#EP2014 results so far

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).

First Count

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%).

Second Count

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.

Third Count

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).

Fourth Count

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.

  • abucs

    A bit of a dampener for the UUP (post) weekend, but still a better overall position for them than previously with respect to influence in NI and the signs of a possible resurgence.

    The SDLP on the other hand……..

    Facing challenges on multiple fronts, the DUP will not be too upset with the results either.

  • Mick Fealty

    Magnificent result for Sinn Fein. Let me qualify that. There was no investment in the candidate and a generic national campaign. It was the machine that pushed Martina Anderson across the line on a reduced percentage of the vote. Without a rising tide in Unionism they might have hit 27 or 28%.

    DUP, pretty solid. They did work on the candidate, by getting her out to every hole in the hedge in Ulster, and on developing funding access information for farmers. And in a very tight race this plus the machine they squeezed out a 2% increase.

    Jim Allister. What can I say? He probably now owns that second seat, so any nationalist aspirations for taking two are probably gone for quite some time. His TUV party will also provide considerable interest in the next assembly elections.

    The UUP it seems are the beneficiaries of much of the disquiet expressed by the TUV. Handy enough, since Mike Nesbitt is free to express more liberal sentiments whilst Allister and his new party get down and dirty in the boiler room. On this form they may have to concede that second seat to him.

    SDLP. Alex Attwood turned out to be a good candidate. If the job had been available purely by interview I’m pretty sure he would have won. But the PEB was an amateurish disaster with no attempt to pitch a message than I am the best man for the job. Repeat and rinse, until extinct.

    Alliance got the vote out but they don’t register on the European scale. This should worry the party. People need political content not just sympathy enough to give you transfers. See comment below.

    TUV Henry Reilly must be pleased. In European terms UKIP will struggle here. British unionism is the defining characteristic of all his political rivals. Half that total looks like it came out of Belfast. But the only place that matters to Henry is South Down.

    The greens big effort went into council, and Ross Brown achieved what he needed. I doubt there was any serious campaigning anywhere other than the core areas where they won seats. Their percentage dropped quite seriously in the rising unionist tide.

    The Tory party’s misadventure in Northern Ireland is over. For now at least no one is interested.

  • tbwatchmaker

    Just wondering how those percentages for SF transfers were calculated?

    Transferable votes are 159,813 – 156,532 = 3281.

    This would make the SDLP transfer of 2056.26 votes around 63%.

    Non-transferrable of 688.07 would be around 20%.

  • Jagdip

    Surely the headline of this election is the 30% increase in voters from 488k to 636k. Non-nationalists appear to have been galvanised into using their vote; fair enough, that’s democracy. Nationalists should have won another 20 local election seats out of 460, there could still be a surprise in the Euro elections, but looks like one nationalist; could have been two.

    Can the effort (highly successfully) deployed by SF to build the Southern flank, now be redirected to restoring the trend and trajectory in the North? Of course it can.

  • Mick Fealty

    Actually what I just said about alliance is mostly b*lls…

    The Alliance campaign actually worked. In the locals they took seats off SF and are giving moderate Catholics a decent route out of culture war politics… Gerry Lynch has some interesting stats on transfers from SF number ones which I hope he will share if he gets the time…

    Lastly a big thanks to Nicholas for helping to keep us all (especially me) sane through all of this…

  • Charles_Gould

    SF have now lost vote share at all three levels:

    *two successive Euro elections
    *local elections
    *the last two by elections to Westminster

  • Politico68

    Mick, I am sorry, i don’t mean to be offensive in any way to you but could you please do something about your spelling, punctuation and grammar? For me at least, it is getting more and more difficult to read your posts especially with so many jargon phrases. Regards etc.

  • Politico68

    Charles, that is a very accurate assessment of the current state of Sinn Fein. A party clearly in decline, if it was not for the strength of the SDLP i really don’t know what nationalists would do.

  • Comrade Stalin


    A bit of a dampener for the UUP (post) weekend, but still a better overall position for them than previously with respect to influence in NI and the signs of a possible resurgence.

    Well, that’s one way to spin the worst European election result in UUP history.

    Nesbitt will at least be able to say he held the seat and gained some councillors. It will make the unionist pact negotiations that are coming up over the next year or so a lot more interesting than they would otherwise be.


    The Tory party’s misadventure in Northern Ireland was over in 1995 when they scored the worst result in a by-election in their entire history. Apparently, God still loves a trier.

    It is possible, but unlikely, that your predictions that the seat belongs to Allister will come true. Henry Reilly’s 25,000 odd votes are more likely to help Allister than anyone else; but the 40,000 votes being transferred from Lo are more likely to help Nicholson. The count will go right to the end with nobody else elected with a quota and Attwood coming last.

    The interesting conclusion to me is that the UUP and TUV vote is down compared with before. The DUP have consolidated and enhanced their position, not bad at all.

    NI21’s showing is interestingly very broadly consistent with their response in the elections.

    Alliance on 6-7% is never going to be relevant in an election where the quota is 33%. But it is a good accomplishment for the party where they have historically been holed well below this, especially considering the perceived missteps during the campaign and the ongoing background of intimidation against Alliance candidates.

  • As Politico68, I wasn’t quite with Mr Fealty. Was he composing on a smart-phone, by any chance?

    That gripe apart, you do not know the relief in coming back to the sane complexities of Mr White’s account. As Fintan O’Toole doesn’t quite say in this context (but should), politics is hard — but so is life. Elections, as rendered by the London press, are all about instant gratification with the concentration span of a mentally-deficient goldfish.

    In times like these, I wonder about the wisdom of #Indyref. The English are clearly not yet fit for self-government.

  • abucs

    Out of one culture war by starting another? Now that’s real b*lls…

  • jeep55


    Quota in the Euro elections is 25% but agree with your sentiments. A rather irrelevant statistic is this. When Oliver Napier exited the 1979 Euro contest he was on 51,264 votes. Until now that was Alliance’s best performance. Anna has already exceeded that figure and will probably exit on about 55,000.

  • Charles_Gould

    My assessment of the parties:

    SF- as I predicted their vote share fell, and its interesting that this is now their second successive vote share fall in Euro elections. Follows a drop in vote share at the locals and two by elections to Westminster.

    SDLP – vote share was up last time, but down this time. Alliance party took some of the SDLP vote by adopting a pro-UI candidate. So SDLP faced greater competition on both sides this time.

    UUP – vote share down, but they were facing more unionist competitors than last time – Conservatives, NI21, and UKIP, as well as TUV and DUP – so I don’t think it was a bad result.

    TUV – vote share fell on last time but the rise of UKIP is a factor not there last time. I predicted 10% and he exceeded that.

    UKIP – a good performance from them for their first outing and they can think in terms of an assembly seat for Reilly.

    Greens – I think they were down on last time so a tad disappointing.

    NI21- somewhat disappointing for them but the fall out in the party two days before hurt them. Not clear how a party with the three big figures not speaking can patch up.

    DUP- they recovered from last time so should be happy.

    Cons – now have competition from UKIP so their weak performance did not seem too surprising.

    Alliance – did well and confirms the sense of a party that has grown solidly over the last 10 years.

  • Interesting that if you are a young, well educated, urban, forward looking professional individual there is a home for your vote in Estonia but not in NI.

    Goodbye NI21, bring on the Reform party.

  • Lionel Hutz

    I’m struggling to see how this could have gone better for Artwork. He needed a perfect storm. If Nicholson got eliminated before Allister, is not a possibility?

  • Politico68

    Sinn Fein vote tally up by almost 34,000 votes since the last euro election, pretty impressive given the establishment onslaught against them over the last few weeks. 3,000 vote increase for SDLP, Very weak, its clear where the new nationalist votes are going. Huge increase in the Unionist turnout 88,000 ; puts an obvious downward pressure on the SF %.

  • Floreat Ultonia

    Thanks all esp NW for the updates

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Allisters actual vote is up, it maybe down % wise but it’s up in terms of real votes – so much for Slugger predicting 30,000k. He is now a contender for the third seat.

  • Lionel Hutz


    Sinn Fein are the establishment. In fact the cause of their outrage was that years of rumour and oral record forced the police to treat Gerry Adams as if he wasn’t in the protected class.

  • Politico68


    Thanks for the meaningless sweeping statement…i think ;-/

  • Lionel Hutz

    No more or less sweeping than yours surely. The point I’m making is that after ten years of being top dog and getting wined and dined by prime ministers presidents and even the queen, surely Sinn Fein have drop this ridiculous claim that they have to battle against some systemic bias.

    They’re patted on the back, praised and in the north, even the media love them

  • PaddyReilly

    A bit of a dampener for the UUP (post) weekend, but still a better overall position for them than previously with respect to influence in NI and the signs of a possible resurgence.
    Well, that’s one way to spin the worst European election result in UUP history.

    The notable thing about this election is that opinion polls before the election had predicted that the UUP had fallen in the popular estimation, below Alliance, which was surging. This is certainly not the case; and Comrade is crowing without seeing the final count. Moral: Opinion Polls are not to be trusted.

  • Politico68

    what sweeping statement?

  • Mick Fealty

    How does it affect your projections Paddy?

  • Lionel Hutz

    The establishment onslaught?

    Sweeping isn’t maybe the best description. I’d say it’s hyperbole but I think you were being serious

  • Mick Fealty


    I’ll fix it now. That was on the phone… apologies…

  • Joe_Hoggs

    What can Allister do with his increased mandate?

  • PaddyReilly

    How does it effect your projections, Paddy?

    The failed resurgence of Alliance? Not at all, because my projections are not based on Opinion Polls.

    The surprise return of 148,000 voters, whom at the moment we suspect to be predominantly Unionist, is a different matter, and may well send the so-far downward line on an unexpected upward excursion. But I won’t know until the final count.

  • Johnny Boy

    Is the Alliance FP result their best performance by number of votes, % of vote, or both?

  • Kensei

    Magnificent result for SF, but not good for Nationalism. I think this election demonstrates the utter folly of the repeated calls for Unionist Unity – diversity and choice is its biggest strength. Nationalism badly needs FF and possibly more to head North to shake things up.

    The SDLP is dying a slow death, and SF will never be able to deliver the kind of broad based support needed for unity – I just can’t see them morphing into an Irish SNP. Unless there is an intense competition for votes and the chance of a major flip (as there was in the late 90s-early 00s) or particularly competent government then you aren’t going to get the vote out. Easy too, to leak votes to the Alliance or out altogether. I missed the registration period this time and nearly didn’t bother to chase it up – there was little sense it’d have made much difference.

    The silver lining is that there are a lot of council results relatively easy to reverse, and that will motivate other parties next time round. The larger councils should also force both the SDLP and SF to cast their nets a bit wider through just the natural dynamics. It might also give a kick up the ass for people proclaiming that history only flows in one direction.

    But it might take a bit of a reverse at the next Assembly election to get that through. Though what with it being 2016 you think SF might pay a bit more attention.

  • Mick Fealty


    “its clear where the new nationalist votes are going…”

    What new nationalist votes? Are you just recycling old ones?

  • mjh

    Johnny Boy

    Both – in a Euro election.

  • PaddyReilly

    What is the quota? I have conflicting figures.

  • Johnny Boy

    Thanks for clarifying mjh

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Can anyone confirm rumours that due to UKIP transfers Nicholson is facing elimination?

  • Larne man

    With the right set of circumstances- SF’s Lord Mayor, a single Unionist candidate and a resurgent Alliance party all running- I would think the SDLP leader could be out of a job.The South Belfast Westminster will be a mouth watering contest.
    I understand many on here don’t think Sinn Fein would risk losing a nationalist seat but it’s quite clear to me they would get as much pleasure in seeing McDonnell put to the sword as anything else- many of their top brass are now openly saying the SDLP didn’t even get a transfer from them.

  • itsashocker

    What were the numbers on Reilly’s transfers?

  • Valenciano

    UKIP transfers broke

    TUV 28.3%
    DUP 24.3%
    UUP 21.6%
    ALL 5.7%
    SDLP 4.3%

    Fairly clear from that that UKIP draws its votes from the Unionist side of the electorate.

    Alliance transfers broke

    SDLP 44.6%
    UUP 12.6%
    DUP 5.8%
    TUV 2.9%

    While that overwhelmingly favours SDLP, in 2009, when Alliance and Greens were jointly eliminated the SDLP got the majority of transfers.

    Allister to go next. In the same situation in 2009, his transfers broke 47% UUP, 29% DUP, 4% SDLP. Barring a major shock, should be game over after next count.

  • Roy Walsh

    The slight rise in Alliance vote, c. 4000 is hardly exceptional, the whole population in this part of Ireland has risen since 1979, equally, the rise in non-nationals living here has risen too and they are less likely to become interested in the same old same old which is Irish politics so giving their vote to, allegedly, cross community parties.
    Equally, Anna Lo does engage, in a positive way, with her constituency in south Belfast so endearing her to nationals and non-nationals alike, unlike certain of her peers in this election.
    Personally though, the biggest story in Euro 2014 is the resignation of Eamon Gilmore, both sides of the SDLP must now feel abandoned.

  • JH

    Not that it’ll make a difference, but will Dodds continue to absorb transfers until she’s above quota despite being deemed elected?

  • tbwatchmaker – sorry to be slow getting back to you, but you raise a good question.

    When a surplus is transferred, only the votes with a later preference come into it. We can see that the votes that were transferred went at a rate of 0.03, so by dividing the numbers we are given by the ratio we can see how many physical votes were involved:

    Attwood (SDLP) 68,542
    Lo (Alliance) 10,490
    Brown (Green) 3,851
    McKenzie (NI21) 1,300
    Reilly (UKIP) 1,036
    Dodds (DUP) 484
    Allister (TUV) 451
    Nicholson (UUP) 277

    That accounts for 86,431 of the 159,813, which means that 73,382 were non-transferable.

    The 688.07 figure is an accounting fiction, and represents simply the difference between the surplus of 3,281 and 0.03 * 86,431.

    It would be better in general – and in this case in particular – to transfer values to three decimal places. In this case that would have been 0.037 for each transferred vote, and the “non-transferable” total would have been 83.053 rather than 688.07. It woudn’t change the ultimate result but I think it is neater.

  • A transfer of only 20% to all Unionist candidates combined from Alliance is actually shockingly low. And I think less do with Anna’s views on a United Ireland (think about it) and more to do with how the view of the UUP among ‘hardcore’ small u unionist Alliance voters might have changed since Mike Nesbitt drifted into sneaking regarderism about Alliance offices and homes being attacked at the end of 2012.

  • Joe_Hoggs


    You feel Mike is too right wing?

  • Joe – it’s not about being right-wing or left-wing, it’s about whether or not political violence is ever acceptable. Mike’s view when Alliance people were being put out of their offices and homes was “tut tut, but you have to understand the anger”.

    Any surprise when even quite unionist Alliance members thought “well stuff you and your party” when they were marking their ballot papers last week.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Alliance behaved poorly and turned on the community that put them into office. Restricting the flying of the union flag from 365 days to 26 was never a fair compromise and Alliance have refused to listen.

  • tbwatchmaker

    Thanks for the explanation Nicholas – it’s strange that the rounding could change the result if votes were closer.

  • Reader

    Gerry Lynch: A transfer of only 20% to all Unionist candidates combined from Alliance is actually shockingly low.
    But only 2/3 of Anna Lo’s votes transferred to anyone at all. The rest of the ballots either voted just Alliance, or only transferred to candidates who were eliminated before Alliance. Any of the Alliance ballots could have had several Unionist candidates on them ahead of the 4 transfers-to-dinosaurs that were still possible when Alliance was eliminated.
    There will be people at the counting centre who make it their business to know that sort of thing, but I don’t think it is part of the official results.

  • PaddyReilly

    Jim Nicholson elected

  • Comrade Stalin


    Alliance behaved poorly and turned on the community that put them into office.

    The election results show that pretty much everyone who voted for Alliance in 2009 and in the council elections in 2011 voted for them again in 2014.

    Restricting the flying of the union flag from 365 days to 26 was never a fair compromise and Alliance have refused to listen.

    It was fair enough of a compromise for the DUP and UUP to enact it in Lisburn and Craigavon. As a guy who listens, you’re aware of that, right ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Regarding transfers,

    I’m pretty sure the last time I transferred from Alliance to Greens, and then to the DUP. I also transferred to the DUP in the 2011 council and assembly elections. This was not because I am a unionist (I’m not) but because DUP candidates were helpful in a number of local issues; and because the DUP were taking risks to keep power sharing going, which in 2011 included taking the risk over devolving Justice, and I felt they deserved to be underpinned.

    In December 2012 both the UUP and the DUP pretty much permanently lost any prospect of me transferring to them ever again. Going by his choice of Belfast city council candidates, Jim Allister clearly doesn’t want my vote either, which leaves the SDLP as the only party who while they are not interested in ending tribal politics, at least tip their hat towards sustaining devolution and building progress.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The Ulster Unionist Party representative marched up with a crowd of hoods from the H&W Welder’s to picket the Alliance office in East Belfast, this in the context of several hoax bomb alerts, paint and petrol bomb attacks, and the attempted murder of two police officers by UVF elements.

  • David Crookes

    Thanks for that, CS (7.59 pm). Hilarious that the TUV leader describes any attempt to investigate Miss Bunting’s statements as an unfair fishing exercise. I reckon that those words will come back to haunt him over and over again.

  • Valenciano

    The result was closer than it looks. While Nicholson made the quota, Allister was only a bit over 13,000 votes behind him on the sixth count. If Reilly hadn’t stood it would have been closer yet. Overall, that’s the closest that a seat has come to changing hands in a European parliamentary election in NI.

  • Granni Trixie

    Roy Walsh

    FYI you have got your figures wrong – need to add a naught as Anna Lo attracted 44,000 first preference votes (not 4k which you refer to).,
    Last time round the Alliance candidate attracted around 26,000 first preferences, so there is an increase this time round (7.1 per cent).

  • Roy Walsh

    Granni, I was referring to her increase over what Napier polled in ’79 not her overall vote!

  • Comrade Stalin


    I was about to make the same point. 2% of the vote stands between Jim Allister and the third seat. If Nicholson stands down next time, Allister has it in the bag.

    Ironically, winning the seat could actually be bad for the TUV. Allister gets lots of coverage through the Assembly but people won’t pay much attention to him ranting in the European Parliament.

  • Politico68


    The combined nationalist vote increased by 33,000 since the last euro election. 30,000 went to SF, 3,000 went to SDLP. Is it not fair to conclude therefore that in all likelyhood, new Nationalist voters are choosing SF over the SDLP?

  • Floreat Ultonia

    @ Comrade (9.56 pm):

    Didn;t Jim A hint during the Paisley Interviews row recently that his own retirement wasn’t that far off? The next Euros may be 5 years too late for him, and it’s hard to see an older and wiser Jolene Bunting (or whoever) getting 12% of the vote.

    PS is JB any relation to Major Ronald and Ronnie Junior?

  • David Crookes

    Floreat, when JA does retire. what’ll happen to the TUV? Florebitne?

    Whatever the case, expect to hear ‘Jolene’ being played by Belfast flute bands in six-and-a-half weeks’ time.

  • Framer

    Protestants who vote Alliance seem to be deracinated unlike their Catholic counterparts.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I doubt Jim has much plan to disappear any time soon. He’s having way too much fun.