2019 NI General Election Constituencies – Predictions

raetsel

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This is going to be a more interesting contest than normal because of the number of close fought constituencies. Nine constituencies, half of the total, could conceivably return new MPs to Westminster.

Upper Bann, arguably a safe DUP seat, will definitely change hands as the current MP, David Simpson, is not standing again, though the DUP look safe there. North Down will also deliver a new face, as the incumbent, Sylvia Hermon, an independent unionist, has retired, and the resulting contest poses one of the most interesting tussles, given the nature of the the vote there. Another six constituencies could all easily change hands. Fermanagh South Tyrone, South Belfast, North Belfast, South Down, Foyle, and South Antrim are all up for grabs. Arguably, East Belfast is also in the mix, but to a lesser extent in my opinion.

Were there to be any change in any of the other nine constituencies it would be a shock of seismic proportions so I don’t propose to go into any detail on any of them.

Fermanagh South Tyrone: the ultimate cliff hanger. Since its formation in 1950 the constituency has seen 22 Westminster elections and has returned 12 nationalists and 10 unionists. Sinn Fein won the seat by just 4 votes in 2010. SF’s Michelle Gildernew won last time by 875 votes.

SF to hold – just.

Foyle: once a safe SDLP seat, it fell to SF in the last election in controversial circumstances with allegations of vote rigging. Now SDLP party leader Colum Eastwood is standing against incumbent Elisha McCallion, a remarkably low profile and unimpressive SF representative. I suspect that lack of visibility will be McCallion’s undoing.

SDLP gain. Admittedly I'm sticking my neck out and I'll confess to a bit of wishful thinking as well.:)

South Down: Eamon De Valera stood here in 1918 for SF and clocked up just 33 votes. Enoch Powell held the seat as a UUP MP from 1974 until 1987. It transferred from the SDLP to SF’s Chris Hazzard last time. Hazzard is an articulate MP with a prominent media presence and I cannot see him losing despite the probability that his SDLP rival will benefit from unionist tactical voting.

SF hold.

North Down: Maggie Thatcher once improbably claimed that NI was as British as Finchley. However North Down is the constituency which comes closest to that comparison. It has a concentration of prosperous middle class residents and a relatively liberal profile. It is also one of the few predominantly unionist constituencies which voted “Remain” in the EU referendum. Now that it has been vacated by Sylvia Hermon it is a three way contest between Alliance, UUP and DUP. My guess is that Sylvia Hermon’s vote last time will split between UUP and Alliance and let in the DUP.

DUP gain.

East Belfast: the DUP won 56% of the vote here last time. Despite Naomi Long’s fast growing reputation, I cannot see her retaking the seat which she won narrowly in 2010, following the Iris Robinson scandal.

DUP hold.

South Antrim: this used to be a safe UUP seat but has oscillated between that party and the DUP during the 21st century.

DUP to hold – narrowly.

South Belfast: probably the most diverse and liberal constituency in NI, ranging from leafy middle class and mixed Malone to the rougher back streets off the Donegall Road. Emma Pengelly won this seat for the DUP from the SDLP last time but with Sinn Fein (and the Greens) not standing this time Claire Hanna must be odds on to win the seat back, and will particularly benefit from a nasty unionist smear campaign against her, which is bound to reap a backlash.
SDLP gain.

North Belfast: a cliffhanger between the DUP’s Nigel Dodds and SF’s John Finucane. The two big questions here are what effect the nasty smear campaign against Finucane will have on the behaviour of moderate unionists, and whether, in the absence of SDLP and Green candidates, enough of their voters will turn to SF rather than Alliance. Moderate nationalists will have much less of a problem voting for Finucane than they would have casting a vote for Gerry Kelly, whose sectarian campaign here in 2015 made him unelectable. My guess is that the smear campaign there is a gift to SF and Finucane may just shade it partly as a consequence of it.

SF gain.
 
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the secretary

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Great OP.

Foyle: SDLP
North Belfast: DUP
F & South Tyrone: SF
Belfast South: SDLP
North Down: DUP
South Down: SF
 

redneck

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I hope John Finucane wins in North Belfast. I would not be as confident as some of him winning it though. It will be very close.
I liked Emma Pengelly's anti abortion stance. I don't really like Claire Hanna. But the SDLP could win this. They are pulling out all the stops here. This could be close as S.F voters may not vote for Claire Hanna, but she should just about do it.
I hope SF win South Fermanagh. It will be close though.
Foyle, this will be close again. But SDLP and Irish establishment are all behind Mr Eastwood. So it could be a "thank you very much Mr Eastwood" (song) from them to him. I would guess that Sdlp will have a 1,000 vote majority here.
Rest I am not to sure of. But I would expect DUP to win most of the Unionist ones.
 

yosef shompeter

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I venture the guess that a majority of remainers will be returned -- but the DUP will hold their title of largest nr of MPs.
 

raetsel

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Great OP.
Thanks. I'm sure that time will tell that I'll have called a few of those wrongly of course. You'd need to have extensive knowledge of every constituency to come close to being accurate.

I hope John Finucane wins in North Belfast. I would not be as confident as some of him winning it though. It will be very close.
I liked Emma Pengelly's anti abortion stance. I don't really like Claire Hanna. But the SDLP could win this. They are pulling out all the stops here. This could be close as S.F voters may not vote for Claire Hanna, but she should just about do it.
I hope SF win South Fermanagh. It will be close though.
Foyle, this will be close again. But SDLP and Irish establishment are all behind Mr Eastwood. So it could be a "thank you very much Mr Eastwood" (song) from them to him. I would guess that Sdlp will have a 1,000 vote majority here.
Rest I am not to sure of. But I would expect DUP to win most of the Unionist ones.
Anyone confidently predicting anything in any of the marginal constituencies is a fool, particularly North Belfast. But I think the smear campaign will backfire on Nigel Dodds. I also believe that the DUP "maxed out" their vote there last time and like most other constituencies the Catholic/nationalist population is growing while the Protestant/unionist vote is either static or declining. The SDLP should win in South Belfast, but Alliance are the big unknown factor here. Pengelly's anti-abortion stance is probably more of a hindrance than an asset in what is undoubtedly the most liberal constituency in the north. And the attempt to smear Hanna will do her no harm at all, particularly against Pengelly, whose own ex-terrorist father carries a conviction for importing weapons which were subsequently used in over a hundred murders. Of all the marginal seats this one is most likely to change hands.
Abortion may well have an (indirect) bearing in Foyle where Aontú are fielding a strong candidate in Dr. Anne McCloskey. She is a retired GP whose practice was in Shantallow. The SF candidate Elisha McCallion grew up in adjacent Galliagh, so how much of her natural vote will now drift to Aontú is anyone's guess.
 

DJP

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Olltoghchán Westminster 2019

Fyi I interviewed Eoghan Ó Néill the Head of News in Belfast Irish language radio station Raidió Fáilte just over a week ago for Raidió na Life & Near FM. The first just over 11 mins is about the Tories and Labour and Scotland and then we talk for the next over 20 minutes about the election in the north. The interview is in Irish. :


 

Prof Honeydew

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Belfast West
Huge split in the Fenian/Taig/Welfare Waster vote between Sinn Fein/IRA, SDLP and PBP over voter revulsion at sickening hypocrisy of SF/IRA refusal to condemn all terrorist acts of violence will benefit outstanding DUP candiate.
DUP gain

Mid Ulster
Increased police scrutiny of SF/IRA voter fraud scams will encourage pragmatic RCs to consider voting DUP
DUP gain

Newry and Armagh
Motorist backlash over dodgy diesel sold at SF/IRA supporting filling stations leading to groundswell of support for DUP
DUP gain

Fermanagh-South Tyrone
Graveyard revolt against SF/IRA arrogance and corruption will see dead switching in droves to DUP UUP candidate
UUP gain

West Tyrone
GAA violence controlled by SF/IRA godfathers turning voters to peace-loving DUP alternative
DUP gain

*With thanks to E Harris, E O'Hanlon, R Dudley Edwards, J Corcoran and the rest of the Soaraway Sindo team.
 

raetsel

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So it could be a "thank you very much Mr Eastwood" (song) from them to him.
I wasn't aware there was a song, but on checking I see that it was a parody by the late, great Dermot Morgan. The song of course is about boxing manager (and bookmaker) Barney Eastwood, (who is still alive btw) and Barry McGuigan's frequent, and tiresome expressions of gratitude to him at the time for helping his career along. Barney sold his chain of betting shops to Ladbrokes in 2008 for a cool £135M, according to Wikipedia.
Barney Eastwood is a relative of Colum Eastwood's, so your allusion to the song is apt. :)
 

wombat

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*With thanks to E Harris, E O'Hanlon, R Dudley Edwards, J Corcoran and the rest of the Soaraway Sindo team.
I was wondering who this nutter is until I saw the end line. :)
 

Dame_Enda

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The SDLP campaign in South Down may have been hurt by former local MP Margaret Ritchie accepting a peerage, which Colum Eastwood says is incompatible with SDLP membership.
 

raetsel

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The SDLP campaign in South Down may have been hurt by former local MP Margaret Ritchie accepting a peerage, which Colum Eastwood says is incompatible with SDLP membership.
It won't do them any favours obviously but they are fielding a candidate with no previous election form seemingly. I know little about the SDLP candidate, but what I've learned, he doesn't inspire much confidence. He is a local councillor on Newry, Mourne and Down Council who was appointed to fill a vacancy in 2017 and doesn't appear to have any prior electoral experience. On the other hand, the incumbent, Chris Hazzard is already well known and appears to be one of SF's rising stars.
 

Marcella

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The election in the north is irrelevant. It matters not.

Johnson will get his majority and come January the sea border will be in operation.
 

mangaire2

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it would b fantastic if John Finucane were to be elected in N. Belfast.
 

blinding

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The election in the north is irrelevant. It matters not.

Johnson will get his majority and come January the sea border will be in operation.
Boris is going great guns at the moment . So long as he was't hanging around with Prince Andrew at Epsteins he should get a good majority .
 

raetsel

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it would b fantastic if John Finucane were to be elected in N. Belfast.
That's the trickiest of the three seats which nationalist parties have a chance of winning. But the changes there over the years illustrate the imminent problems now facing unionism. In the February 1974 election the unionist majority over nationalists was circa 22K. In 2017 the unionist majority over the combined nationalist vote shrank to just 23.
However it cannot be assumed that all SDLP and Green voters will now vote for JF. On the other hand nationalist voter numbers on the electoral register will have grown and I have a feeling that the DUP maxed out their vote here last time. I suspect that the constituency may replicate the swing in South Down from 1986 to '87 when Eddie McGrady overturned Enoch Powell's majority of around 1800 votes to take the seat by 731 votes.
 
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redneck

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Do you think that Johny Finucane's chances might be wrecked by the fact his 3 uncles were IRA terrorists and his father did everything he could to advance The Republican cause before being taken out by Loyalist volunteers?
His Mum Geraldine was a Protestant. But John Finucane is an impressive candidate. He has also relations who fought in World war 1 and World war 2, and on his mum's side were in the Orange order.
 


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