We’ve got hold of a table which looks at those battleground constituencies in which the UUP and the Alliance Party may be battling for seats in the next election. Bear in mind that the error margin increases exponentially for constituency level analysis…
For that reason, I’d advise ignoring any small numbers. Big numbers would be indicative of some indication of movement.
If this were a more robust sample we might note that in many places where there’s Alliance advance does not account for all of the drop in the UUP’s support. In Strangford which seems more stable than North Down or East Belfast there is still some advance in Alliance sentiment.
I think we can probably say North Down is currently slipping from the grasp of the Ulster Unionists (this is where the DUP have deployed their most comprehensive UUP lookalike team).. You’d back Alliance to take a second seat here, even if the Greens successfully defend theirs (harmony in the Wilson household)!
With or without a boundary change, East Belfast must also be on the party’s critical list after they all but abandoned the Protestant middle class vote in the last election. If there is any surplus will be critical to Alliance in holding ground.
I wouldn’t venture a guess with any of the others, except to note the only positive figure shows in Strangford, the party leader’s base which showed exceptional control to bring home two last time.
No second seat in Lagan Valley, on these figures, for Alliance. In fact they seem to building up capital in very local citadels of power.. One of the few places that the UUP have run a consistent and committed candidate has been West Belfast is also the only place they’ve outdoing (by a tiny amount) Alliance.
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