Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland election predictions for every constituency - there could be high-profile casualties

With one week to go, politics lecturer Brian Wilson takes a look at how each constituency could look after polling day.

By Jonny Bell

The politics lecturer and former Northern Ireland MLA Brian Wilson has set out his predictions for next week's crucial Northern Ireland Assembly election.

The ex-Green Party Leader and long-standing councillor has decided to run the gauntlet of predicting how each constituency could unfold.

He predicted - as has been widely expected - that the DUP will lose the most seats in the reduced 90-seat Assembly. But still come out top.

Mr Wilson, a politics lecturer at the former Belfast Institute for Further and Higher Education, now Belfast Met, expected the party to lose no more than 10.

In his predictions Sinn Fein are set to lose six, the SDLP two and the Ulster Unionists two. Alliance should hold on to their eight.

"Each constituency could end up differently to how I have set out," said Mr Wilson who also taught many of Northern Ireland's top political journalists.

"I obviously don't have the local knowledge of all 18 constituencies and all it takes are a few hundred votes and it could be all change."

By looking at the last year's results Mr Wilson has calculated how the preferences will go and who will make the quota.

Ex-Alliance leader David Ford could be one possible high profile causality in South Antrim while North Belfast candidate Nuala McAllister could squeeze it in North Belfast.

"And the TUV could get two in North Antrim," He adds.

"Jim Allister had a quota of 1.4 the last time out and if there is a reaction to recent scandals the party could pick up a few extra unionist transfers.

"And it will be interesting to see how people react to Mike Nesbitt saying he will transfer to the SDLP."

And in the Strangford constituency - were Jonathan Bell goes toe-to-toe with his own party, Brian adds: "They have put Peter Weir in who is probably one of their most able, if not their most able politicians.

"But they already have two ministers standing - Simon Hamilton and Michelle McIlveen - who have good local support. Plus there is Jonathan Bell. So it will be the one to watch."

He added: "This election is going to be very interesting.

"There are DUP voters who will only vote DUP that are disillusioned - and I've met some - who will not vote for anyone. And last year the nationalist/republican vote was down 4%. So if they come out we could have an interesting result.

"I don't expect turnout to change much.

"But it is a nonsense to say we would have anything other than the DUP coming out as the biggest party - but the interesting thing will be by what margin.

"I've stuck my neck out, but the reaction so far has been interesting."

Brian Wilson Assembly Elections-Constituency predictions

These predictions are based on applying the 2016 Assembly election votes to the new five seat constituencies. They do not take into account the candidates, issues or the campaign. These predictions will be adjusted to take these into account along with the final polling evidence from Lucid Talk.

It is difficult for a party with 3MLAs at present to retain 3 seats. This is equivalent to 3 Quotas (50% of vote including transfers) and this would require great vote discipline and favorable transfers. Both DUP and SF are not transfer friendly although some seats will be won without quota .Few of the twelve 3 seat constituencies held by DUP and SF will be retained

East Belfast

2 DUP 2 ALL 1 UU

Alliance have two safe seats.  It is difficult to see how DUP can retain three seats with only 2.2 quotas. UUP with 0.7 quota are more transfer friendly

1 DUP loss

South Belfast

1DUP 1SDLP 1ALL 1SF 1 GREEN

DUP, SDLP, Alliance and SF all have one safe seat. The final seat is likely to be contested between the Greens and the second DUP candidate with an outside chance for second SDLP, Alliance or perhaps UUP candidate dependent on sequence of eliminations

1 DUP loss

West Belfast

4 SF 1PBP

SF (3.4 quotas) will retain Three seats with PBP (1.4 quotas) taking the fourth.  The final seat will probably also go to SF with SDLP (0.4 quota) likely to lose seat unless transfers from Unionists (0.7 quotas) or PBP.

PBP will be looking for second seat.

1 SDLP loss

North Belfast

2DUP 2SF 1 SDLP

SF(1.6) SDLP (.6) This is a very fragmented constituency and may be determined by the order of eliminations but it is difficult to see how 3 Nat/Rep seats can be retained with 2.2 quotas.( SF(1.6) SDLP (.6).Possible SF or SDLP loss. On the other hand it is difficult to see how DUP can retain 3 with 2.1quotas   Alliance or possibly PBP could be dark horses.

1DUP loss

East Antrim

2DUP 2UU 1All

Again DUP will have difficulty retaining 3 seats with 2.2 quotas. UU and Alliance have 1 safe seat .SF with .5 of a quota and no obvious hope of significant transfers will almost certainly lose their seat. There are a large number of floating unionist votes which may not go to DUP and there is the potential for a UU or UKIP pick up.

1DUP loss 1SF loss

East Londonderry

2DUP 1SF 1SDLP 1INDU

Again DUP are defending 3 seats with 2.2 quotas and therefore have 2 safe seats but will struggle to retain the third. Independent unionist Claire Sugden has .6 of a quota and may retain seat if not it would probably return to UU. There are almost 2 nationalist quotas. SF have a safe seat and the SDLP may have difficulty retaining theirs particularly in light of the internal party dispute.

1 DUP loss

Fermanagh/S.Tyrone

2DUP 2SF 1SDLP

This will depend on the relative turnout turn-out within the two communities. Always a knife edge seat .In 2015 Westminster election the UU regained the seat from SF with a majority of 530.Unionists tend to be more disciplined in transfers

1 SDLP loss

Foyle

1DUP 2 SDLP 1SF 1PB

Safe DUP seat with SDLP (1.8) SF (1.7) If PBP retain seat as likely either SDLP or SF will lose one of their 2 seats. SF more likely, loss of McGuinness, SDLP stronghold and SF less receptive to transfers

1 SF loss

Lagan Valley

2DUP 2UU 1ALL

If ALL retain seat as expected four unionist seats will be shared between DUP and UU. With 0.7 of quota no nationalist seat likely but SDLP have outside chance of surprise otherwise their vote will help ALL get elected

1 DUP loss

Mid Ulster

1DUP 2SF 1UU 1SDLP

Unionists would appear to have 2 safe seats leaving 3 to be shared between SDLP and SF. It would be difficult for SF to distribute their votes (2.8 quotas) between 3 candidates particularly when popular SDLP MLA has 0.9 of a quota.

1 SF loss

Newry and Armagh

1DUP 2SF 1UU 1 SDLP

Possible SF loss Again if unionists retain two seats and SDLP have more than a quota SF cannot retain three seats on (2.5quotas)

1SF loss

North Antrim

2DUP 1SF 1TUV 1UU

SF should retain seat with 1.2 nationalist quotas .TUV have at least one safe seat UU should retain their seat leaving only 2 for the DUP

1 DUP loss

North Down

2DUP 1UU 1All 1 Green

By only standing 2 candidates DUP have conceded loss of one seat the other 4 MLA’s should remain the same.

1 DUP loss

South Antrim

2DUP 1UU 1SF 1All

With 1.4 nationalist quotas SF should retain its seat. If ALL can remain ahead of SDLP Ford will hold his seat. This leaves 3 unionist seats probably 2 DUP 1 UU.

1 DUP loss

South Down

1DUP 2SDLP 1SF 1UU

Unionists will have great difficulty in retaining 2 seats but solid transfers could achieve this. Although in 2016 SF and SDLP polled virtually same SDLP has always been marginally ahead and has local MP. In addition they are more likely to receive transfers (Esp. from Alliance). However an overall increase in nationalist turnout would result in 2 SDLP 2 SF.  The departure of Ruane would suggest SF are not confident of retaining 2 seats. ALL have an outside chance of taking the fifth seat.

1 SF loss

Strangford

2DUP 2UU 1ALL

Four unionists seats with ALL taking the 5th as long as they remain ahead of SDLP .Two certain DUP seats and one UU. Final seat between 3rd DUP 2nd UU and perhaps Independent Jonathan Bell

1 UU loss

Upper Bann

2DUP 1UU 2 SF

With only three unionist quotas it will be difficult to retain 4 Unionist seats. With 2.1 nationalist quotas SF (1.5) SDLP (.6) SF should retain both seats. But SF not confident of retaining second seat (Seeley Withdrawal) SDLP could attract transfers and create upset

1UU loss

West Tyrone

1DUP 2SF 1UU 1SDLP

Unionists have just over 2 quotas and should retain both seats. Nationalists have 3.2 quotas SF (2.5) SDLP (.7). Possible SF loss as the SDLP have a solid first preference vote and should retain seat.

1 SF Loss

For details of non unionist quotas go to Brian's website.

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