The Belfast Telegraph have the only poll of Northern Ireland in the campaign so far, carried out by Inform Communications. Polling in Northern Ireland does not have a stellar record of success, but for the record their topline figures are DUP 26%, Sinn Fein 25%, SDLP 17%, UCUNF 13%, Alliance 7%, TUV 5%.

They have also published breakdowns by constituency – with a total sample size of 3200, this suggests about 180 or so respondents per seat which is, frankly, nigh on useless for predicting a winner in all but safe seats. For what little it is worth though, it would suggest the closest contests are Upper Bann (between SF and DUP), Fermanagh and South Tyrone (between SF and the Independent Unionist candidate), North Antrim (between the DUP and TUV), North Belfast (between DUP and SF) and South Antrim (between UCUNF and DUP).


58 Responses to “Northern Ireland polling”

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  1. Thanks for those explanaitions, It makes things slightly clearer.

  2. The horriblly named UCUNF will not win any seats.

    Pity for DC that he weds the Con to a a party unlikely to win any seats (at a time when it the 18 NI seats matters) in the past the Pro-Con Ulster Unionist had a majority of seats….

    DUP wont forgive that partisan intervention.

    Irish voters (milions of them – always lukewarm to Con) wont appreciate DC visit to die hard unionism
    (a unionism now to the right of Paisely), may drve them back to Labour away from Lib Dem, All in all a very Odd staregy for Cons. (nothing new when its comes to NI)

  3. “They have also published breakdowns by constituency – with a total sample size of 3200, this suggests about 180 or so respondents per seat which is, frankly, nigh on useless for predicting a winner in all but safe seats. For what little it is worth though, it would suggest the closest contests are Upper Bann (between SF and DUP), Fermanagh and South Tyrone (between SF and the Independent Unionist candidate), North Antrim (between the SUP and TUV), North Belfast (between DUP and SF) and South Antrim (between UCUNF and DUP).”

    Tony, in North Antrim, did you mean “DUP and TUV”?

  4. Gray – um, yes. Not sure who the SUP are :)

  5. I can think of a few acronyms would suit SUP perfectly. :) But I won’t.

  6. Cross-posting from Slugger….

    In terms of the NI wide poll, the sample size and breadth of sampling points are genuinely impressive. This is good. Literally every other poll I’ve ever seen here has understated the nationalist vote – this doesn’t. That is better. Whether it avoids the other classic boob of NI polling, massively understating the Sinn Féin vote, we shall see on Thursday.

    I have to say, I would feel more confident if I saw the methodology and full crosstabs.

    As far as the constituency results go, THEY ARE ABSOLUTELY MEANINGLESS. The Telegraph should not have published them, and the polling company ought to have avoided reputational damage by trying to ensure they weren’t published.

    Assuming they have been able to get a genuinely demographically representative sample in each constituency, the margin of error just from random error in a sample of ~90 is over 10%. BUT it is virtually impossible to get a representative sample from 90 people in six sampling points. You might as well just ask 90 of your mates. They’ll have the right number of left- and right-footers in each constituency (itself an improvement on most polling here), and that’s what keeps the results looking half-way credible, but that’s as far as it goes.

  7. @Paddy Matthews The one thing those figures don’t show is the number of SDLP voters who chose not to transfer at all – Northern Ireland uses the variation of STV whereby the surplus is only divided up amongst those with second preferences and the plumpers remain on the original pile.

    In both the 2003 & 2007 Assembly elections the SDLP terminal surpluses/transfers were only able to decide between different Sinn Fein candidates.

    1998 is a long time ago now but when the second SDLP candidate was eliminated his transfers went 1607.00 to Sinn Fein, 643.13 to the UUP, 73.56 to UKUP, 67.69 to the DUP and 2157 non transferable. The transfers to Sinn Fein created a surplus but with only the three Unionist parties still in it – the surplus went 441 UUP, 32 DUP, 43 UKUP and 693.55 non transferable (Northern Ireland also uses the rule that ballot papers can never be worth more than 1 full vote).

  8. @Tim Roll-Pickering:

    I realise it’s not ideal because non-transferable votes would be excluded. An elimination would be preferable from that point of view but the SDLP in FST are good at running as many candidates as can get elected – West Tyrone branch take note.

    1998 is indeed a long time ago, when an IRA ceasefire (and the related memories of the IRA’s campaign) was a recent thing, whereas people are more used to SF in government by now – and Gildernew is not the car crash as a minister that, say, Caitriona Ruane is.

    My suspicion is that the Unionist pact will stick in the craw of a lot of SDLP voters who otherwise would have stayed with their man – whether or not it will be enough to frustrate Connor remains to be seen. It’s a pity for McKinney’s sake because no sooner had he been unveiled than the pact was unleashed and he was relegated to “splitter” status.

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