Thursday, April 21, 2011

Assembly Election 2011

On Thursday 5 May the Northern Ireland electorate go to the polls. The last Assembly Election was in 2007 and produced 44 Nationalist seats, 55 Unionist seats and 9 Other seats made up as follows

  • Belfast East (N0 U5 O1)
  • Belfast North (N3 U3 O0)
  • Belfast South (N3 U2 O1)
  • Belfast West (N6 U0 O0)
  • Antrim East (N0 U5 O1)
  • Antrim North (N2 U4 O0)
  • Antrim South (N2 U3 O1)
  • Down North (N0 U4 O2)
  • Down South (N4 U2 O0)
  • Fermanagh and South Tyrone (N3 U3 O0)
  • Foyle (N5 U1 O0)
  • Lagan Valley (N1 U4 O1)
  • East Derry (N2 U4 O0)
  • Mid Ulster (N4 U2 O0)
  • Newry and Armagh (N4 U2 O0)
  • Strangford (N0 U5 O1)
  • West Tyrone (N3 U2 O1)
  • Upper Bann (N2 U4 O0)

As the Unionist lead over Natinalists from 2007 is only 11 seats, what are the opportunities for Nationalists to close this gap.

Of course in West Tyrone the independent MLA Kieran Deeney is not running. In such a strongly Nationalist constituency a Nationalis gain is inevitable here.

The SDLP lost out on a seat in East Antrim in 2007 by a mere 900 votes. Boundry changes in this constituency should equate to a net gain of approx 2,000 Nationalist voters. This coupled with demographic changes since the last election and a SF (Oliver McMullan) or SDLP (Justin McCamphill) gain over the UUP (Rodney McCune who replaces Ken Robinson)  is a strong possiblity.

Something similar could happen in Strangford where there are also significant boundry changes which should benefit the Nationalist vote. In fact the SDLP's Joe Boyle lost out by just 31 votes to Michelle McIlveen of the DUP. Expect a Nationalist gain at the expense of a Unionist here.

There are also outside chances of Nationalist gains and/or Unionist losses in South Down, Upper Bann and East Derry and Mid Ulster (SF will target the UUP seat from Sandra Overend who takes over from her father Billy Armstrong). Could the Alliance party take a second seat in East Belfast?

Of course boundry changes can also benefit Unionists. No more can this be seen than in Lagan Valley where thousands of Nationalist votes have been lost to West Belfast and to a lesser extent Sout Antrim. It is almost a certainty that Unionists will gain a seat here at the expence of  Sinn Feins Paul Butler. A significant number of Nationalist votes have also been lost in North Antrim and South Antrim due to boundry changes, which place Nationalist seats under threat. However the numbers are not hugely significant and may be largely offset by changing demographics.


  1. Your tally of a difference of seven from 2007 is wrong. It should read 11 as you have transposed the figures in East Derry (should read U4 N2).


  3. Interesting blog hoboroad. Hope you have more time to work on it that I do on this ;)