Despite the name of this site in practice it is often more GBPollingReport than UKPollingReport. The reality is that the overwhelming majority of opinion polls cover only Great Britain and exclude Northern Ireland. This is very much a historical legacy – the way things have always been – presumably because of the very different party system in Ulster. Moreover, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of demand for market research in Northern Ireland, so most pollsters don’t really operate there to a significant degree.

As a result there is very little polling on today’s Assembly election in Northern Ireland. The only company that really does regular political polling is LucidTalk, who’ve done regular Assembly voting intention trackers over the last month or so.

They published a final election poll earlier this week, conducted over the weekend. Topline figures with changes since the 2016 Assembly election were DUP 26.3%(-2.9), Sinn Fein 25.3%(+1.3), UUP 13.9%(+1.3), SDLP 12.2%(+0.2), Alliance 9.5%(+2.4), TUV 4.4%(+1), GRN 3.4%(+0.7). If those turned out to be the result it would suggest comparatively little change since last year’s election – the DUP would have lost votes, but would still be the largest party and are still obviously the dominant force on the Unionist side of politics. Exactly how that translates into seats given the complicated politics of Northern Ireland is a different matter. Full details are here.

LucidTalk are also doing some on-the-day polling today to check for any last minute movement – if that shows any shift they’ll be be updating tomorrow morning.


633 Responses to “Polling for the Northern Ireland Assembly election”

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  1. Thanks Anthony!

    Another interesting fact is that the viewing figures for the leader debate TV shows was up 70%.

    Turnout today is also up according to local polling station figures.

  2. Prof Howard

    Nice to see you back!

    Weren’t turnout figures in NI traditionally lower than in GB or the Republic?

    Has there been a continuing effect from voting in the EUref, I wonder.

  3. Good evening all from rural Hampshire…..

    The first thing that strikes me looking at the poll is…Boring boring boring. It appears nothing will change hands and then what..another election? direct control from Westminster?

    Maybe the Vatican and the Orange Order should form a unity coalition to run Stormont.

  4. ON – perhaps growing understanding of STV amongst the Electorate with more votes being meaningful than under FPTP has an impact on turnout?

  5. Jim Jam

    Maybe – though NI has a longer history of using PR systems than Scotland.

    Lucid Talk raise the much more prosaic possibility of folk just turning out earlier to vote because of the dark evenings – bloody cheek suggesting something so obvious to interrupt psephological speculation!

  6. Interesting to see tonight’s SLab PPB

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08h81qm/party-political-broadcasts-scottish-labour-party-02032017

    Other than the top and tail announcements of what it was, it could have been from any Unionist party in Scotland.

    Seems an odd strategy from a party that can’t “out-Unionist” SCon – and certainly can’t “out-Scottish” the SNP.

    I’ve seen some very clever and some utterly dire PPBs from all parties, but one that doesn’t link the emotion it tries to capture to voting for the party that broadcast it seems strange.

    I imagine Ruth Davidson may be a happy woman after seeing it.

  7. NI results not really expected till Friday afternoon (with a number of 5th seats possibly not till Saturday).

    Number Cruncher has a useful blog post on “what to look for” – given the normal disinterest shown about NI on this side of the Irish Sea / North Channel.

    https://www.ncpolitics.uk/2017/03/northern-ireland-assembly-election-and-ten-things-to-watch-for.html/

    In terms of the differential turnout he refers to, it seems that “In some polling districts it was over 70% at 9pm” – the question is “which districts”?

  8. Europe Elects?s tweet

    “High turnout in pro-EU, pro-Irish unification constituencies, low turnout in Leave strongholds.”

    Number Cruncher (just now) says higher turnout most likely in nationalist areas.

  9. You have to reme,ber that Northern Ireland votes almost exclusively on sectarian lines first and class lines within that.

    Indeed, to quote one DUP gay voter today “I/m a loyalist first and anything else after that” (The DUP opose gay marriage quite vehemently)

    Sinn Fein & SDLP – nationalist, virtually exclusively Roman Catholic.
    DUP – Unionist. Working class Protestant
    UUP – Unionist. Middle class Protestant.
    The Rest – not relevant and nobody pays any attention to them anyway.

    Even in the EU referendum there as littel move from this. Catholics voted Remain, middle class Protestants voted Remain, working class protestants voted Leave. Sinn Fein, voted Remain. SDLP voted Remain, UUP voted Remain. DUP voted Leave. Overall Northern Ireland voted Remain. Have a re-unification Referendum UUP voters will re-join their DUP bretheren and vote to remain in the UK.

    I really don’t know why the bother even letting people vote in NI.

  10. Andy

    Might have been useful if you had looked at the Lucid Talk data before posting that.

    Still, why should irrelevant stuff like data get in the way of prejudice – especially for someone that doesn’t even seem to comprehend the difference between Republican and Nationalist in the NI context/

  11. More from the mythical land of Brexit. CBI President Paul Dreshler has been expressing serious concerns about the possibility of leaving without a trade deal – May’s ‘no deal better than a bad deal’ option:

    ““Here in the UK and across the continent firms are worried about this ‘worst-case scenario’. Some are getting ready for it to reduce economic damage. Some won’t prepare because they’re hoping for a deal. But in reality many firms can’t prepare because the cost of change is simply too high to even consider it,” he said.

    Drechsler told the Guardian he had become increasingly concerned about suggestions that leaving without a new trade deal with the rest of the EU would be manageable.

    “There are now a number of people around who seem to think no deal would be fine; WTO rules would be fine. The more I hear that, the more I worry that that becomes the narrative,” he said.”

    This is the CBI talking, who aren’t averse to supporting Conservative policies now and then. Interestingly, the examples Dreshler gave of potential problems were not actually about tariffs. These can be accounted for reasonably easily within the sale price. The real problems are with regulation and general friction to movement of goods through things like customs checks.

  12. @oldnat

    Slab do seem to be caught in no man’s land don’t they? May’s speech tomorrow will be interesting; today she contradicted Mundell’s absolute guarantee of more powers for Holyrood given yesterday in the House of Commons!

  13. “Slab do seem to be caught in no man’s land don’t they?”

    Not just SLAB. All of Labour seems to be wandering around in the mud between the trenches, hopping in and out of flooded shell holes without any clear idea where they are heading or which even which direction they should be pointing their guns towards. Even if they had remembered to pick up their weapons.

    It’s completely shambolic watching their gyrations on Brexit, with the official party line now effectively being to back hard Brexit a la May – even as business leaders begin the long task of ensuring voters get to hear of how damaging this is going to be.

    Owen Jones took an interesting line yesterday, regarding the Corbyn supporters notion of him holding on to 2020, as they don’t wish to see the party go right again. He suggests that the very best way for Labour to go right (and stay right) is for Corbyn to lead them to defeat at the GE. All the leftist ideas will be thrown out, and there will be no future for the left in the party for a very long time.

    Keeping Corbyn to try to bolster the left is, in Owen’s views, completely counter productive, as Corbyn has proved himself incapable of the necessary abilities for such a leadership role.

    When we get to the point that the left is saying to itself that Corbyn is damaging the cause, I really do wonder how long it will be until the fall comes.

  14. @ Alex

    Paul Dreschler is way off the mark if he thinks goods and regulation will cause hold ups after Brexit. We ship all over the world, a lot under WTO rules, with very little problem. Technology bypasses most potential issues nowadays and allows quick production of paperwork, as long as UK companies make sure their back-office is effective very few problems will occur.

  15. @Bantams – you are living in a dream world.

    Listen to what Nissan are saying. If they lose two minutes on regular transaction times across EU borders, they describe this as a ‘financial disaster’.

    What you have just said precisely makes Dreshler’s point. Someone who represents UK exporters is telling you that simply falling back on WTO rules would be extremely difficult, and you glibly retort back to him that WTO rules would be fine.

    This, in a nutshell, is the problem we really have with Brexit at present.

    Listen to people who know what they are talking about, before it’s too late.

  16. @Bantams – the other logical inconsistency in your point is this;

    If exporting under WTO rules is so little problem, how come Brext folks tell us we will get such a big boost from all these trade deals once we leave the EU?

    Either WTO is fine, so the impacts of new deals will be limited, or WTO rules are a problem – which would explain why they think getting new deals would be so good, but then leaves you with the small problem of then facing problems when you lose trade efficiency with the EU.

    One or other please, but not both.

  17. Alex

    You might want to contrast the English Lab PPB with the Scots one that i linked to above.

    http://www.labour.org.uk/index.php/actions/doingrightbyeveryone

    I’m not making any points about the policy strategies, but the type of message being transmitted.

    Whether people agree with the English one or not, is irrelevant. It is clearly designed to create an emotional response among potential sympathisers to attract them to vote Labour.

    Then contrast that with the incoherent messaging from SLab.

    To follow up on your WWI analogy, SLab aren’t “wandering around in the mud between the trenches”. They’ve found a deep flooded shell hole, and jumped in (weighed down with rifle, ammunition belts and supplies) and have drowned.

  18. JimJam: “ON – perhaps growing understanding of STV amongst the Electorate with more votes being meaningful than under FPTP has an impact on turnout?”

    The Northern Irish system is designed to make voting meaningless. It is about who gets to me top Unionist Party, and who gets to be top Nationalist Party. Both of these get to veto everything. Anyone who is non-sectarian does not count, as non-aligned does not count for veto purposes, and if there is a Unionist and Nationalist majority for something, it will carry without even wondering what the non-aligned think.

  19. OLDNAT

    That is a shocker of a PPB from Scottish Slither. I really don’t know who these people think they are speaking for but division appears to be at the core of their politics. They need to understand that Scotland isn’t divided, ….it just detached herself from Labour.

    I see Number muncher is reporting some areas in NI the turnout is over 70%. Should be interesting to see the results when they come in.

  20. @ Alec:

    I think any sensible person on the Leave side would prefer a trade deal. Personally, I don’t mind if there is a transitional deal, a few extra years of budget contributions, even a few extra years of the ECJ. Mao said China could wait 200 years to get Taiwan, Leavers should be similarly philosophical.

    But you cannot enter the negotiations on the basis that you throw in your hand if the EU won’t deal. Of course, you should be mindful of the weaknesses in your position – but we also cannot be like Homer Simpson, “Before we start talking, I want you to know I will accept any offer you make.”

    Because, if you do that, the only deal we get from the EU are a list of demands to let us back in.

    I read the Guardian all the time. There seem to be awful lot of people above and below the line for whom that is the ideal scenario. I mean, when Cleggie chats to his friends in Brussels, would you put money on him pushing the idea of compromise, or discussing best tactics for getting the UK to throw in its hand? There has hardly been a Guardian article promoting the idea of a middle ground between surrender and no deal.- except from the few in house, long standing sceptics.

  21. joseph1832

    Someone else who doesn’t understand the difference between Republican and Nationalist in the NI context!

    Nor apparently, do you comprehend the importance of creating particular structures and the need for international agreements in a highly divided province, as part of the peace process.

    In any case you seem to be confusing the electoral system and how an administration is formed.

    Presumably, you also think that voting for Westminster is meaningless? After all, if there is a [Tory] and [Labour] majority [from England] for something, it will carry without even wondering what the non-aligned think.”

    Brexit has been a pretty clear demonstration that that is how the UK works.

  22. JOSEPH1832

    “The Northern Irish system is designed to make voting meaningless. It is about who gets to me top Unionist Party, and who gets to be top Nationalist Party. Both of these get to veto everything. Anyone who is non-sectarian does not count, as non-aligned does not count for veto purposes, and if there is a Unionist and Nationalist majority for something, it will carry without even wondering what the non-aligned think”
    _________

    It reminds of the football scene in Glasgow pre-Sevco where Celtic and the old Rangers fought for total city dominance with poor non-aligned Partick Thistle being squashed in the middle.

  23. Joseph – you maybe right but the prospect of for example a nationalist or unionist taking the 5th seat in a predominantly Unionist constituency might encourage voters out who might not bother otherwise.

    The most interesting part of this Election could be how many 2nd preferences split ‘traditions’ to use to non- religious based labels?

    If we see a modest but meaningful move from SDLP-All/UUP and UUP-Alliance/SDLP we may look back on these Elections as the beginning of the break-down in Sectarian voting patterns.

  24. Jim Jam

    For most voters, it’s more likely to be 3rd, 4th or 5th (if cast)preferences that cross traditional party divides, rather than “2nd”. The 2nd is likely to go to another candidate from the same party that got their 1st preference.

    Under STV systems, those voters who are strongly partisan often only vote for their “own” party. It’s those with more flexible attitudes that can decide the 4th & 5th seats in a NI constituency.

  25. @ANDY

    “Sinn Fein & SDLP – nationalist, virtually exclusively Roman Catholic.
    DUP – Unionist. Working class Protestant
    UUP – Unionist. Middle class Protestant.
    The Rest – not relevant and nobody pays any attention to them anyway.”

    The Alliance Party is not irrelevant – they are growing in strength as the NI equivalent of the Lib-Dems. Non-sectarian, largely middle class and pro-EU.

  26. Lucid Talk tweet

    SBelfast: T/O in middle class areas noticeably up (58-64%), in working class PUL areas same as NIA16 ie 48-53%. Could be good for Allnce/Grn

  27. @ Alec

    It won’t come to WTO rules for most future EU trade, there’s a lot of verbal shadow boxing going on at the moment. Don’t believe all the guff you’re hearing from different representative groups trying to get their spoke in.

    We as a company have been exporting to some countries under WTO rules for decades without a problem, though exchange rates have potentially a far bigger impact and are always a concern.

    Trade deals will make a big difference as it will open up new market access for some of our most important industries.

  28. Thanks ON – I haven’t voted in an STV Election for around 30 years, in fact only FPTP and Dehonte.

    You remind me, though, that parties do not always specify which candidate they would like supporters to give preference 1 to in an open list system.

    I don’t know if this is the case in these Elections and whether which candidate tops a poll from the same party can send signals. It certainly can in terms of party members choosing leaders as topping a list may or may not been seen as a sign of reach. (topping could just be a strong appeal to base)?

    Imagine in England, Momentum and Progress candidates on the same Labour ticket in multimember constituencies with an open list?

  29. Bantams

    Does your company have “just in time” supply lines with other countries?

    I can quite see that products that are entirely made from UK sourced components, and aren’t themselves part of supply chains to other countries might be unaffected.

    Of course, even some such products might still be affected, if the status of their product has protected status due to its origin, if that is no longer maintained via EU protection.

    Hard to generalise to all industry from a single company’s example, I’d have thought.

  30. Jim Jam

    Traditionally, in NI, the “establishment parties” were very skilled at identifying to their supporters who was the “No 1” candidate – and (as the vote progressed) also sending out the amended message that Candidate 1 had enough votes, so switch to Candidate 2!

    Whether such manipulation is still possible in NI, I have no idea, but (even in Scotland) in some wards, polling agents stick very close to polling staff leaving to have a smoke outside, and whipping out their mobile phone! :-)

  31. @Millie

    “I said it was ‘all about scale’. I should also have said ‘and timing’.”

    ————-

    Oh sure. Concorde is a classic example. They do the research and it’s clear they could clean up in the business market. And then… the oil crisis hit. Oil prices quadruple. Later they double again. Supersonic flight was quite thirsty fuel wise. Suddenly, big problem.

    Course, that wasn’t the only issue, Countries banned it from flying overland because of noise issues. Of course, there could have been a bit of jealousy involved…

    In hindsight, two lessons. Lesson one, is they could have scaled down, to much smaller business jets. This would have dramatically reduced the noise issue.

    But secondly, it was a bad call, because not enough spin off. They needed to invest in tech with much broader applications, like the net, space, or the original jet engine even. Then if one angle gets screwed up by circumstance, there are plenty other options,

    But as usual, they didn’t ask me…

  32. Carfrew,

    Has there been a major misallocation of government funds when they DIDN’T neglect to ask for your opinion first? If not, then there’s clearly a pattern there…

  33. I should add, smaller business jets would mitigate the fuel issue too. Peeps are looking into it now, notably the French I think. Whatever, we’re building a spaceport and gonna go hypersonic. In one version of my utopia…

  34. Or maybe several spaceports, one isn’t enough apparently…

  35. If only Carfrew had been running the country for the last twenty years. How much better off we’d be!

  36. @Bill P

    “Has there been a major misallocation of government funds when they DIDN’T neglect to ask for your opinion first? If not, then there’s clearly a pattern there…”

    ——–

    Well one would imagine there would be quite a few. You can’t expect me to keep up with all the misallocations…

  37. @Pete B

    “If only Carfrew had been running the country for the last twenty years. How much better off we’d be!”

    ——–

    Yes I shouldn’t have posted it late at night with the inveterate bubbble-bursters around.

    Anyway, while you’re here, your comment a couple of days ago about buying cheap houses… apart from obvious issues like how they might be in employment black spots, crime black spots, with lesser schools etc…

    …You missed the broader point of how those in the SE in particular, have ALREADY benefitted hugely and secured quite the advantage with their vastly inflated house prices.

  38. Tancred – “The Alliance Party is not irrelevant – they are growing in strength as the NI equivalent of the Lib-Dems. Non-sectarian, largely middle class and pro-EU.”

    I’m sure they are lovely, but even if they topped the vote, they wouldn’t be allowed to govern.

    Each MLA has to designate themselves as “nationalist”, “unionist”, or “other”

    Then the top nationalist party and the top unionist party form a power-sharing govt.

    It excludes the “others”.

    That’s why the govt fell – the Sinn Feiners pulled out, the other nationalist party (SDLP) didn’t have enough seats, and the system prohibited making a coalition with DUP-UUP-Alliance or some other combination

    They’d have a constitutional crisis if two “other” parties got the most seats – say Alliance and Greens, and the nationalists and unionists got a handful of seats. Because the others are not allowed to form a govt, only the nationalists and unionists are, in a power-share. It’s a mad system (what was Blair thinking?)

  39. “If only Carfrew had been running the country for the last twenty years. How much better off we’d be!”

    ——–

    Given a choice of:
    – Theresa May
    – Boris Johnson
    – Jeremy Corbyn
    – Donald Trump
    – Francois Fillon
    – Marine le Pen
    – Carfrew…

    I’d vote for Carfrew every time.

    If it were:
    – Ed Miliband
    – Nicola Sturgeon
    – Sadiq Khan
    – Barack Obama
    – Angela Merkel
    – Carferew…

    It’s a much closer call.

    And, of course, if Miserable Old Git were on the ballot it’s a no-brainer. Nobody with a brain – me included – would vote for me.

  40. @alec and joseph1282

    the following (not from the Guardian!) may be relevant to the viability of WTO rules as a credible plan B

    http://www.standard.co.uk/business/anthony-hilton-disaster-lurks-in-may-s-empty-bluff-on-trade-a3480301.html

  41. @joseph1832 – apologies for getting your name wrong

    and good morning to all from sunny Ontario where it is predicted to be -21c on Friday and Saturday

  42. did i see that labour had lost salford to the Tories in locals?

  43. no i did not labour lost a seat on salford council.

  44. @bantams

    If your company exports so successfully under WTO rules why would new trade agreements make much difference?

  45. @ Hireton

    We export specialist printer parts and WTO really makes no difference to us. There are procedures to follow in terms of providing universal commodity codes, as I was saying before if your back-office is efficient it’s easy. You’re right that I can’t see how trade agreements will benefit us at the moment but we’re in our own bubble.

  46. Joseph1832,
    “you cannot enter the negotiations on the basis that you throw in your hand if the EU won’t deal.”
    The formal positions of the EU is clear and has always been. There is a set menu of options and we can choose one. Negotiations will only be about details, such as the bill. May has said she does not like any of the options and is going to walk away. What is there to negotiate?

    The government has spent some time trying to set up machinery to even handle Brexit, but its announcements say it is no further forward with finding a solution to the complete incompatibility of our stated position and any worthwhile trade deal with the EU.

  47. OLDNAT

    Many thanks for the reference to the NumberCruncher piece. I am very interested in how NI votes so looking forward to see how it pans out, especially after the reports of very high turnouts in pro EU pro unification areas.

  48. Another update on the UK economy. While growth continues there are more signs of the slowdown that both Alec and I have been forecasting for this year.
    Markit / CIPS UK Services PMI®
    Service sector growth eases to five-month low in February
    Key findings:
    Business activity expands at slowest pace since September 2016
    Softer rise in new work, but business optimism remains strong
    Input cost inflation reaches an eight-and-a-half year high
    Data collected February 10-24 UK service sector firms remained in expansion mode during February, but growth momentum eased further from the 17-month peak seen at the end of 2016. The slowdown mainly reflected a softer pace of new business growth, which some respondents linked to more cautious spending among consumers. Business confidence nonetheless remained strong, with service providers indicating that optimism was little-changed from the post-referendum high recorded at the start of this year. Higher business costs were the main negative development in February, with average input prices rising at the steepest pace since August 2008. This led to the largest increase in prices charged by service providers for almost eight-and-a-half years. At 53.3 in February, the headline seasonally adjusted Markit/CIPS UK Services PMI® Business Activity Index was down from 54.5 in January but still well above the 50.0 threshold that separates growth from contraction. The latest reading indicated the slowest expansion of overall business activity since last September. However, the index was broadly in line with its average for 2016 (53.2).

  49. AW

    My apologies, I should not respond when people are rude to me, I should just ignore them.

  50. Steady on with the Lord Haw Haw comparisons – he threatened to bomb Sidmouth in a wartime broadcast. The man was a complete bounder.

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