Election 2015 Northern Ireland

Election 2015: Will electorate vote tactically in South Antrim?

Lough Neagh
Image caption Will there be tactical voting in South Antrim?

One of the constituencies in Northern Ireland where a close result is expected is South Antrim.

The DUP and the Ulster Unionists are in a tight race for the seat that Willie McCrea held in the last parliament.

Mr McCrea and DUP canvassers take to the relatively quiet streets of Ballyclare, which along with Antrim town, Randalstown and Crumlin is a major population centre in the South Antrim constituency.

Image caption Willie McCrea says every vote counts in the election

Unfortunately, there aren't too many voters around.

He jokingly blames the curse of the BBC cameras frightening people away, but others in his entourage say: "No, it's because everyone is now working."

Mr McCrea, standing on his record of constituency work, has a majority of 1,000 and, although quietly confident, says every vote counts.

"We're coming out of recession," he says.

"We've done a lot but there's a lot more to be done. We need a good knowledgeable representative, not a novice. And I believe I'm that experienced representative."

Image caption Danny Kinahan describes himself as an on-the-ground politician

The Ulster Unionist candidate, Danny Kinahan, is Willie McCrea's main rival and is standing for Westminster for the first time.

Describing himself as an on-the-ground politician who is proud to be progressive and a moderniser on social issues, he was the only Ulster Unionist MLA to vote this week for same sex marriage.

A former army officer, he says it is something in which he believes in very strongly.

"I don't think we need to challenge the churches. I believe in protecting the churches and peoples' religious beliefs but we do need to find that middle ground that everyone can live with.

"But I don't want anyone to feel they're being discriminated against whether it has to do with sex, religion or anything else."

Until this week the issues in South Antrim were jobs, traffic congestion, housing, education and health.

Image caption Neil Kelly does not want any of his more liberal supporters to vote tactically against the DUP

The candidates have different views about whether there'll be any fall-out from Jim Wells' resignation as health minister and the gay rights controversy.

The Alliance party got about 8% of the vote in 2010 and its candidate, Neil Kelly, doesn't want any of his more liberal supporters to vote tactically against the DUP, saying the two unionist parties have a pact in nearby North Belfast.

"Danny may as well rip up his manifesto at this point," he says, "Because they've sided with the DUP. There's a lot of controversy and they're trying to back-pedal a bit.

"But, at the end of the day, in my opinion there's no difference between them."

Image caption Declan Kearney is hoping to improve on Sinn Féin's vote last time around

Declan Kearney, Sinn Féin national chairperson, is the party's candidate.

Canvassing in Crumlin, where he's hoping to improve on 2010's 14 % he says it all comes down to social and economic issues in South Antrim as elsewhere.

"It's about austerity or equality," he adds.

"It's an election about quality of life issues, the run-down in public services, cutbacks that people are having to contend with and the prospect of future welfare cuts."

In 2010, the SDLP got about 9% of the vote.

Its candidate, Roisin Lynch, says people are responding well to her because she is a new face with fresh ideas.

Image caption Roisin Lynch says people are responding well to her because she is a new face with fresh ideas

She says she hopes voters will opt for her because she "wants to work for prosperity and a prosperity process. Jobs and creating a good stable economy in Northern Ireland is what the future holds."

Richard Cairns of the TUV will be hoping to improve on the 5% vote for the party in 2010 while Alan Dunlop is standing for the Conservatives.

Traditionally, there aren't too many floating voters in South Antrim.

But the question this time around is with a close result expected will there be tactical voting?

We'll know the answer to that soon.