SDLP still in trouble – five areas going under

While the SDLP easily retained its three seat other areas indicated that ship may not be out of troubled waters just yet as five candidates recorded the party’s worst results in decades (looks more like ever):

FST – 7.6% worst result ever for SDLP

West Tyrone – 14% (excluding Deeny’s candidacy in 2005) worst result ever

Mid Ulster – 17.4% equal worst result ever with 2005 General election

South Antrim – 8.7% worst result ever

Upper Bann – 12.7% worst result ever

(I may have missed a figure in the 70/80s that means some are only the worst results in decades)


  • argosjohn

    But what are Sinn Fein? Just a run of the mill partitionist party with loyal donkeys to do the legwork.

  • Mark McGregor

    Sorry? What has this got to do with SF? Not like I’m a big fan.

    Its a statement of fact (I think and am open to challenge)

  • realistic idealist

    Mark, heres another one for you:

    East Derry – 15.4% worst result ever

    Incidentally it was also SF best ever result in terms of vote share in East Derry at 19.3%

  • snowstorm

    It may be premature to write off an area like FST. Clearly the SDLP vote in that area declined and some traditional SDLP voters went over to Michelle for this poll. If the party is organised properly and energised it is entirely possible that those votes could come back. Not sure if Fearghal will stick around until next June, but it there is a quota to be chased.

    In west Tyrone, there is the Deeny factor. That wasn’t there yesterday and hence the SDLP vote seems to be up. Whatever way you look at it there is an SDLP Assembly seat in west Tyrone. That will actually represent progress, although it was such a massive own goal last time round this shouldn’t be viewed as a surprise.

    Mid Ulster, put McGlone back in the mix and there is something to build on.

    pper Bannis banjaxed, Delores Kelly is not going to add any % share, West and North Belfast f****d.

  • Mark McGregor

    2nd worst ever, they were at 13% in last Assembly election. I’m doing ‘ever’ not just Westminster.

  • PaddyReilly

    Centre parties don’t need much in the way of 1st preference votes- they get in on transfers.

    Just because the SDLP has lent SF half of its votes in FST into order to keep the pan-Unionist out, doesn’t mean SF is going to keep them. Have some sense.

  • Jean Meslier

    “Just because the SDLP has lent SF half of its votes in FST into order to keep the pan-Unionist out, doesn’t mean SF is going to keep them. Have some sense.”

    Problem PaddyReilly is that the SDLP is too middle aged, too middle class and IMO too lazy. Nothing was lent in F/ST. The initiative of “your voters” was a mature reaction to the attempted coup d’état by the orange order – despite your leaderships specific directions.

  • johnno

    There’s been a lot of talk today of Shinners never again giving SDLP candidates transfers. I really think the behaviour of the SDLP is going to come back to bite them in the Assembly elections. The SDLP aren’t going to get another transfer from Shinners – certainly not after the spiteful running of McKinney in FST, the pointless spoiling of Maginnes in north Belfast and the disgustingly ungracious behaviour of McDonnell towards Maskey in south Belfast.

    This is it for the SDLP. They will never extend beyond the Stoop-land of south Down, the loyalist-backed charade that is Foyle and lucky little run they’re getting in south Belfast with the split unionist situation.

    SF, on the other hand, can look forward to taking North Belfast and possibly targeting Upper Bann. The victory of Michelle Gildernew will make it impossible for Ritchie to try and damage SF with a spoiler candidate ever again. Alban Maginnes will never run in North Belfast again. That seat is a stick on for Gerry Kelly and everyone knows it.

  • snowstorm

    Johnno – SF never did transfer to the SDLP anyway, so no difference there. Disgustingly ungracious? I heard Alasdair telling Alex, ‘they’re not SF votes, they belong to the people.’ I think thats accurate.

  • johnno

    Snowstorm, you’re wrong.

    Shinners transfered regularly to the STOOPS – it was the always the snivelling STOOPs who saved their 2nd and 3rds for their Alliance and unionist friends.

    Not any more.

    The SDLP will never expand beyond Foyle, South Down and South Belfast…all of which they’re increasingly coming to rely on tactical loyalist votes – which tells you everything about the snivelling creeps they are.

    McDonells behaviour today will come back to haunt him.

    The humiliation of Ritchie in the FST outcome was a glorious thing to behold. Margaret has ensured that the SDLP is totally and utterly dead in 50% of Northern Ireland.

  • Big Boss

    Lets look at things…

    First of all, Mid-Ulster, the vote has been growing and they choose to run a first time candidate instead of MLA Patsy McGlone,

    This is clearly a move to promote him for being Pasty running mate next assembly election.

    F/ST…. this was to be expected!, and despite Shinners trying to claim it, they had never entertained the thought of winning this seat. … they were always going to get squeezed! and that vote will mostly return at next march.

    WT – was a bad result! they made a gain without deeney running this time, they will have to look at ways to improve their vote as the work on the ground is very very poor!

    Again South Anrtim they were running another first time candidate! they are bleeding the new generation in, which is good to see! dont think SF had this at the election!

    Johuno…. just another deluded Shinner! lol but thats to be expected!! they have been claiming the death of the SDLP for 20 years now! still havn’t managed it yet!….. come next election they will still be claiming that they can take foyle and south down!!…… lol

  • Pete Baker

    Care to reveal the SDLP percentage drift you’re highlighting from the 2005 election onward for the constituencies concerned?

    So that we can discern the extent of that “going under” claim.

  • Danny

    Quit talking nonsense, you can’t blame the SDLP for the Unionist’s rotten sectarian non-tactics. I’m a life-long SDLP (or, for PR-STV, Alliance as well) voter, and I despise most of what Sinn Féin stand for (or don’t stand for in the case of the General), but I would still have voted SF had I been in Fear Meanach nó Tír Eoghain.

  • Mark McGregor

    It was always about 60-70% from SF to SDLP

    From SDLP to SF it is about 40%

  • abucs

    I do think the SDLP need to turn things around very quickly.

    If the drift to SF continues then i also cannot see the SDLP expanding from Foyle, South Down and South Belfast.

    And if it becomes obvious that they are only holding on in these areas by tactical voting from non SDLP groups (in the not too distant future) then the SDLP will be a party waiting to dissappear at Westminster, like the UUP has over the relatively short span of 10 years.

    The only saving grace i see is either a pact with SF now regarding Westminster seats or the Lib-Dems being successful in changing the voting system.

    The UUP (from an ascendent position) were too proud to enter into a pact with the DUP and now they have nothing left. The SDLP could easily go the same way over the next 3 election cycles – if they are not careful.

  • Carnlough Yin

    SDLP were also outpolled in East Antrim for the first time ever (I stand to be corrected) and were also well beaten in North Antrim.

  • Carnlough Yin

    Outpolled by Sinn Fein by the way.

  • Diluted Orange

    Maybe one day the Nationalist electorate will wake up in the same way that the Unionist electorate woke up in East Belfast
    on Thursday?

    I don’t think people quite understand the massive fiscal crisis the UK is in. When public sector jobs go aplenty in West
    Belfast, and they will, over the coming months who is Gerry Adams going to answer to? And how is Gerry Adams going to stand
    up for all those people that WILL lose their jobs when he and his other SF cronies won’t go to Westminster and fight for

    Politics is about to get very real for Sinn Fein. They are soon going to learn that it is more than just mealy mouthed words
    about “equality” and “uniting the Green and the Orange” and talking la-la about “… on this island” etc that actually have
    any substance. When the chips are down applying outdated “Republican” principles in one area (Westminster) but not in
    another (e.g. standing in the Dail) won’t carry much weight to unemployed council workers trying to put food on the table
    for their familiy in Ballymurphy.

    Of course you can fully expect the SF electorate to choose the “jam tomorrow” of a United Ireland over the “jam today” of
    holding down a job but I live in hope that one day they might wake up and smell the coffee.

    If Sinn Fein want to abstain then fine. But then you shouldn’t be standing for election in the first place, in my opinion,
    if you do not intend on taking up the role.

    It is ironic that SF talk a good game about unionist engagement yet their support is crying foul over the SDLP’s
    non-aquiesence in forming a sectarian pact in F+ST. Full credit to Margaret Ritchie for standing up to them, if only the UUP
    and DUP had the same common decency.

    There is still the outside possibility of the SDLP being involved as a minor partner in a Lib/Lab coalition. At least they
    have an opportunity to serve their constituents and try on their behalf to reduce the pain that is coing NI’s way.

  • Jean Meslier

    Dear deluded Diluted Orange.

    Here we go again with the usual over inflated view of the influence of “our wee MP’s” in the mother of all parliaments.

    Here’s the wake up for you. The key to my point are the words Irish Republican. This is a principle which guides SF elected reps. It means they want no truck with legitimising British rule in Ireland. It is, along with an Irish passport, the one outstanding way Irish nationalists have in expressing their opposition to partition. And boy does it stick in some people’s throats.
    On Thursday 170,000 + voters endorsed this yet again, by voting for SF abstentionist candidates and returning 5 MP’s.
    How often do you need to receive this message before the penny drops?

    Look get real and instead of being so caught up in blind hatred to GA, why not just once open your ears and listen to what he has to say, for example, re: a bloc approach (the main parties in the 6 Co.’s) going to Londinium as a joint delegation to negotiate for a fiscal plan to best suit us.

    How complicated is that? Or would you rather wallow in the windy corridors of Westminister and listen to Margaret Ritchie’s/Rev. McCrea’s echoing whine in the empty House during NI questions?

    The political decision making process has moved to the Legislative Assembly and hey, guess what, it’s actually starting to work. In its infancy yes, but beginning to work none the less. In 5 years it will be more relevant just as Westminister becomes less.

    In private the semi-detached abstentionists must all surely accept this. Unfortunately they are held hostage to out of date allegiances and empty election rhetoric.

    The devollution of powers concerning all other aspects of our daily lives is concentrated on the island, so rejoice in that. This is all good change. This is all positive change, and no echoing, windy chambers.

  • Mr Crumlin

    Snowstorm – I’m your average SF voter. Started out voting Hume in the Euros then switched to SF after the ceasefires but ALWAYS gave SDLP 2nd preference in PR elections.

    I did that at the last Assembly election and council elections but I can honestly say I will never do it again as long as Ritchie is your leader. I am a republican with a small R or a nationalist with a big N – SDLP can go the ‘post nationalist/hate SF more than anything route’ but I for one will have no part in it and I don’t believe I’m alone in that view.

  • johnno

    Diluted Orange,

    Having Robbo rushing over to London every week hasn’t prevented the economic collapse of East Belfast has it?

  • glencoppagagh

    M. Meslier
    “a bloc approach (the main parties in the 6 Co.’s) going to Londinium as a joint delegation to negotiate for a fiscal plan to best suit us.”
    And what fiscal plan would that be? Possibly this one: if you don’t give us all the money we want, we’ll just have to go back to what we do best. It might work. Nothing else will.

  • PaddyReilly

    I have no connection to the SDLP, the leadership of which would be a lot more co-operative if it took any advice from me. But in certain important areas they gain votes which SF could not.

  • Jean Meslier


    I am stating a plan (unlike the one unhatched in Fermanagh Orange halls as discussed elsewhere) about co-operation and inclusion based on mutual benefit for all the inhabitants of this shared space.
    Unity is strength whether it is based on supporting a fiscal plan or any other. If you believe it is better to stand patiently in a line waiting to see if Cameron or Brown will entertain you as an afterthought in their numbers game, then thats fine by me. It’s nice to feel wanted.

    However I’ll finish with an observation from yesterdays Sky news. Commentator was asking Paddy (I wonder where he got that quaint nickname?) Ashdown why the Libs hadn’t already beaten a path to Cameron’s door. Paddy replied that it was up to the Tories to come to the Libs door or the alternative was the “orangemen”.
    What a nice insight into the British political mind using the “orangemen” as a threat or dare I say boogeyman

  • glencoppagagh

    ‘about co-operation and inclusion based on mutual benefit for all the inhabitants of this shared space’

    Is this your fiscal plan?

  • Pete Whitcroft

    When SF take over SDLP fade.
    Pick winner in the head count.
    Such is the North Or N. ireland.

  • johnno

    Gotta laugh at the Belfast Telegraph. The rag describes Margaret Ritchie’s 8000 majority as a ‘landslide’…but the tagline for Sinn Fein’s West Tyrone romp with a near 11,000 majority is ‘Pat Doherty holds West Tyrone.’ Aye, It was close one there, ed, wasn’t it?! lol. The Shinner Just scraped in and no more, eh editor?

    The same loss of perspective seems to have affected the runner up to Pat, the DUP’s Thomas Buchanan. Accrding to loser Tom – who trailed Pat Doherty by 10,850 votes, ‘the DUP are biting on the heels of SF in West Tyrone’! Inddeed, Tom, the Shinners are rattled!

  • johnno
  • Lionel Hutz


    I don’t recall DUP shouting that they were gonna win West Tyrone. Sinn Fein boasted about Foyle, South Down and north Belfast. In the end, you were lucky to retain your 5 and got slapped about in South Down. Ruane’s scowl was almost as good to see as Foster’s

  • johnno


    According to the Tele, Tom Buchanan described his loss by 10850 votes as ‘biting on the heels’ of SF. Ridiculous, don’t you think? That was my point. Why don’t you address that?

    As for Ruane, she polled 12000 votes in the SDLP safest seat – that despite the months of bile spewed at her from all directions. 12000 votes hardly qualifies for being ‘slapped about’.

    Try to contain your sad jealousy and address the original post, eh?

  • johnno

    Seems Lionel suffers from the same definitional issues as the Tele etc.

    The vote in South Down saw a swing TOWARDS Sinn Fein. A tiny one, yes, but a swing to the Shinners. This was in the SDLP’s safest seat, the party leader’s seat.

    Here’s a wee link to help you, Lionel:

    So, Lionel, you’d agree with with the Tele that Ritchie winning by only 8000 was a ‘landslide’ whereas Pat Doherty;s near 11,000 majority was justing ‘holding’ the seat? Well?

    Oh dear, what a jealous clutz you are, Mr Hutz.

  • Lionel Hutz

    Why would I try to justify the posturing of the DUP. He’s clearly talking nonsense. West Tyrone is Sinn Fein safest seat bar West Belfast, so safe that even an invisible man can win it for them. He may be likable but he’s not exactly an important member of the Sinn Fein. The only story in that constituency was that turnout slumped. That Doherty managed to off-set that and then some by taking a sizeable amount of Deeny’s vote serves to Demonstrate their dominance in the seat. However that is hardly a breaking story.

  • John East Belfast

    Jean Meslier

    Not attending Westminster illustrates contempt for parliamentary debating chambers anywhere in the world. If SF want to make a point about Westminster then they should abstain from Westminster elections and so can their voters.

    In Westminster there are important debates and free votes on issues like abortion, euthanasia and whether the UK goes to war.

    It is a priviledge to attend any democratic chamber and many would die and others already have for that priviledge.

    Are you saying that it is ok for minority TDs to not attend the Dail because they are numerically irrelevant ? Would 26 county voters accept that ?

    It also shows contempt for the constituency electorate that didnt vote SF who want someone at the Parliament – that will make the majority of laws that govern their lives – and want their small voice heard.

    As for SF not wanting any “truck with legitimising British rule in Ireland- dont make me laugh – have you read the Belfast Agreement ?

    SF abstentionism from Westminster is a political stunt about winning elections that shows contempt for parliamentary democracy and disenfranchies the rest of the constituency’s non SF voters.

    If SF had any integrity they would abstain the election itself.

  • Lionel Hutz

    Both parties increased but you are missing the big picture here. I agree that the battle between SDLP and Sinn Fein is masked by tactical voting. However, this only masks the SDLPs vote. Sinn Fein’s vote remains unaffected.

    2007 is SF’s highwater mark so far. This election has confirmed a 1% slip since then. In 2007, Ruane topped the poll ahead of Ritchie. Since then we have seen both increase their profile and what has happened…..

    Sinn Fein in 2007- 30.7% share
    Sinn Fein in 2010- 28.7% share

    no tactical voting explains this. There has been a 2% drop in Sinn Feins vote. You also cannot use tactical voting from Unionists to explain Ritchies victory.

    2007 – Combined DUP/UUP- 27.3%
    2010 – Combined DUP/UUP/TUV – 19.4%
    2007 – SDLP – 31.4%
    2010 – SDLP – 48.5%

    8% to Ritchie in tactical voting does not explain a 17% rise.

    No jealousy here. 2007 Assembly election showed that 62.1% of the electorate in SD identified themselves as Nationalist. In 2007, SF had 30.7% of that and were on the cusp of overtaking SDLP.

    SDLP’s much loved candidate retires leaving a much criticized party leader. SF would have expected inroads as happened when Hume and Mallon retired. In fact they lost 2%.

    SF have been well and truly knocked back

  • johnno

    More definitional fumblings, Lionel?

    Since when does becoming the most popular party in the North constitute being ‘knocked back?

    Excuse me whilst I nearly choke from laughing?

  • johnno

    Back to my original post, Lionel.

    If, as the Tele described it, Mumbling Mangling Margaret’s vote was a ‘landslide’ (a majority of 8k), then what was Pat Doherty’s majority of 11k?


    Or do you just want to keep avoiding that issue?

  • Lionel Hutz

    When you lost 1% of your vote, that’s not progress. Becoming largest because of split unionism is also not progress. They are still not really the largest party. Give the DUP Arlenes share of Connors vote and Maskey his share of McDonnells vote and the DUP are back on top.

  • Lionel Hutz

    Well it’s not a land slide as there was no shifting of ground. I would describe it as consolidation

  • Lionel Hutz

    Back to the OP.

    SDLP still have a chance to stop the rot in West Tyrone with a seat in Assembly elections. That’s a platform to build on. Newry/Armagh remains an outside prospect for an extra seat. SDLP must pick up a couple of seats from Sinn Fein to avoid the latter pushing away. A target of 20 seats next year is very much achievable and ambitious. SDLP need to get a second Minister.

  • johnno


    You bleated in desperation, “SDLP still have a chance to stop the rot in West Tyrone with a seat in Assembly elections.”

    Sorry, but HAHAHAHAHAHAHA…

    The SDLP won’t darken one door in WT and FST when it comes to the Assembly elections. Who’s gonna be their candidate, McKinney????!!!!! They are totally and utterly finished there. I hope Brid Rodgers felt as sick as a dog when Pat’s vote came in and Michelle was returned.

    You’re living in utter denial now, mate. lol.

  • Diluted Orange

    Jean Meslier says:

    “Dear deluded Diluted Orange.

    Here we go again with the usual over inflated view of the influence of “our wee MP’s” in the mother of all parliaments.”

    The DUP/SDLP are in a decent position to become a minor part of a coalition governement. Where are SF? When the cuts come I sincerely hope that F+ST, West Belfast, Newry & Armagh, Mid Ulster and West Tyrone are chosen to bear a huge amount of the burden. Harsh I know – but that’s democracy for you.

    “Here’s the wake up for you. The key to my point are the words Irish Republican. This is a principle which guides SF elected reps. It means they want no truck with legitimising British rule in Ireland.”

    OK. You think that voting for an abstentionsit MP is going to get you your United Ireland? Is that really the only thing you care about – what flag flies over Belfast City Hall? How sad.

    Well the reality is that a United Ireland is only ever going to decided by a tribal head-count, irrespective of Sinn Fein going to Westminster or not. GA etc accepted as much by signing the GFA. In NI’s corrosive society 99% of people’s political viewpoints on UI are formed in the cradle and there isn’t anything SF or the DUP, or anyone else can do about it.

    We can debate all day long here about the demographics and whether this event will ever take place. But lets, for the sake of argument, say that “your day does come”. In the meantime why don’t SF try making the best of your lot by attending Westminster? Or is that the plan – continue to disenfranchise your electorate so that great big collective chip on their shoulders is never removed – maintaining the angst needed for SF’s continued popularity?

    Well it’s no longer the boot of the Briitsh oppressor on NI nationalists necks – it’s Gerry Adams who is holding them back.

    If SF don’t want to legitimise Bristich rule in Ireland then I fail to see the difference in principle of standing for election to a British institution, and therefore formally accepting the UK’s jurisdiction over NI, and actually taking up your seat?

    “Look get real and instead of being so caught up in blind hatred to GA, why not just once open your ears and listen to what he has to say, for example, re: a bloc approach (the main parties in the 6 Co.’s) going to Londinium as a joint delegation to negotiate for a fiscal plan to best suit us.”

    Blind hatred? So if I don’t agree with the guy I suddenly hate him? Why would the other parties need to join SF on this jolly to London? If you hadn’t noticed they already go there – to work for their constituents and fight for them in the only place that matters, the House of Commons.

  • johnno

    Polluted Orange,

    Get over it. You lost.

    You another one who thought this site was ‘the word’?

    Oh dear.

  • Lionel Hutz

    Poor little johnno, if only you could learn from history. It was only when the SDLP stood aside in FST that they lost ground. There is still enough of a base to keep their also.

    Also if you look at the result in West Tyrone, you will see that SDLP have enough support for one seat, particularly as their support is more likely to come out.

    It’s Sinn Fein that will suffer pain from this election. The gambled on South Belfast when they didn’t need to. Maskey may well lose his seat.

  • Diluted Orange


    What did I lose exactly? Nice play on words there too, polluted for diluted, quite the wit: is that just an analogy you use for all the ‘orange’ you encounter? And to think Gerry is trying to trying to unite us green and orange.

  • johnno

    Neutered Orange,

    Adams’ sensitive words regarding Robinson on election night contrasted greatly with Arlene Fosters triumphalist gloating on the BBC – when she thought the Orange Order’s choice had won in FST.

    Your thoughts?

  • Diluted Orange

    Let me put this to you. Where does my moniker suggest my political allegiances lie? “Orange” as in I am a ‘de-facto’ unionist – based nothing more than what tribe I happened to be born into. “Diluted” because in relaity I don’t care too much for the deluded policies of either of the Unionist parties.

    Given this – what do you think my thoughts are on the DUP?

    Adams would do well to go soft on Peter Robinson as he is the only reason that SF and the DUP ever got into bed together in the first place. Don’t get me wrong, I think Robinson is a crook, but he is also a pragmatist and apart from Arlene, ironically, they are very thin on the ground in the DUP.

    I would be very worried for the future of the assembly if Robinson falls.

    As for Arlene – well the whole F+ST debacle is pathetic. It and South Belfast were examples of NI politics at its base level. Both are examples of SF, UP and DUP trying to gerrymander a result for their tribe. How Adams has the cheek to turn around and talk about “uniting green and orange” after SB is beyond me.

  • Michaelhenry

    green and orange and the white dissenter.