Profile: Strangford

Candidates:
DUP: Jonathan Bell. MIchelle McIlveen. SImon Hamilton.Harry Harvey.
UUP: Mike Nesbitt. Philip Smith.
Alliance: Kellie Armstrong.
TUV: Stephen Cooper.
SDLP: Joe Boyle.
Sinn Féin: Dermot Kennedy.
Green: Georgia Grainger.
Conservative: Bill McKendry.
UKIP:Stephen Crosby.
Independant: Jimmy Menagh.
Independent: Rab McCartney.

A unionist stronghold which returned three DUP, two UUP (one later defected to UKIP) and one Alliance.
All three outgoing DUP MLAs …Bell, McIlveen and Hamilton have been or are Ministers in the Executive. With more than half the votes cast in 2011 and a big majority in the 2015 Westminster Election, it is a near certainty that three DUP will be elected again.
The position for UUP is different. Party Leader, “TV Mike” Nesbitt defends his seat with (unknown to me) Philip Smith. David McNarry, elected in 2011 defected to UKIP but is not standing but the Westminster election shows that there is a quota for UKIP or (more likely) TUV if the transfers work to their advantage. But transfers from the eliminated Tory should help UUP.
Veteran, Kieran McCarthy is retired so the Alliance Party is being represented by Kellie Armstrong. WIsely Ms Armstrong stood in the Westminster Election and performed well enough to show she can retain the seat.
On the nationalist side, Apathy is a problem. SDLP has come close but not close enough. Personally, I think Geography is a bigger problem. The constituency extends from suburban south east Belfast to the County Down countryside and via the main town of Newtownards down the Ards Peninsula. The SDLP outvotes Sinn Féin here by nearly three to one. SDLP success depends on nationalist turnout and picking up about 1,000 extra votes, mostly from Alliance…McCarthy and Joe Boyle (SDLP) are both from the Peninsula…and an “Eastwood bounce”….and of course transfers from Sinn Féin.
Sticking my neck out here but I think this might be the year SDLP takes Strangford.

Prediction: DUP 3, UUP 1, SDLP 1, TUV 1.

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12 Responses to Profile: Strangford

  1. Vince says:

    I can’t see Alliance going without a seat here and I can’t see both Alliance and SDLP getting one. One would have thought that Mike Nesbitt’s profile would bring in a second UUP MLA. Hard to see DUP not getting 3. So that makes it very difficult for Joe Boyle. Straws in the wind would be that he heavily outpolled the current Alliance candidate in the same area in the 2014 Locals. SDLP also have a popular councillor in the Rowallane district who may help to draw in voters from that side of the constituency. Also there are some who have voted for Kieran McCarthy who would probably no longer be comfortable voting for the Alliance Party – it does appear to be becoming an increasingly cold place for Catholics with their attack on St Mary’s Training College and Catholic education in general. Some of his voters will also be concerned about the aggressively pro-abortion stance adopted by many of their leadership team and elected representatives. Many clearly now want the GB 1967 Abortion Act brought to N Ireland.
    Despite these straws, it does seem like a long shot for the SDLP in Strangford – but you never know.

    • I think the nature of all elections is that there will be surprises.
      In a BBC or UTV studio, we will be “going over to Mr X or Ms Y who has surprisingly won or lost a seat”.
      I think its inevitable.
      Some big name will lose by fifty votes.
      Some person will win by fifty votes.
      Even recounts.
      Somewhere in 18 constituencies and 108 MLAs …theres a surprise waiting to happen.

  2. Brian says:

    Would be interesting to hear who you think won the TV debate with Noel Thompson.

  3. Croiteir says:

    Maybe Sdlp will get some of McCarthy’s personal vote and Alliance is becoming less attractive to Catholic voters but at the heals of the hunt will nationalists vote for Alliance to keep the other unionists out?

  4. Croiteir says:

    And another thing. I’d Joe Boyle related to Declan Boyle of landlord fame? If so will that hurt him?

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