As one of Sinn Fein’s safest seats, with a majority of more than 12,000 votes at the last General Election in 2015, West Belfast is arguably the most predictable of Northern Ireland’s constituencies.
The changeover of Gerry Adams to Paul Maskey saw this massive majority slimmed down a bit, but the republican party’s hold remains iron tight.
However, the growing vote of People Before Profit is a thorn in Sinn Fein’s side, particularly in terms of what any further increase could mean for the next Assembly election.
Gerry Carroll of People Before Profit has grown his vote from just 1,661 in the 2011 Assembly poll to 6,798 at the last Westminster election and 8,299 in the 2016 Assembly election.
The People Before Profit vote appeared to dip slightly at the Assembly election earlier this year however Sinn Fein appear to treat them as a credible threat, with claims by Mr Carroll that he had been the victim of smear by his rival’s supporters, with accusations that he is a “Brit”.
Of the other parties, the SDLP will be hoping to bolster its vote following the heartache in March of losing its only MLA in the constituency when Alex Attwood was edged out with the shrinking of the number of seats from six to five. The SDLP is running councillor Tim Attwood on this occasion.
Unionism will be represented by just one candidate in this election in the shape of the DUP’s Frank McCoubrey. His vote may increase with the absence of the UUP, Ukip and Conservatives this time.
The Alliance Party will also be angling to increase its vote from the 636 votes they got at the last Westminster election by running Sorcha Eastwood.
Meanwhile the Workers Party is running Conor Campbell this year and will no doubt hope to capitalise on an anti-austerity mood in this comparatively pared down field with just six candidates, down from nine in 2015.