How much of a DUP/SF swing *would* it take for Martin McGuinness to be First Minister?

In her speech to the DUP party conference today, First Minister Arlene Foster called attention to the narrowness of the margin between her party and Sinn Féin:

A swing of only two votes in every hundred from the DUP to Féin would see Martin McGuinness become the next First Minister.

In the last Assembly election in 2011, the DUP won 38 seats with 30.0% of first preferences, and Sinn Féin won 29 seats with 26.9%. At a first glance, that 3.1% margin between the two parties’ vote shares is even closer than the First Minister claimed; a uniform swing of a mere 1.6% would be enough to make SF the largest party by votes, and as we all know the largest party by seats gets to choose the First Minister.

But there’s an important difference between seats and votes.

Looking at the 2011 results for each constituency, and applying a (highly improbable) uniform shift of votes from the DUP to Sinn Fein while keeping the votes for other parties at the 2011 levels, it seems that the real figure required to give SF more seats than the DUP is more like 5% than 2%; the DUP could actually trail SF by more than 6% in first preferences overall, and still win more seats. This is partly because the DUP’s stronger constituencies have smaller electorates, and partly because in the last election the DUP tended to get elected with votes to spare while a number of successful SF candidates had tighter squeaks to get in.

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Phil Flanangan re-selected in re-run convention, Michelle Gildernew not so much…

David noted the result of the re-run Sinn Féin selection convention for Fermanagh/South Tyrone. But, interestingly, given the allegation of unaccounted-for additional votes for Michelle Gildernew in the first selection convention [see comment zone] which promoted her above Phil Flanagan at the time, that re-run has seen notorious tweeter Phil Flanagan re-selected by the party, along with fellow sitting MLA Sean Lynch, and Councillor Sean Feeley. Neither the renewed candidate Bronwyn McGahan, MLA, nor former MLA, former MP, and current member of the Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle, …

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Second Chance at Re-Selection for Sinn Féin’s Phil Flanagan – Updated

Sinn Féin’s other notorious tweeter, Phil Flanagan, MLA, may be facing a sizeable bill for libelling the UUP’s Tom Elliot, but the party’s central office has given him a second chance at continuing his political career. He was deselected by his party constituency organisation on 13 December last year, but earlier this month the party’s Ard Chomhairle decided to re-run the selection process in Fermanagh/South Tyrone.  On 22 January, The Impartial Reporter noted Mr. Flanagan refused to comment when contacted by this newspaper, …

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