We use cookies to provide some features and experiences in QOSHE

More information  .  Close
Aa Aa Aa
- A +

Why a unionist pact is as likely as a merger of the Blues and the Glens

5 8 4

Unionist pacts, accommodations, alliances, understandings. It wouldn’t be a proper election without such calls, followed by the backlash, would it? But will Sir Jeffrey Donaldson’s love-bombing of Doug Beattie and Jim Allister work?

Self-evidently, transfers matter. Some 72 of the 90 MLAs required them at the last Assembly election to get over the line. Just six DUP MLAs and no other unionists were elected on the first count. But whose votes got the other 33 unionists elected?

Dr Robert Barry’s analysis of 2017 Assembly election transfers tells us that 166,134 votes were transferred, 20% of the total poll of 812,783.

In one-quarter of cases, it is simply not possible to identify definitively which party’s vote transferred. Several candidates were eliminated, or elected, at the same stage, so we cannot be sure whose discarded, or surplus, votes benefitted others.

However, Dr Barry does identify the main recipients of transfers as the DUP (26% of those 166,000-plus shifting votes) and the UUP (23%).

The unionist parties are more transfer-friendly, or, more negatively, needy, than “themselves alone” in Sinn Fein. Republicans only attracted 10% of transfers, not that many were needed.

Understandably, many unionist transfers were from candidate to candidate in the same party. One-third of DUP transfers were intra-party in this way, with one-quarter arriving from the UUP.

Receive today's headlines directly to your inbox every morning and evening, with our free daily........

© Belfast Telegraph

Get it on Google Play