Friday, July 9, 2010

Political support

The CAIN website produces an interesting table of political support for the three blocks (nationalist, unionist and other).  I have reproduced this table in graph form.

The trend is clear. It is one of unionist decline and subsequent nationalist improvement. In 1986 the westminster by-elections were as a result of the resignation of all unionist MPs in December 1985 in protest to the Anglo Irish Agreement. As nationalists did not resign their seats there was no by-elections for these seats. Nationalists did stand in the marginal constituencies held by unionists, hence the 18.6% of the vote. There is also a drop in the unionist vote in the 1977 local government election and a less pronounced drop in the nationalist vote. These are offset by an equal but opposite increase in the 'other' vote so it is safe to assume that the other candidate took votes from unionists and to a lesser extent nationalists. Other than those two elections the unionist and nationalist lines are fairly smooth considering it will never be entirely smooth due to variances in turnout.

Im sure unionists will argue that the trend has leveled off at the turn of the century. However when one considers that nationalist turnout has decreased in every election since 2001, and by 2010 it had decreased 15.6% since the 2001 westminster election, yet the nationalist vote has held firm (abeit the unionist turnout also declined by 8.7%) it is obvious that the surge in nationalist numbers continues and will do until it overtakes unionism in the not too distant future.

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