There’s other more fascinating material still coming out of the BelTel poll. Liam has some very interesting material on gender balance amongst the support for parties. Despite having the nearest to a balanced ticket and impressively promoted women to near the top, women are less likely to vote for Sinn Fein:
Sinn Fein, eight of whose 29 MLAs are female, has a particular imbalance between male and female voters — 32% of those who intend to vote are men but only 23% of women.
Interestingly, both the SDLP and Alliance attract the support of 14% of women while Alliance has 8% of men and the SDLP 11% of men.
In the case of Alliance, it has to be said that three of out four of their most high profile public representatives in Belfast are women. And the East Belfast MP Naomi Long is certainly as much a part of the party’s general appeal as the leader David Ford.
In the last Assembly election for the first time perhaps their capacity to dip into the middle class nationalist vote when Conall McDevitt was made to whilst his nationalist transfers went first to Anna Lo and then back to him to bring him over the line.
The interesting question is why nationalist women are giving the pro women SF a proportionately wider berth and disproportionately favouring the SDLP (no cynics please!!)?
Although the truth is that nearly half of all women are turned off by politics full stop… Although as Liam also notes, “this is broadly in line with last year’s Assembly election when 44.4% of people didn’t vote”.
Any project looking at re-energising Northern Irish politics might do well to consider what kind of politics they would need to espouse in order to switch women voters back on.
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