterday. Did GP voters go tactically for Ritchie?

  • cynic47

    If Sylvia was to endorse a few few Assembly candidates and campaign for them it could put the cat among the pigeons. Alan McFarland springs to mind. I doubt if Sylvia will desert him. The Ulster Unionists could end up paying a price for this episode, even at Council elections if Sylvia wanted to turn the screw on them. If Wilson decides to retire from the Assembly, which is his stated action the Greens can kiss the seat bye bye. Wilson won the seat with a bit of political opportunism that married his long term personal vote with the 800 votes the Greens traditionally got. Agnew has demonstrated no personal following with this result and won’t hold the seat. TUV will stand in North Down as well and while they won’t take a seat their transfers could be pivotal in whether the DUP take one or two seats. Their ambitions of a third seat are a pipedream.

  • cynic47

    Will the Long’s be the new Swish Family in East Belfast? Must be plenty of wantabee’s in the Alliance that would break a leg for an unelected salaried post to release the new MP from double jobbing. I hope that she does the principled thing and resigns from the Assembly. All said a good result for her.

  • Wasted Ballot

    He’s cost Robbo his seat, Allister will be lynched if he was to even think about it!

  • Sinn Fein will also be targeting an extra seat in West Tyrone and West Belfast.

    If they continue to attract the young vote and can pull more out of the traditional SDLP vote in places, they’ll be hard to stop.

  • Seamus

    Its an election too early to start talking about a Sinn Féin gain in West Belfast. The Shinners won’t even field 6 candidates as the balancing act could cause them to lose a seat. They play 5 and getting them safely elected and possibly in the election afterwards will look at 6.

  • tresc2003

    Gerry, After witnessing your speech this morning at the Valley, I just wanted to ask if you voted for WIlson? because you concentrated more on praising him than reflecting on your own campaign. Alliance will struggle to keep their assembly seat in EA if anyone else but Neeson runs.

  • tresc2003

    I would agree with you that the SDLP are vulnerable in NA. As far as East Antrim goes, I would have to disagree. The nationalist vote is split down the middle between SF and SDLP so neither will gain a quota. Add to this the fact that the UUP and DUP will get 2 & 3 MLAs returned on last nights figures, I would say that the nationalists best hope it that Lynch stands again for Alliance and they lose their seat to either SDLP and SF. If Neeson stands for Alliance then he will attract nationalist votes and there will be no chance. How do you see it paning out?

  • The Original Sam Maguire

    They won’t field 4 in WT either – if they’re even suggesting it then it’s just the post election euphoria talking. The have enough votes to get the current incumbents elected on the first count – but very little after it. They attempted 4 in MU in 2003 after getting a similar share of the vote in 2001 Westminster election but the idea was abandoned fairly rapidly when they realised it that poor vote management could cost them dearly.

  • The Original Sam Maguire

    3 seats in FST is a more likely option. If I’m not mistaken, Gerry McHugh looked very friendly with his ex-colleagues, briefly, on camera at the count last night. Whether he comes back into the fold is questionable but 3 seats in FST is a definite target with that share of the vote.

  • Mark McGregor

    No chance of a 4th in West Tyrone if anyone gets Deeny’s seat on those numbers it will be the UUP.

    Wiping the SDLP out in FST is a real possibility though.

    Possible gain in Upper Bann too.

    West Belfast a bit much to ask but if they switch Butler he should keep a tight 3.5K to battle for last seat.

    Target seat in South Down now clearly gone due solely to Ruane factor – time to take the hit and sideline her, a clear liability.

  • Mark McGregor

    But I also note it is interesting to see where Deeny’s vote has its natural home – near a 10% increase for Doherty when he doesn’t run.

    I do think his star is on the wane though and that seat will go, to the UUP next time and possibly SF the time after.

  • Mr Crumlin

    I agree with you on Catriona – what about a reshuffle, putting Gildernew into Education, Murphy to DARD and Ruane to roads (as I dont think SF will completely ditch her).

    Then put a local young candidate into SD and make her(?) the top priority for the Assembly election.

  • Harry Jay

    I think you’ve mistaken West Tyrone

    SF have 3.4 Quotas
    DUP 1.4Q
    UUP (almost) 1.0Q
    SDLP 0.98Q

    I make that 3 SF 1 DUP 1 UUP and 1 SDLP

    The Belfast Tele poll had alliance on 7% here. They might want to up their game and try for Deeney’s seat on a shared future ticket with all their recent momentum.

    But as I see it SF’s 0.4 extra quotas will transfer to the SDLP and the Unionists have one apiece.

  • Michaelhenry

    looked at most areas, the unionists look well split in mid ulster now, SINN FIEN could get a forth member in whilst the unionists squre up to each other.

  • The Original Sam Maguire


    There’s 4 nationalist seats (inc Deeny’s) and 2 unionist in West Tyrone – Going on those numbers the DUP don’t have nearly enough for 2 quotas next time, but the UUP and SDLP aren’t a kick in the arse away from regaining one. At the minute, there are 3 guaranteed SF seats and DUP seat. If Deeny runs it’s Deeny v the SDLP for one of them and the UUP v a second DUP seat for the other.

  • Deeny won’t have anywhere near the support next time round IMO. He might drag up the hospital issue but he is AWOL from most assembly matters and may not even stand. It’s still an emotive issue, but won’t have the same impact.

    I can see a possible outcome of 4 WT Sinn Fein seats.

    Sinn Fein can’t be anything but extremely happy with their election. Aside from the seats they can look to a number of seats for the future, North Belfast for example. Their vote continues to increase. They will be the largest party in the assembly.

    Gerry and Martin were probably high on their success but think they did hint at Mid Ulster too as a target. Were very happy with O’Dowd and although they admitted the strength of Durkan, Martin mentioned if he doesn’t run for assembly (on double jobbing) it leaves a weaker candidate for them to take a seat from.

  • Are we Human

    But the big question is…. how soon after the electoral reforms are introduced will the real debate in Northern politics begin.
    42% SF/SDLP 39.1% DUP/UUP/TRADS

  • slug

    Implication for next Westminster Election is perhaps just as relevant – according to the Panel on Newsnight (Finkelstein etc) who argue this situation just isn’t going to work for more than a year.

    Another GE in the Autumn or early in 2011..?

  • Personally I would suggest a kick up the back side for the DUP for letting Sinn Fein have education in the first place when they knew it was Sinn Fein’s publicly stated intention to abolish academic selection by any means, when the public was only opposed to the 11-plus. I still think it is rather rich of Unionists to complain about Ruane applying her party’s policy when they could have handed Sinn Fein a different department – mind you, how she has gone about a policy I personally oppose is crazy. You cannot force anything through the Assembly unless you have at least two parties in favour.

  • Are we Human

    What I mean is when are we going to get real on the Island ?

  • Sammy Morse

    There is such a thing as grace in defeat; there is also merit in any political system in maintaining basic civility between parties and acknowledging the strengths of one’s opponents, not least in a system of government where we all have to work together. It amazes me that people run a negative election campaign, lose as a result, and then think the electorate want more negative. Despite all their travails, the DUP held 8 out of 9 seats, saw off UCUNF and the TUV everywhere, and only lost East Belfast where they were fighting a positive Alliance campaign. Reg attacking Willie McCrea for being a snowman? I mean, really.

    PS – 11.1% = a safe Assembly seat for any Alliance candidate that might run in East Antrim and indeed an Alliance candidate in pretty much any constituency. East Antrim figures would represent a pretty cut and dried 3 DUP/1 UCUNF/1 Alliance with the last seat on a knife edge between the SDLP and SF, or if there were some very loose nationalist transfers, a well balanced second UCUNF candidate.

  • so far

    The biggest problem is turnout. East Antrim 50%!! How well the politicians in this country have sowed the seeds of apathy.

  • so far

    I suspect you are correct.

  • Driftwood

    What date is the assembly election in March. Could it be the same date as the General Election assuming this parliament lasts that long? There may be no Ashcroft money for the UUP, and Labour may struggle for cash on the mainland. Also, probable budget cuts here and the inability of stormont to handle these could all upset the applecart.

  • Mr Crumlin

    I think a lot will depend on the turnout next time round. From my own perspective I would expect the nationalist vote to turn out in greater numbers – I dont think, with the exception of FST and NB, there was any great incentive for nationalists to turn out on Friday, particularly SF supporters as Stormont is the real game for us.

    I know that the turnout in Crumlin among us former westies was particularly poor for example but turnout in nationalist seats was as low as I can remember.

  • orly

    Perhaps, but North Down tends to go all over the place in elections.

    Westminster elections are strange but I think having Lucas elected in Brighton could raise their profile as a whole making them more attractive or at least get people to take them more seriously.

    If Wilson does stand again he’ll likely get back in.

  • BOM

    Turnout was bad this time in many areas. East Antrim was bad.

    The problem with this election, from a local persepective, was that many candidates were not as well known as they would usually be in a Council or Assembly election. A few people told me yesterday that they didnt vote because they had never heard of the candidates. People in my area tend to think locally and this election didnt mean much to them. A lot of Nationalists tend to think it is a waste of time voting in a WM election when there is no chance of any Nationalist candidate winning a seat.

    Apathy also played a part. Many peple have become so despondent and to be honest I cant blame them.

    When the Assembly elections come round there will be a better turnout but there will still need to be more well known candidates in some areas were familiarity means everything.

  • union mack

    the total unionist vote was 50.48%. realignment around two parties, one more centrist than the other, is inevitable. splinter parties have to come to terms with the GFA, and coalesce around whichever unionist group best suits their social and economic views

  • Eurocrat

    Co. Down man obviously doesn’t know his Killough from his Clough!! Are you sure you are actually from County Down or just some stool pigeon?

  • madraj55

    A bigger question is, how are DUP going to deal with the situation where nationalists become the largest group in assembly, since if SF are now the largest party, it couldn’t be that far off. Is being the minority grouping any more palatable to the DUP than direct rule with Dublin input ?
    I’m sure some DUP figures woul;d rather have no power here than have to play second fiddle to SDLP or SF.

  • Lionel Hutz

    The problem with these projections is that they are not taking into account what is happening to the nationalist vote or even the cross-community vote in nationalist ares. In these constituencies turnout was down 13-14% however the Sinn Fein vote experienced only marginal decline in terms of actual numbers giving them a proprtionate increase in percentage terms.

    This means one of two things:

    – the SdLP are done in Tyrone, Fermanagh and Armagh. If turnout decline is across the board then this is the best explanation. Sinn Feins vote is the only vote that managed to stave off big declines. If their turnout is down, they have to be wiping out SDLP

    – this election has masked a stagnation in Sinn Feins vote. Sinn Fein are the best at getting their vote out. Other parties had absolutely nothing to play for in FST, WT, MU and N&A. It is possible that a great amount of their vote did not turn up for this election. Whether they will be back next year is another question.

    It’s hard to figure this one out but because SDLP fielded a doomed, a token, a new and an uninspIring candidate inFST, WT, MU and N&A respectively yet with the exception of FST have an assembly seats worth of votes in this election, one must believe that the latter option is true.

  • Lionel Hutz

    This doesn’t mention to missing 10% in West Belfast