The 3rd Euro Seat: Can Attwood dare to dream?

With the European ballots on ice until Monday, we have turnout and local election results to pore over in the next 48 hours to provide some direction on speculation regarding the destination of the third European seat (let’s just agree that Sinn Fein’s Martina Anderson and the DUP’s Diane Dodds are in the clear at this stage.)

I think Alex Attwood has run a decent campaign, but I don’t believe the perfect storm conditions existed in this electoral outing to help him claim the third seat ahead of Jim Nicholson, but we can still be promised some excitement if Attwood can claim a substantial percentage of Lo’s transfers.

Given the pro-Irish unity stance articulated by the Alliance candidate, Anna Lo’s vote will be an interesting test of the resilience of a core party vote widely believed to be solidly liberal unionist in outlook.

And then there’s Jim.

Can Allister hold the substantial bulk of the almost 14% of voters who backed him in 2009?

We’ll know soon enough, but any speculation from unofficial turnout stats and the verification process is welcome below 😉


  • That should be pore over unless you are talking about pissing on them.

  • keano10

    Attwood would need to poll a significant core vote, before any transfers would have an impact. There are reports of poor polling in South Belfast etc, which would’nt seem to augur well for the SDLP generally.

  • Charles_Gould

    If you want SDLP politics and SDLP Labour values, you have to vote for it, first preference.

  • socaire

    You’re starting to catch on now, a Chathail.

  • Mick Fealty

    South Belfast: Stranmillis 50%. Malone extremely high, I’m hearing. Over 70%.

  • megatron

    For the first time I transferred to the SDLP. I normally just go SF with no transfers but gave Attwood (and Councillors) a transfer this time.

    The plural of anecdote is data and all that. Do sort of hope he makes it.

  • socaire

    That should help the SDLP. That’s where they all live.

  • FuturePhysicist

    Attwood would need to poll a significant core vote, before any transfers would have an impact. There are reports of poor polling in South Belfast etc, which wouldn’t seem to augur well for the SDLP generally.

    The DUP will be hurt by poor poll in South Belfast too. Diane Dodds is not safe, she won’t get a first count election and all the other smaller unionists will prioritize Nicholson before her.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I also transferred to the SDLP high enough for it to count, for the first time in many years. It’s time for the unionists to get a rude awakening and two nationalists in the European Parliament might be the only way to explain it to them.

  • Politico68

    As I have said before on this site, I would love to see Attwood take that third seat, I would be a little surprised if he got it this time round tbh. Denographics point to two Nationalists Euro seats, no earlier than 2019. For the SDLP to get the third seat the total number of first preference votes of the combined Alliance/Green need to be twice the amount of the difference seperating the two blocks,

    Say the Unionist Block got 1000 votes and the Nationalist got 800, the combined Alliance Green vote would have to be in the region of 450 to push Alex over the line.

  • Charles_Gould

    If people want a SDLP victory, it should be because they believe in SDLP values.

  • Politico68

    Charles, i want to see the SDLP do well because they are my second favourite party and yes; I like many other Shinners do believe in SDLP values too.

  • I dont want to get my hopes up.
    But one thing I did notice today was a desire on the part of SDLPs main rivals (Alliance and SF) to actually want SDLP to do well.
    And individuals from Labour NI appear to be involved.

    From my perspective the third seat would be a bonus. But Id be happy to come third on first preference votes in both Euros and Locals and have clear water between SDLP andUUP .

  • for Attwood to take 3 it would be necessary to take votes from SF.

  • Okay if it’s confessional time I have to say I gave Attwood my number two on the same reasoning as Comrade Stalin – also for the first time in 20 years. The transfer went to Alliance in the locals though.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Charles – golden rule in electoral politics – “never turn away a voter”. If you’re talking people out of voting for your party you’re doing it wrong.

    I don’t have to endorse SDLP values. All I need to do is record that I prefer Attwood to most of the other candidates, and that is a fact. While I don’t care for some aspects of his personality, politics should really be about competence at the job and Attwood put in a good performance as a minister. He’d do at least as good a job in Europe as either Diane or Martina do.

    It is helpful that the SDLP and SF are not circulating leaflets in their neighbourhoods calling for people to “punish” Alliance in the context of Alliance elected representatives and premises still having to remain under police protection.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    What about Jim Allister – polling better than Nicholson?

  • SDLP supporter

    I can confirm percentages for two of the four Malone boxes: box 20, 52,8%; box 21 at 9 pm was 42.9%. The 70% figure that Mick gave is, I suggest, pie in the sky.

    One thing which may work in Alex’s favour is that in South Belfast the transfer rate from Alliance to SDLP is, from memory, 35%-40%. Given the disgraceful harassment of Alliance by DUP/UUP in East Belfast, I can’t see too many Alliance 1s transferring to those parties.

  • FuturePhysicist

    So you’re saying the Flag Protests could cost the UUP or DUP a seat?

    I recall under Ireland’s Presidency a 20ft UK Banner on the Liffey, perhaps under the UK’s Presidency we can point to the irony of Irish flags in London.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    So can one expect an Alliance MP in West Belfast?

  • aquifer

    Yes The Unionist vote is significantly split with McAllister in the ring and Nicholson looking droopy. Dodds and Anderson are hard to love.

    Atwood would make a great MEP and it would be good for the SDLP not to have him beholden to traditional rural nationalists.

    John Simpson the economist saw instability depressing house values and threatening an exodus of talent.

    Have Lo the fleggers and NI21 got some more voters out?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Attwood is hard to love too, but I’m not voting for the DUP and the Shinners were already going to walk it anyway – Martina will top the poll with room to spare.

    As I said the planets would need to be aligned for Attwood to win. A drop-off in the unionist vote, combined with the right amount of split votes siphoned off to TUV and UKIP, and Attwood could pull through.

    But it seems rather unlikely. Even if Attwood pulls ahead of Dodds, the TUV’s transfers should see her through.

  • Mc Slaggart

    “Martina will top the poll with room to spare”

    I think their is a good chance that sf vote will drop a bit at this election. (in the west)

    A lot of people are angry at the lack of action on the issue of Law/PSNI/flags/marching.

  • Mc Slaggart


    “Atwood would make a great MEP and it would be good for the SDLP not to have him beholden to traditional rural nationalists.”

    WTF are “traditional rural nationalists” sar.

  • Politico68

    I would imagine the SF vote will drop somewhat especially after the the recent Adams circus as it was intended. i just hope those voters did not stay at home and came out to vote for SDLP/ALLIANCE/GREENS or NI Twenty gone. Last time out SF got 25%, SDLP 15%. Catholics make up 43% of the electorate so I would expect the combined vote to be 40+. An increased Unionist turnout will put downward pressure on that percentage possibly.

  • Jagdip

    Is it not a bit too literal interpretation of the “We Ourselves” not to recommend a No 2 vote for the SDLP.

    If the Partitionists can find it in their hearts to ask for No 2,3,4 to go to other Partitionist candidates, then why can’t SF do similar and ask their supporters to give support to the SDLP (and Alliance)?

  • Politico68

    Jagdip, my understanding is that Shinners do transfer to SDLP.

  • Jagdip


    This is the last statement from SF before voting started in NI

    There’s not a word about transfers. It really is “We Ourselves (and no others)”.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Can anybody clarify if Allister is still in the race for third place?

  • Roy Walsh

    A chairde,
    I think we’re loosing sight of the fact that three six county seats are a very small drops in a large, murky, european pool.
    Regardless of how the local vote pans out in this part of Ireland, the SF project will be one of highlighting how well they are likely to do nationally with the probability of taking at least two seats in the 26 counties returning 3 Irish TDE, (although Anderson is at odds with SF policy on EU).
    What I was hearing outside polling stations last night was a serious need for SDLP to reconnect before they could be voted for, some long term supporters saying they voted SF.

  • Politico68

    Jagdip, honestly as a Shinner, my understanding has always been that we just transfer to SDLP as habit. But both the SDLP and SF are traditionally less likely to openly call for transfers publicly.

  • Jagdip

    Politico68, so, if you’re one of the 30,000 Poles living in NI (about 20,000 adults eligible to vote), you would know that SDLP comes No 2 on your voting card?

    Not saying all Poles would necessarily vote for nationalists but consider the figures

    Racist Incidents Racist crimes

    North Belfast 20 18
    West Belfast 4 3
    East Belfast 14 15
    South Belfast 32 18

    Total 70 54

  • Politico68

    Good point Jagdip, I am well up for a transfer agreement with the SDLP, esp as Maskey steps aside in S Bel to make sure SDLP take the seat, I think it would be good for Nationalism if the two parties could enter into a pact

  • JR

    I think a pact would be a bad thing. I don’t like the idea of pna Nationalist/ Unionist pacts. That said however any individual nationalist voter with any sense at all would realise the value of the transfer to another nationalist party.

    It is always important, especially in council elections to vote right down the card. Up to your 9th transfer can count.

  • There is a difference between Party Members and Party Supporters.
    My first vote was for Gerry Fitt (Republican Labour) in 1970 and since then I have only ever voted SDLP or Sinn Fein..
    I was a member of SDLP from 1973 to 1982 and voted for them right thru to 1993.
    I voted SF from 1993 to 2009.
    I have voted SDLP since and been a member since 2011.

    I fully understand that when I was out of politics, raising a young family, SF entered politics and relations on the canvass trail between SF and SDLP have soured for 30 years. Unlike many of my SDLP colleagues (and presumably SF folks) I can tell no tales of what happened in 1996 or 2005….nor do I have grudges to hold.

    Certainly SF (as a Party) would like to see SDLP marginalised.
    So would Alliance.
    SDLP doesnt do the “pure drop” nationalism that SF can do.
    Nor can it do “pure drop” letsgetalongerism as Alliance does.
    So I can certainly understand that SF or Alliance Members might have difficulty (for strategic reasons) directly transferring to SDLP.
    Likewise I can certainly understand that SDLP Members might have difficulty (for strategic reasons) transferring directly to one or both Alliance and SF.
    The actual SF, SDLP, Alliance voters generally dont have that problem.
    Let me be clear…I dont regard SF or Alliance as enemies of SDLP.
    But I do regard them as rivals.

    Certainly yesterday I had no difficulty (in Europe) voting the “progressive” card. And Anna Lo deserves respect for the abuse she takes.

    To be frank…in this election, Alex Attwood cant take a seat without transfers or even loaned votes.
    To that extent Im grateful for any SF or Alliance voter who transferred to Alex. More so…because in the case of one of those Parties, its normally something I would find difficult.
    So fair play to them.
    I am sure that fellow members of SDLP might feel the same about one or both parties.
    So I tip my hat to those who see a bigger picture better than I do.

    But I think it is a very bad idea for ANY Party …such as SF or Alliance in this case…to actively call for a second preference to go to another party (in this case SDLP).
    Election pacts are bad.
    Alliance lost ground in West Belfast thru opting out to support Joe Hendron. The best of intentions but suicidal.
    Likewise SDLP SHOULD have fought Bobby Sands.
    And successive unionist pacts has allowed the DUP monster to become what it is today.
    But above all…..advising a second preference….is divisive.
    I never had or have any problem giving a second preference to SF. Some including some party colleagues might doubt my morality in so doing but I have no problem.
    They have their story of up to forty odd years and so do I.
    Likewise some of my colleagues might well transfer directly to Alliance as next best option.
    I have no problem with that.
    The destination of the second or tenth preference vote is absolutely the worst reason for internal Party rows.

    In the clear and obvious circumstance, where SDLP strategists on Attwoods campaign are factoring in transfers….from SF, Alliance, Green ….then it is absolutely stupid for any SDLP member to make public statements about voting intentions and who he/she would not vote for at any price.
    There is a time to talk.
    And a time to keep your mouth shut.

  • Jagdip

    I’m not talking about formal pacts, just for SF and SDLP to make it clear to their supporters that the nationalist vote is maximised by voting nationalist down the line. Of course, that is common sense for some, maybe even many, but there’s a reason the Partitionists explicitly tell their voters to vote Partitionist down the line (yes, in TUV’s case, it’s to deflect criticism of splitting but what about DUP/UUP).

    As Catholics become the better educated (and more likely to vote) and majority in NI, transfers between SF and SDLP will be critical. Arguably, Alex Atwood can win this time out, but in 2019, the SDLP should be a certainty to take the 2nd seat.

  • Roy Walsh

    Hi FJH,
    ‘Likewise SDLP SHOULD have fought Bobby Sands’
    Seriously? Does your party ever consider why 40 somethings from west of the Bann do not give you significant support?

  • Im not quite sure what you are saying Mr Walsh.
    I lived in Dungannon at the time.
    I was an inactive member of SDLP. (Dungannon was “different” to West Belfast) where I lived until 1979).
    I spoiled my vote in 1981.
    How history would have panned out if SDLP had stood in that election….I dont dont.
    I do know that successively SDLP had stood aside for Unity candidates and in my humble view that has inhibited SDLP in the area.
    Its certainly valid of you to (I think) say that SDLP has damaged itself by not standing aside for (say) Gildernew. In my view a Party should always stand.
    I do know that Derry and East Derry are west of the Bann and there is no serious anti SDLP feeling there.
    Mid Ulster? can you make a case there? Perhaps.
    West Tyrone? SDLP actually gained a MLA in 2011.
    Their earlier problems seem self inflicted and again partly involved support for a Unity candidate Deeny.

  • Roy Walsh

    FJH, I’m not interested in an argument simply stating the feeling on the ground.
    Yes, Derry is west of the Bann and SDLP do return an MP to the British parliament there, an old John Hume seat and frankly, like all of Inisowen is ‘different’ in that I would suggest SDLP candidates there are separate in their efforts and commitment from the south Belfast brigade which typifies that party.
    West Tyrone of course was a gain from Dr. Deeny whose vote was based on the ‘populist’ issue of hospital closure. Once it was irreversible his seat maintenance was not going to succeed.
    Michelle Gildernew held her seat in the British parliament election by four votes despite SDLP’s insertion of a high profile, media savvy, candidate (now transferred to south Belfast to back the party’s failing leader from the Finaghy mob who have long despised him. However in the poll for an Dail áitiuil in FST SDLP, even with one long standing incumbent were annihilated, Newry Armagh similarly, once the SDLP’s other seat with Folye.
    Mid-Ulster again, one SDLP seat and down 40% support in 13 years while SF support is up here.
    I doubt SDLP will take the third seat this time because, as I said above, people are disillusioned with current SDLP policy, or lack of, on core issues.
    Take care.

  • My prediction is that Nicholson will take the last seat, but Attwood won’t be very far behind, and they’ll both be significantly short of a quota due to exhausted votes. Anderson will repeat her easy first place, and Diane will be second rather than third.

    Despite Nicholson’s considerable experience, I think that UUP has lost sufficient transfers from moderates for him to be need to be worried about that third seat – very worried.

  • mark7694

    fitzjameshorse1745, Yes, they may have gained an MLA seat in West Tyrone on the face of it, but it’s misleading.

    In that constituency at the 1998 Assembly election, they got roughly 11,500 first preferences. Kieran Deeny’s arrival took votes from them, leaving them amongst their 2003 candidates with just under 6,000 first preferences.

    In 2007, they put forward 3 candidates, and collectively got 5,000, which would’ve got them last MLA seat, and then we come to 2011 where Bryne scrapped in at the end, with 3,353 first preferences as the individual SDLP candidate.

    West Tyrone is a consistency that speaks of an SDLP in terminal decline.

  • Roy Walsh

    (now transferred to south Belfast to back the party’s failing leader from the Finaghy mob who have long despised him.

    🙂 sorry for not closing the brackets!

  • West Tyrone.
    Three SDLP candidates getting more than a quota and not securing a seat speaks of internal divisions rather than terminal decline. Being divided over Deeny is agaim symptomatic of same.

    The current test of opinion will of course concentrate minds for a few weeks. With at least one eye on 2016.
    Can SDLP hold three in Derry.
    Is West Tyrone safe or better?
    Is there a quota in Fermanagh-South Tyrone or a fourth nationalist seat.
    East Derry and Mid Ulster look comfortable.
    Is one MLA vulnerable in South Belfast or even the MP?
    Is Upper Bann under pressure?
    Is another seat possible in Newry-Armagh and/or South Down?
    Or strangford?

    I am not looking for an argument or even a discussion as I ask rhetorically because there needs to be a conversational debriefing which is considered and based on 2014 evidence.
    What I wont do is consider the “terminal decline” cliche…or even lazier “managing decline”.

  • Roy Walsh

    Agreed FJH, though I would opine that for the Westminster poll, in Belfast south, next time out, SF will not withdraw and there will be an agreed unionist candidate so it’s ‘goodbye’ to Dr Who! (Best Party Political Broadcast I’d ever seen).
    Derry, doubtful again Newry Armagh, doubt SDLP can improve results there and probably reduce, same in neighboring South Down, sorry , my opinion but based on listening not speculation.
    BTW, ‘My prediction is that Nicholson will take the last seat, but Attwood won’t be very far behind, and they’ll both be significantly short of a quota due to exhausted votes’
    Andy, if you’re right, can you let me know the winning numbers for wednesdays lotto please, then I can get the eff out of this place.

  • As I said its far too early to be drawn into that kind of conversation.

  • Were there any hints when they opened the Euro boxes to check for council ballots posted in the wrong box?

  • The early turnout figures indicate the Nationalist turnout advantage over Unionists, while still present, continues to unwind, probably just enough to cover the continued demographic shift. Don’t see Attwood doing this, although I’m sorry he won’t as he’d be more competent than the incumbents as well as being part of one of the mainstream European Parliamentary groups.

  • Well one ballot paper is white and the other is yellow.

  • Chris – given that the Euro ballots were being verified upside down today, absolutely no attempt to tally the Euros in Lisburn & Castlereagh. Unlike last Euro election when politicians crouched on the floor to get a tally to use a predictor for the General Election …

  • Comrade Stalin


    Agreed FJH, though I would opine that for the Westminster poll, in Belfast south, next time out, SF will not withdraw and there will be an agreed unionist candidate

    SF are not likely to take any action which would hand a seat to the unionists. Apart from anything else they know that this puts pressure on the SDLP. Dislike Doctor Who as they might, they like Jimmy Spratt even less.

  • Roy Walsh

    ‘ Dislike Doctor Who as they might, they like Jimmy Spratt even less.’
    Genuinely hate to differ on this but!!
    We’ll see this morning!

  • Barry the Blender

    I’d have thought that if anyone was going to challenge big Al in SB it would be the alliance.

  • Roy Walsh

    Not so sure about that Barry,
    the combined Unionist vote at the last outing, though obviously split in favour of McDonnell, was 19000 v. his 14,000.
    The threat will come from SF standing a candidate, like Balmoral Councillor Mártin Ó Millionaire, a popular mayor.
    Lo’s vote potential will show tomorrow and, while she might, in a PR election take additional Nationalist 2’s or 3’s following her, alleged, support for reunification, in an FPTP election these transfers do not exist so will be of no benefit to the Alliance vote.
    Equally, any gain in Nationalist support might then be lost from previous Unionist voters, but it will all unravel shortly and we’ll be in a better position to analyse next year’s possibilities.
    Finally, I’d suspect ‘big Al’s greatest threat might now come from within his own ranks following a poor showing in his heartland.

  • neutralist

    I’m with Comrade Stalin on this one. I think it’s highly unlikely that SF will want to antagonise SDLP waverers in North Belfast.

  • PaddyReilly

    The quota is 158,982 votes – any individual candidate who gets this many votes will be elected straightaway.
    Turnout was 635,927 or 51.84% of possible voters. This was higher than the last European elections in 2009, when 488,891 people – 42.8% of the electorate – went to the polls.

    Well that’s interesting. I would say this fact nudges the result a little more in Attwood’s favour. Of course we don’t know if the no-longer-missing 9% were predominantly Nationalist or Unionist.

    Of course, the win-lose opposition is not really important. If Attwood loses, the crucial outcome is by how many.

  • PaddyReilly

    This compares with a UK average turnout of 34.19%. Clearly, the Euros are seen as an interesting election in NI, mainly for their substitute United Ireland referendum aspect.

  • Early indications are that Attwood is further away from success than his predecessor 5 years ago.

    I recall a discussion before the last election about demography – the fact the voter register was moving towards parity between Protestants and Catholics. It was also said that this parity would happen around 2018.

    Some will say that voter apathy is greater on the Nationalist side. We would need more evidence to tell us what is going on. However, I believe there is a small but increasingly significant group of people from the Catholic community voting for unionist parties that are bucking that demographic trend.

  • Valenciano

    Again, is there any reason why it takes Northern Ireland much longer to produce a first count result than South-East England, which is 6 times as big?

  • Tochais Síoraí

    I don’t think so, Seymour. They’re just not turning out to vote. Maybe some don’t like the nationalist options (SF history? SDLP jadedness?). Don’t forget too that Unionists tend to be older and thus more likely to vote. And of course on top of hat there isn’t the same willingness to transfer that Unionists have.

  • hugodecat

    Surely the predictable outcome is hitting the nationalist vote, if you see the Sinn Fein poll topping and SDLP 4th place as inevitable there isn’t much encouragement to come out.. If the third place vote is as close as some suggest, it may well inject life into future nationalist votes . One observation from today’s count though, the UKIP vote is not exclusively unionist – I saw plenty of nationalist transfers in Henry Reilly’s pile, his vote appears to be a protest that goes everywhere

  • Valenciano

    Tallies according to the radio…

    SF 159K
    DUP 130K
    UUP 83K
    SDLP 81K
    TUV 75K
    ALL 44K
    UKIP 24K
    GP 10K
    NI21 10K
    CON 2K

    If that’s accurate, it’s as you were, with Allister running Nicholson closer than last time, but the latter staying ahead on transfers.

  • Maybe Tochais but I am not convinced.

    Maybe the Nationalists need to campaign a bit harder at the garden centres

  • Valenciano

    First count

    votes %
    SF 159813 25.5 -0.5
    DUP 131163 20.9 2.7
    UUP 83438 13.3 -3.8
    SDLP 81594 13.0 -3.2
    TUV 75806 12.1 -1.6
    APNI 44432 7.1 1.6
    UKIP 24584 3.9 3.9
    NITO 10553 1.7 1.7
    GP 10,598 1.7 -1.6
    CON 4144 0.7 0.7

  • PaddyReilly

    So, assuming Valenciano’s figures are correct: SF gets the 1st seat.

    The core Unionist vote, DUP + TUV + UUP is now 46.3%

    Add to that Conservative and we get 47%

    So to be certain of a seat apiece, DUP and UUP need to obtain 3% of the remaining 14.4% from APNI, UKIP, NI21, and Greens.

    Apparently UKIP voters are also transferring to the SDLP.

    However, not all TUV voters transfer to DUP or UUP.

  • Valenciano

    Paddy, unfortunately we’re unlikely to see exactly how UKIP transfer, as they’re likely to be eliminated with Alliance, but based on the locals, UKIP are more Unionist than anything. We’re likely to be here a while and there’s the potential of the number of counts exceeding the six count record from 1979.

    Count 2: Conservative eliminated
    Count 3: Sinn Fein’s surplus. Only 3,281 votes to transfer, but they’ll need to go through all 159,000 ballot papers to count. That will take us to midnight at least.
    Count 4: Green/NI21 both eliminated
    Count 5: Alliance/UKIP both eliminated
    Count 6: Allister out. Dodds a good chance of making quota at that stage. Probably the end, but could be a further count to distribute her surplus depending on how close Attwood and Nicholson are by then.

  • jeep55


    Alliance may well pick up the greater number of Green and NI21 transfers at Count 4 and Allister only a few. If so UKIP + Alliance vote may well exceed Allister resulting in UKIP and Alliance having to be eliminated separately and taking the number of counts to 7.

    The highest ever Alliance vote tally in a Euro election at point of elimination was Oliver Napier in 1979 with 51,264. I think Anna Lo may surpass this before elimination.

    I am predicting Dodds well over the quota by the final count by count 7 with Nicholson just about on the quota and Attwood maybe 35,000 to 40,000 votes behind. Dodd’s surplus will be less than Attwood’s deficit and game over.

  • mjh


    On balance UKIP and Alliance may well be eliminated separately – although it will be close.

    Of course at 7.1% first preferences Anna Lo has already exceeded the previous Alliance Euro high of 6.8% for Napier in ’79.

    Not sure Atwood will get as close as 40,000. Reckon it will be more like 50,000. A very disappointing result for the SDLP.

  • jeep55

    I would disagree about Jim Nicholson. Even with TUV transfers, he will be elected without reaching the quota – and he won’t be much ahead of Attwood before TUV are eliminated. There will be a lot of exhausted votes.

    Mind you, I agree that UKIP will end up being eliminated on their own. It’s still conceivable, if unlikely, that SF could transfer 1600+ votes to Alliance to eliminate UKIP, the Greens and NI21 in one go!

  • jeep55

    Andy B

    He’ll also get transfers from elimination of UKIP and Anna Lo. I expect him to be on 115,000+ when Allister is eliminated. Last time out he got the lion’s share of Allister’s vote which by that stage might be edging up to 85,000.

  • jeep55

    Andy B

    I should add that I think he’ll be neck to neck with Attwood before Allister is eliminated. Attwod will get more Alliance transfers than Nicholson. I am very happy about that – SDLP tranfers were very pro-Alliance in some areas in the council elections and helped us take seats in Belfast and Newry, Mourne and Down.

  • Backbencher

    A few comments on SF voter patterns in Euro 2014

    -1 in 5 did not transfer to anyone
    -3 in 5 transferred to the only other nationalist

    The remaining 20% divided 15% middle ground and 5% unionist. That equates to over 3000 SF voters giving their second preference to Unionists.

  • Looking through Twitter, and thanks to LucidTalk, this is the state of play after NI21 and Greens were eliminated:

    Allister 76195.53 + 870.05 = 77065.05
    Attwood 83846.26 + 3182.07 = 87028.33
    Dodds 131845.52 + 1619.98 = 133465.50
    Lo 45292.70 + 8661.10 = 53953.80
    Nicholson 84426.31 + 2246.22 = 86672.53
    Reilly 24945.08 + 1072.28 = 26017.36
    Anderson remaining on 156532
    Total non-exhausted votes 620734.57
    Exhausted votes 5390.43

    Lo being just over 23k below Attwood, Reilly is first to be eliminated in the morning. It remains to be seen how much Allister will benefit from Reilly, but my call is that Allister will be behind Attwood after Lo is eliminated.

  • Roy Walsh

    Well Lo is gone

  • Might as well update this now, although we’re still waiting for Lo’s votes to be redistributed (taking ages… ok, there are 55k of them, but even so!)

    Allister 84437.66
    Attwood 88146.88
    Dodds 139791.16
    Lo 55346.65
    Nicholson 92301.35

    Total non-exhausted votes 616555.70
    Exhausted votes 9569.30

    My prediction is more exhausted votes. I could still be right about Nicholson only scraping home by enough to not need Dodds’s surplus to be distributed to decide it.

  • Latest after Anna’s votes redistributed:

    Allister +1582.70 = 86020.36
    Attwood +24675.98 = 112822.84
    Dodds +3218.37 = 143009.53
    Nicholson +6959.22 = 99260.57
    Exhausted votes = 28479.70

    That means 18910.4, or 34% of Anna’s votes were exhausted. That’s a lot of people who wouldn’t vote SDLP/DUP/UUP.

  • jeep55

    Andy B

    This is what I predicted – though more startling than I anticipated. Alliance transferred 2:1 in favour of SDLP. Flegs may have hurt UUP to Alliance transfers but bogus leaflets (supported by the UUP at City Hall) have hurt transfers from Alliance to UUP. Nicholson will still be elected but he is now unlikely to reach the quota. I think many of the non-transfers will have been ‘small u’ Alliance/middle ground supporters. They might have transferred between Alliance, Greens, NI21 and Cons but those candidates are now gone.

  • PaddyReilly

    The poor showing in the SDLP’s first preference vote was therefore due to a lot of its voters giving their first pref to Anna Lo, perhaps in view of her expressed sympathy for a United Ireland.

    But after her elimination, they reverted to type. Nevertheless Alliance does have a hardcore of purely centrist voters, who will not transfer to nationalist or Unionist parties.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Alliance is more Nationalist that Unionist now.

  • Joe, Alliance members are still by a vast majority either pro-union or agnostic about the union. Anna only proved that support for a united Ireland is not an obstacle to standing for the party which doesn’t need a policy about the union – the union is the present reality, and it isn’t going anywhere, so let’s get on with things that matter, like jobs to help people put food on the table.

    Dodds has been elected – it will be necessary to distribute her surplus from among the votes transferred from Jim Allister (including those he received from Anna Lo) as her surplus (around 22k) is more than Jim Nicholson’s lead over Alex Alttwood (around 16k). Entirely academic, of course.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    AndyB, I don’t think Alliance can really be trusted to look after Unionists needs, the flag debacle proved that.

  • Joe, flags don’t put food on the table. That is a Unionist’s true need, because they can and should be secure in the Union.

    In any case, as has been pointed out any number of times, Alliance were keeping election manifesto promises, which incidentally apply to all councils – Alliance policy as far as I am aware is to fly the Union flag on designated days at all council headquarters, whether unionist controlled or nationalist controlled.

    Voting for the status quo in Belfast would have been just another political party making promises and breaking them.

    Anyway, current situation:

    Attwood +2158.80 = 114981.64
    Dodds +36293.00 = 179302.53, 40770.53 to transfer
    Nicholson +36733.17 = 135993.74

    Depending on exhausted ballots, Nicholson may reach a quota after all.

  • Roy Walsh

    Joe, like any political party, the purpose is contained in the party constitution, like UUP and DUP the Alliance party constitution states they support the union with Britain so long as the population here support this status quo, so they are not more nationalist that unionist, they might be seeking nationalist votes but that does not change the wording of their position on being pro/anti UK.
    Why an allegedly cross community party need, or needed, this within their governing document is inexplicable.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Roy, if a vote for a UI was to take place in the morning, how would Alliance encourage its members to vote?

  • PaddyReilly


    Mistake here, surely?

    —“Anyway, current situation:
    Attwood +2158.80 = 114981.64
    Dodds +36293.00 = 179302.53, 40770.53 to transfer
    Nicholson +36733.17 = 135993.74”—

    Don’t you mean 20770.53 to transfer?

  • Quite right, Paddy, thanks.

    Joe, I expect that the Alliance leadership would say “You all know whether you support staying in the UK or not. Vote accordingly.”

    Alliance members would still vote overwhelmingly in favour of the status quo. Probably more than the general population.

  • PaddyReilly

    No. He cannot dream. Jim Nicholson elected.

  • It was 22770.53 to transfer rather. Don’t know what I was doing there.

    Transfers went 22218.28 to Jim and 292 to Alex, and another 260.25 exhausted. It got Jim over the line to a full quota, to my surprise.

  • Roy Walsh

    Joe, I think Andy answered the question better than I could, I’d be the wrong person to ask as I could not be a member of the Alliance party.
    Equally, as Paddy points out, it’s all over now.

  • Comrade Stalin


    Some one of these days you’re going to find that there’s life beyond flags. I’m not sure how long it will take for you to discover this, but when you do, I hope it isn’t the hard way.

  • Comrade Stalin


    Roy, if a vote for a UI was to take place in the morning, how would Alliance encourage its members to vote?

    Honest to Christ I’m going to have to put a FAQ together.

    Alliance would take no position and would not encourage anyone to vote for any particular constitutional position.

  • Roy Walsh

    Comrade, you bring me back to my point above, and this whole debate might better be moved to it’s own thread but, why then do they have to have a party constitution in favour of maintenance of the constitutional tie to Great Britain if they’re a ‘cross-community party’?
    It is like People before profit favouring the bank guarantee.

  • Comrade Stalin

    That’s quite easy to answer. There’s nothing in the Alliance Party constitution which “favours the maintenance of the constitutional tie to Great Britain”.

    This is largely because the constitution is a procedural, not a policy document.

  • Roy Walsh

    Comrade, as above, I think this is a debate best suited for it’s own thread however, for a political party, it’s constitution is more like a limited company’s memorandum and articles of association, that is, it sets out what the party is about, it’s purpose etc. and, with respect to “favours the maintenance of the constitutional tie to Great Britain” I was simply paraphrasing as I do not retain this document which I have not checked since 2007, I doubt it has changed since then, I doubt it will either.
    Let’s wait ’til the election ‘furor’ has died and commence debate upon this matter then.