NI election predictions: DUP and Sinn Féin likely to lead way

Smaller constituencies and ‘cash for ash’ scandal will affect Assembly poll outcome

Assembly election at a glance:

- 228 candidates competing

- Assembly now reduced from 108 to 90 seats

- 68 of candidates (30 per cent) are women



Predictions from the 18 Irish Times constituency profiles produce a forecasted result of:

DUP 33 seats (-5)*

Sinn Féin 23 (-5)

SDLP 11 (-1)

UUP 9 (-7)

Greens 2 (unchanged)

People Before Profit 2 (unchanged)

Traditional Unionist Voice 1 (unchanged)

Independent Unionist 1 (unchanged)

*Change on May 2016 Assembly election in brackets.

A health warning must be applied to this prediction, however. Added uncertainty is created by a reduction in the sizes of the constituencies and a question mark over how the “cash for ash” scandal will affect voters.

Certainly, Sinn Féin would expect to win more than 23 seats and to narrow the gap between it and the DUP, while the UUP and its leader Mike Nesbitt would expect to be significantly higher than nine seats.

Nonetheless, it does seem that the DUP and Sinn Féin again will emerge as the two main parties, with the DUP still dominating unionism.

Candidate breakdown:

DUP 38

Sinn Féin 34

Ulster Unionist Party 24


Alliance 21

Greens 18

Traditional Unionist Voice 14

NI Conservatives 13

People Before Profit 7

Workers’ Party 5

Labour Alternative 4

Progressive Unionist Party 3

Ukip 1

Cista (Citizens Independent Social Thought Alliance – formerly Cannabis Is Safer Than Alcohol) 3

Independent 22

Gerry Moriarty

Gerry Moriarty

Gerry Moriarty is the former Northern editor of The Irish Times