£38,000 on their 14 seats, despite also losing two from the previous election, in which the party spent more than £200,000 – the biggest campaign spend in the 2007 poll, where each seat cost almost £13,000.
I hate to say it, but it showed. Although many of the problems the party faced are to do with organisation, rather than money. But it also prompts the question is why was there such a drastic cut?
Sinn Fein, £51,851
UUP, £96,000 (£21k more than 2007)
Green Party, £5,800
I’d be slightly more generous towards the UUP. They spent a lot, and probably did not get all the bang they needed for their hard earned buck. But they were standing in something of a hole this time out (their Council results actually show important signs of residual health). In the event, 16 is not as bad as many predicted, nor as bad as it could have been.
It’s worth too noting that the UKIP spent a whopping £18,176 on Henry Reilly, their popular local candidate in South Down who did well in his home patch of Kilkeel but was left flat when it came to transfers from other parts of the constituency.
Updated with some graphs
Chart of NI party spend per seat won in May 2011 Assembly elections:
Chart showing spend apportioned to the number of seats each party won and not won (as well as the absolute number of seats won and not won):
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty