Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Could McClarty's candidacy put UUP seat under pressure in East Londonderry?

One of the batch of recent Ulster Unionist defectors, David McClarty, has decided to defend his Stormont seat as an independent.  The East Londonderry MLA was the only UUP candidate to squeak home in that constituency last time, although he was still some 2,000 votes under quota.

His decision will give the party a major headache.  It is running two of its brighter prospects in East Londonderry, Lesley Macaulay and David Harding, but there was always a suspicion that the Ulster Unionists would have to settle for one seat.  McClarty’s involvement throws even that likelihood into considerable doubt.

In the 2010 general election Macaulay claimed a reasonably creditable total of 6,218 votes.  This time round some of those voters will stick with McClarty and those who remain loyal to the Ulster Unionists will be spread across two candidates.  Things are likely to get very tight and only the most indefatigable UUP optimist would predict a gain in East Londonderry this time round.

15 comments:

thedissenter said...

McClarty gained 55% of the vote at the constituency selection, so clearly there is an issue of who will be out canvassing for the others... Some of that vote locally is personal, name recognition etc. None of the candidates (McClarty, or the UUP 2)particularly represent the more traditional UUP supporter, prevalent in an 'older' electoral base, which has been a siginficant factor in the steadily declining UUP vote in the constituency. It is a question already raised last year http://wp.me/p-8u The unkown factor for the election is where will that 'traditional' voter go - to the Alliance, DUP, or TUV. In strange ways, the Alliance may pick up some votes on the basis that they are not DUP and at least you sort of know kinda better where they might stand than the others. On the other hand, those outside the Executive box may have a greater attraction at this time. It is going to be a very interesting election.

DR said...

Chekov, firstly you should know better by now than to talk of Quotas at first preference stage, west Belfast tells us that. In many ways it will not be much different from the last election when the UUP ran 3 candidates, providing that is transfers go between the candidates rather than elsewhere, so far David McClarty has remained on cordial terms with former UUP colleagues on the whole, so possibly his standing could even bring out additional voters that later transfer over if he is eliminated earlier.

Chekov said...

In many ways it will not be much different from the last election when the UUP ran 3 candidates,

Except that one of the three candidates won't be in the UUP!?

DR said...

technically... lol

As I said it is down to transfers, in most ways it is the same electorate split 3 ways as before, and sitting on a 1.3 of a quota there is scope to split a bit but 2 seats is tricky but possible, if it dosn't turn into a slanging match and both agree to transfer to each other.

Chekov said...

2 seats are tricky but possible for the UUP, or one seat is tricky but possible with McClarty taking the other?

factandreality said...

the dissenter states McClarty gained 55% at the constituency selection, wrong, he received 12 votes out of 35,in an unnecessary vote as there were only 3 candidates to go forward to the selection panel,at which he was clearly beaten by the other two candidates. His move shows how much of a true Unionist he is ,he should accept the decision and support those who are nominated the party candidates

Lee said...

"2 seats are tricky but possible for the UUP, or one seat is tricky but possible with McClarty taking the other?"

Not when you factor in where the other parties quotas are sitting.

Although the real mess will more likely be Upper Bann - running three with less than two quotas when faced with SF breathing down their neck was bad enough but if either Hamilton and/or Savage join in as well then there will be 4/5 trying to fish from the same pond.

DR said...

Lee, saying your going of topic, without going into parties or areas, so long as people transfer right down surely it dosn't matter how the vote is shredded? ie. 10,000 votes will get you 2 seats no matter if its spread over 5 candidates or 2? so long as they keep transferring.

Carson's Cat said...

DR
"Chekov, firstly you should know better by now than to talk of Quotas at first preference stage, west Belfast tells us that"

But West Tyrone SDLP in 2007 tells us something different where their running of three candidates turned just over 1 quota into 0 seats.

Transfers don't just neatly run exactly as you want them to - voters are odd creatures and they won't just do exactly as their told so relying on an exact set of transferring between the 3 "UUP type" candidates is just crazy.

The UUP are sitting somewhere between 17 & 18% over the last two elections so lets not talk crap and just admit that two seats are utter fantasyland....

There are two clear nationalist quotas, one for SF and one SDLP so those will probably come home on the first count. The DUP have 2.5 quotas and the UUP have 1.3 quotas. The TUV will probably get less than half a quota.

Given that the DUP's 2.5 quotas will be split three ways and the UUP's 1.3 quotas will be split three ways too its just nonsense to think that in any real-world situation the UUP will win 2 seats.

What's far more likely to happen is the UUP winning zero seats with McClarty taking that seat and the DUP taking three.

The theory of transfers is far removed from the practice. Vote management is a bit of an art and a science - getting people to vote for a particular candidate for their 1st preference can be tricky enough, but once you try to tell people to vote right down a ticket there will always just be too many factors which cock things up and mean that votes start to evaporate away.

Lee said...

"so long as people transfer right down surely it dosn't matter how the vote is shredded? ie. 10,000 votes will get you 2 seats no matter if its spread over 5 candidates or 2? so long as they keep transferring."

Mathematical theory and voting practice are two fundamentally different things. In the real world they don't. Their is normally at least 10% loss/leakage at each stage

Reading leahy's book showtime on fianna fail and it has a good section on they followed your theory of PR voting and how it cost them seats in election after election.

DR said...

so, it is usually voter leak that does the harm.
West Tyrone is interesting! And I dont think 2 candidates instead of 3 would have made a button of difference to the SDLP though, the Deeny factor (who you must admit is SDLPish) and the stupid infighting is what sunk them and not the multiple candidates.
McClarty has to beat both UUP candidates combined to retain his seat, and will also need tranfers from them, vice versa, they will probably need his transfers, so a slanging match wont serve either well.

DR said...

so its a matter of maths working out how many extra votes a candidate can add versus how many they will leak or correspondingly gain on transfer.
Vote management is interesting to say the least!

Lee said...

"it is usually voter leak that does the harm."

And bad balancing in comparison with the candidates of other parties.

"McClarty has to beat both UUP candidates combined to retain his seat,"

Perfectly possible if he can match name recognition with a half-decent canvas op. The fact they all come from one end of the constituency helps none of their causes and Mcauley is an accident waiting to happen.

"and will also need tranfers from them, vice versa, they will probably need his transfers, so a slanging match wont serve either well."

The transfers that will be most likely floating about are TUV and Alliance.

"I dont think 2 candidates instead of 3 would have made a button of difference to the SDLP though"

You are mistaken, it made a bad situation worse.

Anonymous said...

Independents hardly ever make it, so McClarty is a very long shot indeed. Had he joined another party with some back up then it would have been different.

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