The bare facts over vote redistribution
Comments last week by Mike Nesbitt about how he personally intended to give lower preferences on his East Belfast ballot paper provoked diverse comments from other unionists and nationalists.
What were the facts about UUP and SDLP transfers in May 2016? Both parties had a good record of retaining transfers within the party while their candidates were still in the running. SDLP retained 80% within the party and UUP retained 70%.
When the final UUP or SDLP candidates were elected or eliminated, a terminal vote situation, the redistribution revealed the preferred parties of their voters.
In seven instances where vote values from terminal UUP candidates were redistributed and SDLP candidates were available in six, some 24.3% went to DUP, 14% to SDLP, 1.1% to Sinn Fein, 2.3% to Alliance and 51.5% were non-transferable.
There were seven instances of SDLP terminal transfers. UUP was available in six, but 30.6% went to Alliance, 15% to Sinn Fein, 10% to the Greens, 5.4% to UUP, 2.5% to DUP and 29.5% were non-transferable.
Translated into numbers, UUP transferred 2,173 vote values to SDLP, and SDLP transferred 729 vote values to UUP. These numbers represented 37% and 12.3% respectively of the average Northern Ireland quota.
To fulfil the exaggerated inter and intra-party comments, a revolution in voting behaviour would have to occur.
Newtownards, Co Down