It seemed to take a very long time to get the first results through for the European election yesterday at the King’s Hall. Having originally arranged to help out with the BBC’s coverage from 2.15 to 4.15 pm, I was still there at 6.30 when the first preference votes were announced, and hung around for another hour or so until the second count came through. I did check with Brussels friends who thought that Estonia might be the only other place in the EU still counting; but Estonian sources reassured me the their results were through (ex-Prime Minister Ansip pulling his party just about into first place to win a hard-fought extra seat, if you are interested).
Anyway, the first preferences in Northern Ireland were (with % change from 2009):
Martina Anderson (SF) 159,813 (25.5%, -0.5%) elected
Diane Dodds (DUP) 131,163 (20.9%, +2.7%)
Jim Nicholson (UUP) 83,438 (13.3%, -3.8%) – worst UUP euro result
Alex Attwood (SDLP) 81,594 (13.0%, -3.2%) – worst ever SDLP result
JIm Allister (TUV) 75,806 (12.1%, -1.6%)
Anna Lo (Alliance) 44,432 (7.1%, +1.6%) – best ever euro result
Henry Reilly (UKIP) 24,584 (3.9%)
Ross Brown (Green) 10,598 (1.7% -1.6%)
Tina McKenzie (NI21) 10,553 (1.7%)
Mark Brotherston (Conservative) 4,144 (0.7%)
(NB Nicholson supported by Conservatives in 2009.)
Total poll 636,093 (51%, up from 43% last time); total vald poll 626,125.
As I was poring over the figures, Peter Weir pointed out to me that this is the first time ever that a majority of votes cast in a Northern Ireland-wide election have been cast for women (Anderson + Dodds + Lo + McKenzie = 55.2%).
NB also Unionist total (inc UKIP and Con but not NI21) 50.2% (+1.9%); Nationalist total 38.5% (-3.7%).
Anderson’s 3,000-ish surplus could not have pulled Brotherston ahead of McKenzie, so the 4,144 Conservative votes transferred as follows:
Dodds (DUP) + 668 (16.1%) = 131,631
Nicholson (UUP) + 980 (23.6%) = 84,418
Attwood (SDLP) + 196 (4.7%) = 81,790
Allister (TUV) + 376 (9.1%) = 76,182
Lo (Alliance) + 546 (13.2%) = 44,978
Reilly (UKIP) + 330 (8.0%) = 24,914
Brown (Green) + 325 (7.8%) = 10,923
McKenzie (NI21) +270 (6.5%) = 10,823
453 (10.9%) non-transferable.
Most unfortunately, the total of Anderson’s surplus and McKenzie and Brown’s votes was slightly more than Reilly’s total at this stage, so all 159,183 SF votes now had to be examined for their next valid preference (ie anyone except Brotherston) and reallocated at a value of .03. This brought the remaining candidates to the following totals (percentages are the share of Anderson’s total first preference vote which went to each candidate, not the share of the transferred surplus):
Dodds (DUP) + 14.52 (0.3%) = 131,845.52
Nicholson (UUP) +8.31 (0.2%) = 84,426.31
Attwood (SDLP) + 2056.26 (42.9%) = 83,846.26
Allister (TUV) + 13.53 (0.3%) = 76,195.53
Lo (Alliance) + 314.70 (6.6%) = 45,292.70
Reilly (UKIP) + 31.08 (0.6%) = 24,945.08
Brown (Green) + 115.53 (2.4%) = 11,038.53
McKenzie (NI21) + 39.00 (0.8%) = 10,862.00
The non-transferable figure is 688.07, but in fact 73,382 (45.9%) of Anderson’s papers did not have a further preference (or only for Brotherston).
Brown and McKenzie’s joint total still being less than Reilly’s, both are eliminated and the Green and NI21 votes transferred as follows:
Dodds (DUP) + 1,619.98 (7.4%) = 133,465.5
Attwood (SDLP) + 3,182.57 (14.5%) = 87,028.83
Nicholson (UUP) + 2,246.23 (10.3%) = 86,672.54
Allister (TUV) + 870.05 (4.0%) = 77,065.58
Lo (Alliance) + 8,661.10 (39.5%) = 53,953.80
Reilly (UKIP + 1,072.28 (4.9%) = 26,017.36
4,248.32 (19.4%) non-transferable.
And there we leave it overnight, with Attwood having nosed ahead of Nicholson on that last round of transfers. It’s fairly clear what will happen this morning: Reilly’s transfers will generally go to Unionist parties (he told me he thought they would be fairly evenly divided) which will pull Nicholson ahead of Attwood again; Lo’s transfers may well favour Attwood over Nicholson; and Allister will then be eliminated, electing Dodds and Nicholson on the final count.
I shall be on and off planes all day, though, so you’ll have to analyse it without me.
Husband, father of three, Irish, European, UK, Belgian citizen, liberal, political analyst, science fiction fan, psephologist, lapsed medievalist, aspiring polyglot.