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Stormont Election 2022

  • 09-04-2022 2:29pm
    Registered Users Posts: 6,209 ✭✭✭

    We're less than 4 weeks away from polling day (Thursday, May 5th). Nominations closed yesterday and 239 candidates will compete for 90 seats across 18, 5-seater constituencies.

    Once again it's shaping up to be a bitter and divisive campaign. Only last night posters of the UUP leader, Doug Beattie, were displayed with a noose around his neck outside of an anti-protocol rally in Lurgan.

    The hard unionist vote appears to be coalescing around DUP once again (at the expense of the TUV) but they are still some way behind Sinn Fein in the latest polls. However if the TUV don't pick up too many seats and their transfers go to the DUP then it looks like it'll be very tight, once again. The DUP's approach seems to be ramping up fear of a potential SF first minister and also hammering the Northern Ireland protocol at every given opportunity. The existential danger for them is that this kind of politics may play well with their base but every election that goes by that base shrinks in size relative to the wider electorate.

    I'll be interested to see how the parties without a Nationalist/Unionist designation get on (Alliance, Greens & PBP). We keep hearing how this is the fastest growing demographic in northern Ireland so let's see if this manifests in greater representation. Last time out they won a combined 11 seats. I believe that the faster Northern Ireland can move beyond sectarian politics the better it will be for everyone living there.

    The current assembly collapsed (once again) back in February when the DUP first minister, Paul Givan, resigned after an escalating series of events caused by the DUP's opposition to the Northern Ireland protocol. The NI Secretary of State has said that there is a very real risk that it will not resume even after this election for the same reason. There is also a concern that the DUP (and other unionist parties) will not wish to serve "under" a SF First Minister - this has been voiced by some of their own MLAs.

    2017 results (seats)

    1. DUP - 28
    2. SF - 27
    3. SDLP - 12
    4. UUP - 10
    5. Alliance - 8
    6. Greens - 2
    7. TUV, PBP, Ind Unionist - 1 each

    Polling since then



  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 19,116 Mod ✭✭✭✭Sam Russell

    So what are the predictions for seats post elections?

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,285 ✭✭✭liamtech

    Beattie bounce seems to have subsided for the UUP - Alas i was hoping they would make inroads into the DUP

    Joyously the TUV's surge has also subsided - Jim Allister's performance on The View this week was poor - IMHO - rambling quite a bit at times, his vitriolic bigotry shines through, and may be off putting, even to Conservative Unionists

    The Alliance surge has held on - of course the campaign by Ultra Hard Loyalists (and Byrson-esque characters) against the Alliance will begin soon so - have to wait and see

    I actually hate seeing Aontu on the ballot paper - I hate to be reminded of their existence

    Sic semper tyrannis - thus always to Tyrants

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 35,149 CMod ✭✭✭✭pixelburp

    One must take a step back and consider how mad it is all the same, that the most popular party is Sinn Fein. It's quite remarkable how they, of all parties, in Northern Ireland, find themselves top of the heap. Not that it'll necessarily translate to seats mind you - but still a shock to see on one's lifetime. And even if it did turn into a SF as the majority party in NI, the obvious question remains if the DUP would accept the result. We know they won't, and the Protocol will be their excuse.

    I wonder if, knowing the devolved executive probably won't restart, there's any risk of a low turnout. And if there was who'd it would most benefit.

  • Administrators Posts: 53,044 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭awec

    SF will become the largest party, but probably not gain many more seats, instead becoming the largest as the unionist vote becomes more distributed across multiple parties.

    I expect good gains for Alliance. Possibly good gains for the UUP. TUV will surely take some DUP seats.

    DUP are going to lose a fair chunk IMO.

  • Registered Users Posts: 45,526 ✭✭✭✭Mr.Nice Guy

    I listened to Donaldson getting interviewed on BBC Talkback today and I thought he struggled badly. Reminded me of the time Mark Carruthers gave him a good grilling on The View a year or so ago.

    The DUP are in full scare tactic mode. Donaldson was saying if SF get in they will call for a border poll. It was pointed out that they've always called for one and the power to grant one lies with the Secretary of State. Yes, but the calls will be louder, he says. Does that mean you believe a SF win is a mandate for a border poll he is asked. No, I'm not saying that, he replies.

    Quite a revealing moment when a caller asks him if the DUP are the party to trust to protect the union, why has their been damage done the last few years. Donaldson says it was Johnson's fault as the DUP votes had thwarted a sea border and forced Johnson to go for an election where he got his 80 seat majority. (I was hoping the host would ask why they aren't taking their many protests to London then)

    Donaldson again refused to confirm if the DUP would serve under a SF First Minister. He did say the DUP would not go back into Stormont as long as the protocol remained as is, which confirms my suspicion that they will use complaints over the protocol as a fig leaf to justify not going back if SF are likely to get the FM post.

    I think there's a decent chance the DUP will get the most seats when it's all said and done. I'm not convinced Beattie will make inroads and I reckon Allister's a one-man show. As one contributor put it on The View last week, unionists will hold their noses and vote DUP in order to keep SF out. It's daft as the FM and Deputy FM posts are essentially the same but it wouldn't be the first time symbolism trumped logic.

    'It is better to walk alone in the right direction than follow the herd walking in the wrong direction.'

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  • Administrators Posts: 53,044 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭awec

    The DUP ending up with the most seats would be a really surprising outcome for me. They have survived on their negative campaigning for a while now but I really do think the camels back is broken now and their hardline voters will look to the TUV as a genuine option, while their more moderate and pragmatic voters will look to the UUP.

    The other problem for them is traditionally NI elections have a low turnout, particularly among moderate voters. I think the events of the past few years may drive turnout up, and this IMO will not be beneficial to the DUP and will be where parties like SF, Alliance and UUP make gains.

    I would expect turnout in traditionally nationalist areas and constituencies to be very high given the potential for SF to win the election, and therefore all the significance and symbolism that will bring.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 35,149 CMod ✭✭✭✭pixelburp

    Are there any TV leader interviews lined up for this? Gotta say I've been surprised by the general lack of reporting of the elections via my usual, daily outlets here (in the Republic). I'd wonder how many people, even those savvy or interested in NI politics, would know there even IS an election coming up.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,209 ✭✭✭Brussels Sprout

    I've looked through all of the constituency results from 2017 and the one thing that jumped out at me is how many times the DUP ended up losing out on the final seat. They lost 10 seats from the prior election and a lot of those were very close. What that means is that even if their vote % drops a bit from 2017 I don't believe that it will result in a large drop in their seat numbers - it'll just mean that instead of their third candidate coming 6th in a constituency they might come 7th or 8th.

    Another observation is that in most constituencies there are very few candidates that are actually competitive. So you have the 5 or 6 getting 10% or higher and then the rest getting less than 2%. There's very few in between. That is a pattern that you would see in a First Past the Post election and I wonder if some voters use a FPTP mindset when voting (even though this is a PR-STV election) due to them using FPTP for their Westminster elections.

    What that pattern means is that, say if the Greens get a 50% increase in their overall support it's probably not going to win them any more seats since most of their candidates are way off the pace. For that reason I don't see the smaller parties winning any extra seats.

    So based on all of that and extrapolating from the polls (including the opposite momentums of TUV & DUP), I'll go with:

    1. SF - 28
    2. DUP - 27
    3. SDLP, UUP, Alliance - 10 each
    4. Greens - 2
    5. TUV, PBP, Ind Unionist - 1 each

    And under those circumstances the DUP will refuse to take their seats citing the continuing existence of the NI Protocol.

    I also expect that the Tories will get hammered in the local elections on the same day and rather than resign Boris Johnson will invoke Article 16 as a diversionary tactic.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 35,149 CMod ✭✭✭✭pixelburp

    Not sure that it'll feature in the election narrative, and maybe I'm misunderstanding the specifics; but this must surely take some of the sting out of the tail of the Brexit Ultras - and the DUP in particular;

    THE EUROPEAN UNION Council has adopted legislation to ensure medicines can continue to flow unimpeded from Britain into Northern Ireland.

    The issues surrounding medicines stem from the outworkings of the NI Protocol, a part of the Brexit deal which means Northern Ireland remains covered by the EU’s pharmaceutical regulations.

    As Northern Ireland receives most of its medicines from suppliers in Britain, there had been concerns that their movement could be impeded when grace periods end.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 18,220 CMod ✭✭✭✭Nody

    There is only one fatal flaw in your thinking; you're assuming that you're talking about rational intelligent people who look at the facts and weights up the cons and benefits rather than someone closer to a raving lunatic who'd happily burn down their house because it happened to have an EU flag on it...

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  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 35,149 CMod ✭✭✭✭pixelburp

    Of course; Northern Ireland politics always demands consideration of that demographic who are, as you say, lunatics beyond rationality. However, there must surely be a shrinking audience for this fundamentalism as reality has shown the Protocol far beyond the apocalypse claimed by the likes of the DUP. This recent news, if shared across NI media, would perhaps shrink that audience a little further.

    Now, like others I'm also pragmatic to the realities that a lot of voting still centres around keeping "dem uns" on the other side of town out of Stormont; I still imagine there'll be a lot of noses held as the ballot papers are marked. One just might wonder how much longer that might last as evidence mounts that the DUP are active saboteurs towards the governance of the Province.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,884 ✭✭✭✭retalivity

    I was driving up and down through the north last weekend, first time in a month or 2 and with all the posters up. The thing that struck me was the amount of Socialist party posters that were up around the place, and the lack of DUP/TUV. Now admittedly, I was driving up the A5 so wasn't really going through Unionist heartlands, but even in the countryside in south tyrone where you'd have a sizeable, rural unionist population, there were very little.

    The socialist party seemed to have as much as SF or the SDLP in places like Strabane as well, so appear to have plenty of money behind them, wonder where that came from? On a completely unrelated note I saw they had a pro-russian memorial at Free Derry corner recently as well...

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,209 ✭✭✭Brussels Sprout

    Christ really? I saw that the "Irish Republican Socialist Party" were using their twitter account to take pictures in front of that sign with the flags of the Donetsk People's Republic - seemingly ignorant to the fact that the DNR are a bunch of fascists (many people pointed this out them in the replies). That was back in February though. They should have wised up by now.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,884 ✭✭✭✭retalivity

    It appears that the "Irish Republican Socialist Party" and "Socialist Party" are fielding 2 candidates each - the posters I saw were for all the one candidate from the Socialist Party in West Tyrone, so not the same crowd that were in Derry, although I've no idea if the 2 of them are closely related.

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 66,523 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011

    So brave in their support that they cover their faces!

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 66,523 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011

    The IRSP is the INLAs political wing, physical force Replubicans.

    The Socialist Party believes we should rejoin the UK (assuming it was as a Socialist state) as the first stage of a Socialist International.

    They couldn't be any less related.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,209 ✭✭✭Brussels Sprout

    I see that the leader of the NI Greens was complaining about being excluded from a TV debate. In defending her claim she described her party as "the largest opposition party in NI". Not only is this a bit misleading (they have 2 out of 90 seats) it's not even technically true. Under the rules of the NI assembly to be deemed an official opposition a party has to fulfill one of 2 criteria:

    1. Have been entitled to ministerial positions under the D'Hondt method but declined them
    2. Have won at least 8 seats in the assembly

    The Greens didn't fulfill either of these.

    Another minor quibble is that although they have the most seats of all of the parties who are not in government the TUV actually got more first preference votes than them in the last election.

  • Registered Users Posts: 45,526 ✭✭✭✭Mr.Nice Guy

    Mary Lou McDonald is the party leader interviewed tonight on The View at 10:40pm.

    'It is better to walk alone in the right direction than follow the herd walking in the wrong direction.'

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 66,523 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011

    Can anyone remember what media appearances Gerry did post-2011 (getting elected to the Dáil) in lieu of McGuinness/O'Neill? Don't think it was common at all.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,209 ✭✭✭Brussels Sprout

    RTE have profiles of all 18 constituencies on their website. Sadly, no predictions:

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,884 ✭✭✭✭retalivity

    So rangers are playing leipzig in the semi final of the European cup, in Glasgow on the same day as the election (May 5th), and the DUP and TUV are worried that many supporters are being 'disenfranchised', and the deadline for postal and proxy voting should be extended to allow all the "proud ulster loyalists" to vote from Glasgow. I mean, unionists in NI talking about being disenfranchised.....christ.

    It will be comical if the relative success of rangers causes a drain of the DUP/TUV voter base on election day, therefore cementing SF as the largest party and providing a SF first minister.

    Post edited by retalivity on

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,008 ✭✭✭Quitelife

    If Sinn Fein win the Election getting most seats the DUP wont go back to stormont and use every excuse etc to avoid same. The rules only apply when it suits their party.

    In each of the subsequent elections in the years ahead Sinn Feins majority as biggest party is only going to get bigger and bigger.

  • Registered Users Posts: 45,526 ✭✭✭✭Mr.Nice Guy

    Just a week to go until the election.

    Jeffrey Donaldson is the last of the leaders interviewed on The View tonight (10:40pm). I recall him struggling the last time he went up against Mark Carruthers, so interested to see if he fares better this time.

    Just finished watching it. I thought he did poorly again, and looked pretty jaded. Final LucidTalk poll before the election:

    Still looks good for SF but I just have this feeling that most unionists, as angry as they are with the DUP, will hold their noses and vote for them to keep O'Neill from the FM spot. Will be fascinating how it unfolds.

    Post edited by Mr.Nice Guy on

    'It is better to walk alone in the right direction than follow the herd walking in the wrong direction.'

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 35,149 CMod ✭✭✭✭pixelburp

    Will they vote for the party most aggressively chasing parity of ruination though? Perhaps the 20% already reflects the maximum of support the DUP can get under a mantra of killing the Protocol; the vote seems spread across the other main three. Don't disagree noses will be held, it just may not be for the DUP.

    Maybe the key for all this is which side of the coin is most motivated to vote here? As with any election, turnout will be critical.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,209 ✭✭✭Brussels Sprout

    If that Lucidtalk poll is accurate then the expected convergence of the hard Unionist vote hasn't happened yet and the DUP are still significantly behind SF. Now apparently three quarters of TUV voters say they will transfer to the DUP so it's not all bad. Not sure where the TUV are going to get any additional seats so if all of their candidates (apart from Allister) get eliminated and transfer to DUP candidates then it could still be quite close in the finish up.

    Looking at the polling history it seems that there is a big difference between LucidTalk and Social Market Research when it comes to the TUV figures. LT usually have them at in and around 10% whereas SMR have them at around 6%. They also seem to differ wildly on the Green Party vote but since that's quite small it's not as noticeable.

  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 19,116 Mod ✭✭✭✭Sam Russell

    As we all know, these elections depend on transfers and abstentions.

    If you want to get your side elected, get your vote out. You also want to keep yourself transfer friendly, particularly with strategic voters.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,209 ✭✭✭Brussels Sprout

    A PBP candidate was grabbed and threatened by 3 men in a housing estate in East Belfast. That follows on from an SDLP candidate (also female) who ended up in an altercation with men who were removing her posters.

    Some people are clearly feeling threatened if they have to resort to these kinds of bully boy tactics.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,617 ✭✭✭votecounts

    The fact that these scum are coming from one side of the community should be called out. Also the DUP/TUV should be called out for causing these due to their anti protocol rallies when the reality is that they do not want to serve under a possible nationalist FM. Democracy, they should look it ip.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 307 ✭✭O'Neill