The seat and its predecessor seats have mostly belonged to the Labour Party since the 1950s, with the current MP Brian Donohoe having represented the seat since its creation in 2005, and was MP for the predecessor seat of Cunninghame South since 1992. Labour currently has a large majority of over 12,000, making for a safe Labour seat.
A diverse seat, it contains the more working class towns of Irvine and parts of Kilwinning to the north, as well as the more affluent towns of Troon and Prestwick to the south. The constituency also includes some rural villages such as Dundonald and Tarbolton.
The constituency was re-established in 2005, centred around the historic burgh of Irvine which was designated in the 1970s as a Glasgow overspill new town. Irvine is among the most deprived parts of Scotland and made up mostly of social housing, with patches of suburban developments around Perceton, central Irvine and in parts of Girdle Toll. The affluent coastal towns of Prestwick and Troon join the town as part of the constituency as well as outlying rural areas located south and east of Troon and Prestwick: these areas have held a considerable level of support for Conservative candidates locally and as part of the Ayr constituency in the Scottish parliament. Labour, and more recently the SNP, have performed strongly in west Troon, south and east Prestwick and in the former Mossblown, Annbank and St. Quivox electoral ward. Heathfield in Ayr north also forms part of the constituency: this area is relatively small and has elected Labour councillors locally.
Since the 2005 general election aspects of the Ayr, Cunninghame South and Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley constituencies were grouped together to form the Ayrshire Central constituency: it takes up the majority of former the Cunninghame South constituency, around half of the former Ayr constituency and a group of villages which formed part of the former Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley constituency. The constituency incorporates the electoral wards of Kilwinning (part: excludes the majority of the electoral ward west of the river Garnock and north of the B778, and B785: it effectively covers the south east of the town of Kilwinning and rural areas east of the river Lugton), Irvine West, Irvine East, Kyle, Troon, Prestwick, and the northern elements of the Maybole, North Carrick and Coylton electoral ward covering the stretch of the B744 from Belston to Annbank and the Auchincruive Agricultural College. The constituency also cuts into the Ayr North electoral ward with it's southern boundaries following Seaforth Road and Lochside Road to include Healthfield.