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. “We’re short of both – critically short in the case of engineers, ”

    In which case you will have to

    (i) make do with what you have by improving productivity.
    (ii) invest in automation and technology to make better use with what you have
    (iii) invest in training and education to bring on new people.

    Or close and release your staff to a firm that can do any or all of the above.

    We can’t go around the world stealing their skilled resources.

  2. @David Welch

    “Surely, most of the extra SNP MPs have resulted in fewer Labour MPs and hence given a greater chance of a Tory HoC majority.”

    ——–

    There might be a greater chance of a Tory majority but less need to be concerned about it if you’re not into their policies because more isolated from Westminster, Austerity etc. because of Devolution and Barnet.

    Indy peeps might prefer this state of affairs with as furthering their aims…

  3. CARFREW

    Fascinating insight into the way your mind works. Thanks.

    Have a pleasant afternoon.

  4. I couldn’t help thinking of Alec and his ongoing critique of Corbyn competence, when I saw he and McDonnell had published their tax returns.

    Well, that certainly is a can of worms. Diane Abbott is now saying that publishing will be a matter for the Shadow Cabinet to decide. And that will put pressure on the PLP, and numerous Labour donors.

    The plan to make everyone who earns over £1 million publish their returns is an own goal. On the face of it, a potential vote-winner, but I suspect it is a proper banana skin ( apologies to D Miliband ). The Tories will just say, as Hammond did, ‘no we don’t agree’ and let the press and social media devour the hypocrite Labour people who refuse to disclose, and pore over the accounts of those that do.

    You get the feeling that there’s no-one at the top of Labour who is saying ‘hold on a minute…’

    Can’t wait to get down the pub and demand that my Labour friends publish their tax returns in the local paper.

  5. @Neil Wilson

    “We can’t go around the world stealing their skilled resources.”

    ‘Stealing’ is a ridiculous way to describe skilled migration. ‘Stealing’ people is called ‘kidnapping’, Neil.

    I….I can’t believe I even need to write that.

  6. Chris Riley

    Precisely,

    I’m sure the vast majority of skilled migrants WANT to explore new opportunities.

    Frankly, I’m beginning to look forward to being “stolen” and forced to research AI in exchange for being paid a fair wage for it.

    If anything, I’d consider moves to force me to stay here and restrict my freedom to take my skills elsewhere as closer to kidnapping than Neil Wilson’s definition.

  7. CHRIS RILEY

    Neil Wilson was quite right to describe it as “stealing”.

    If your countries economy & companies need employees with skill A, and your country & its companies have failed to produce educational & training facilities which satisfy that need, then nicking them from countries which have is a form of “stealing”.

    If the domestic skill shortage is in a seasonal . or short term category-or in an ultra specialist category of global shortage, then going into the world Labour Market can be justified. But if we continue to countenance serious structural skill shortages in key economic skill sets , then lazily importing them amounts to stealing.

    I read, I am pleased to say, that Hammond will address our woeful approach to vocational training in the Budget. A welcome sign that he understands that a post Brexit Economy needs structural underpinning-not a Pop Up Workforce.

  8. @ToH

    “Have a pleasant afternoon”

    ———-

    Thanks Howard, you too!!…

  9. @MILLIE

    “I couldn’t help thinking of Alec….”

    ——–

    ‘Bout time there was a board romance…

  10. The prospect of a SF lead administration can’t be ruled out.

  11. Interesting debate on ‘stealing’ talent.

    Of course persuading free willed citizens to move to another country to work of their own volition isn’t stealing in any meaningful sense of the word, but equally it is an economic strategy that does carry with it a number of practical and moral implications, which I suspect is what @Colin and @Neil Wilson are getting at.

    It’s a good example, in my view, of how economics has developed too thick a skin, choosing to view economic theories through a too narrowly focused lens that only judges issues of tightly defined economic efficiency, rather than the wider social, environmental and personal implications.

    As a consequence, I do have some sympathy with the ‘stealing’ approach. I would personally extend this analogy to some private sector service providers in areas like health and education. In the UK, to my knowledge these sectors don’t tend to run their own training schools, but instead rely on taxpayer funded instuitutions to develop the staff with the specific skills they need. They are, to extend the analogy. ‘stealing’ staff from the public sector, with no contribution to their costs of training.

    In both overseas trained staff and the public/private sector cases, I would argue the solution is reasonably starightforward: the country training the staff imposes some form of contract liability on the individual, requiring them to work in the public sector in their country of training for a specified term if they choose to go into the vocational role they trained for.

    If they choose instead to migrate overseas, or work for the private sector, they would be liable for a declining proportion of their training costs, declining with each year worked in the public sector.

  12. ALAN

    Not wanting to live in UK is your privilege.

    If you have had the advantage of a higher education & qualification from this country-and decide to exploit it in another country, that also is your privilege.

    No doubt some will have an opinion on your point of view.

  13. I dream of Millie……

  14. ALEC

    For me it has nothing to do with ” the wider social, environmental and personal implications.” -whatever they are.

    It is about Economic “Security”-by which I mean a structural domestic underpinning of supply for key manpower skills.

    If your economy is too tilted to Inward Investment , supported by regulatory & tax incentives , and you compound this vulnerability by supplying it with imported Materials & Manpower ( & even Energy !!!) -then you have a pack of cards for an economy , which can disappear overnight.

    I am not suggesting that Inward Investment, Competitive Tax Rates , and strategic Immigration of skills are bad things-far from it. But there is a balance, beyond which you just have a Pop Up Economy.

  15. For those interested in the idea of a universal basic income –

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/mar/06/utopian-thinking-poverty-universal-basic-income

    This offers a new (ish) slant of the age old notion of deserving and undeserving poor, and ideas of whether or not poverty or success is pre ordained.

    The claim is that being poor affects people’s decision making, resulting in poor choices, and does for once appear to be a journalistic piece which actually cites evidence to back up the case being made.

  16. Well, as I said, it appears that conservatives are now all Heselteenies after all these years. Blow me down.

    Folks, there’s something I *do* need to point out though. Training a lot of people in high-level, globally-scarce skills costs *a lot* of money.

    So, which taxes do we increase to pay for it all?

    PS I am very much in favour of raising taxes to properly fund things the country needs.

  17. @Colin

    If someone has paid the thick end of 30 grand for their degree then they can do whatever they like with it.

    if we want people to be obliged to stay here after they’ve got a qualification, then we should stop charging them for the privilege of getting the qualifications our economy needs.

  18. ALEC

    The study the writer relies on is not without its critics :-

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4511075/

    …and other studies , with other conclusions are available :-

    http: // repository.usfca.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1148&context=thes

  19. CHRIS RILEY

    Perhaps you missed my response to ALAN:-

    If you have had the advantage of a higher education & qualification from this country-and decide to exploit it in another country, that also is your privilege.

  20. @Colin

    I sort of agree with you – while I don’t want to restrict any individual’s freedom,. structuring our economy so that it is dependent on importing scarce skills from countries that can ill-afford to lose their educated resources smacks of a form of imperialism, as well as creating long-term structural issues and risks for our own economy.

    The problem is that to address these structural issues requires money, in two forms:
    – first, in the form of tax pounds; to invest in training, and in higher wages for those staff performing direct (NHS) or indirect (social care) public service roles that are currently under-paid;
    – second, in the form of increased prices to support higher wages in low-wage production//service roles – higher food process to support agricultural wages, higher prices in you local coffee shop to support higher wages in the food and drink sector.

    What I would like to see is some willingness from anyone – Brexiteer or Remainer – to pick up the inevitable bill by paying higher prices and taxes.

    We’ve spent thirty-five years being told that we can have better government services alongside lower taxes; this is just one example of the idiocy of this view – it is total rubbish of course, but no-one is willing to challenge this orthodoxy openly as to do so is to throw away elections…

  21. ‘higher food prices’ not ‘higher food process’!
    Spell check is a bummer…

  22. CHRIS RILEY

    @”Well, as I said, it appears that conservatives are now all Heselteenies after all these years. Blow me down.”

    I don’t understand why you are surprised-given the central role Hezza had in Osborne’s City Hub Devolution/ Northern Powerhouse stuff.

    For my part- Heseltinian theory on all that Joseph Camberlain in Birmingham stuff is on the button. May thinks so too since Old Jo C is some sort of Deity to Nick Timothy ( without whom she does not move) .

    But Hezza also thinks Euroland is the ultimate thing-and so far as I can tell , still thinks UK should & will join the Euro…………presumably why he is busy trying to stop Brexit.?

  23. BFR

    @”The problem is that to address these structural issues requires money,”

    Yes.

    Hammond is going to raise taxes on the Self Employed to fund Vocational Training as I understand it.

    I think Brexit is going to force this country to think about things it hasn’t had to bother with for years.

  24. @ALEC

    “I dream of Millie……”

    ——-

    What if Millie finds out about Nadine though…

  25. Perhaps we can take comfort from the Premier League…..Rich foreigners take over our industries, employ foreign managers, import foreign staff, no need to train our own, result….massive commercial success and Worldwide admiration, Make Britain Great again, we have the model. ;-)

  26. Bigfatron

    Are you allowed to say that anymore? or was it the autobod?

  27. KEN

    @”we have the model. ”

    Yeah-interesting model :-

    “On average 89% of additional revenue generated by the ‘big five’ European leagues in 2014/15 was spent on wage costs.

    Premier League clubs’ wage costs increased by 7% to exceed £2 billion for the first time.

    Soft loans – clubs’ borrowings typically from their ownerson interest-free terms – increased in 2014/15 by £91m
    (5%), and still remains by far the largest component of
    clubs’ net debt, accounting for 75% of the total.

    Championship clubs’ wage costs rose by 4% to £541m
    in 2014/15. Despite a reduction in the overall wages/
    revenue ratio, clubs spent almost as much on wages
    as they generated in revenue, which remains an
    unsustainable level of spending without the support of
    owner funding. ”

    Selected from :-
    Annual Review of Football
    Finance 2016
    Deloittes

    So -as you say we just need more Rich Foreigners & a big increase in Mansion Construction.

    Perhaps I’m wrong about immigration ? :-)

  28. I think automation will definitely improve productivity and remove jobs in the service industries, but not necessarily quite in the way that it is traditionally portrayed.

    There has been some jocular cynicism, for example, about the ability of robots to care for old folks, and the willingness of old folks to be thus cared for.

    But for me, particularly as the receptacle of many moans and whinges from my wife when she worked in a care home, the secret is probably in re-designing and automating the buildings themselves. The AI doesn’t have to be in mobile androids.

    Beds can report on the movement of their occupants, and on the presence of bodily fluids. Rooms can report on the chemical composition of their atmospheres to identify breathing difficulties. Face recognition cameras and pattern analysis can detect who should be allowed to leave and who is on a Deprivation of Liberty order.

    Hoists could be semi-automated, so one slight carer can easily lift and reposition a fallen resident. Food preparation could be largely automated.

    No “Call Me Betty” robots needed, but three staff might be able to operate an entire 36 bed home.

  29. @Alec

    Chronic stress (already mentioned in this thread) can result in permanently elevated levels of cortisol which impairs brain development, among other effects.

    http://www.apa.org/pi/families/resources/newsletter/2012/07/stress-mechanism.aspx

    Low birth weight is twice as likely to occur in poor families than the better off. The effects of that can be felt for years and some children never quite make up for the effect of low birth weight.

    A child’s life can be blighted before conception. If a woman’s nutritional status is less than optimal at conception, no organ of the child will develop to its full potential. That child will achieve lower educational standards and probably will struggle to find and keep a good job. Any offspring he or she has is likely to suffer the effects of being brought up in poverty.

    As I said earlier, the remedy is the re-distribution of wealth, power and income. No Scottish government has the means to do that most effectively

  30. Good spot Alex, an article well worth reading. Some highlights…

    “It all started when I accidently stumbled on a paper by a few American psychologists. They had travelled 8,000 miles, to India, to carry out an experiment with sugar cane farmers. These farmers collect about 60% of their annual income all at once, right after the harvest. This means they are relatively poor one part of the year and rich the other. The researchers asked the farmers to do an IQ test before and after the harvest. What they discovered blew my mind. The farmers scored much worse on the tests before the harvest. The effects of living in poverty, it turns out, correspond to losing 14 points of IQ. That’s comparable to losing a night’s sleep, or the effects of alcoholism.

    A few months later I discussed the theory with Eldar Shafir, a professor of behavioural science and public policy at Princeton University and one of the authors of this study. The reason, put simply: it’s the context, stupid. People behave differently when they perceive a thing to be scarce. What that thing is doesn’t much matter; whether it’s time, money or food, it all contributes to a “scarcity mentality”. This narrows your focus to your immediate deficiency. The long-term perspective goes out of the window. Poor people aren’t making dumb decisions because they are dumb, but because they’re living in a context in which anyone would make dumb decisions.”

    and…

    “The experiment had started in Dauphin, a town north-west of Winnipeg, in 1974. Everybody was guaranteed a basic income ensuring that no one fell below the poverty line. And for four years, all went well. But then a conservative government was voted into power. The new Canadian cabinet saw little point in the expensive experiment. So when it became clear there was no money left for an analysis of the results, the researchers decided to pack their files away. In 2,000 boxes.

    When Forget found them, 30 years later, no one knew what, if anything, the experiment had demonstrated. For three years she subjected the data to all manner of statistical analysis. And no matter what she tried, the results were the same every time. The experiment – the longest and best of its kind – had been a resounding success.

    Forget discovered that the people in Dauphin had not only become richer, but also smarter and healthier. The school performance of children improved substantially. The hospitalisation rate decreased by as much as 8.5%. Domestic violence was also down, as were mental health complaints. And people didn’t quit their jobs – the only ones who worked a little less were new mothers and students, who stayed in school longer.

    So here’s what I’ve learned. When it comes to poverty, we should stop pretending to know better than poor people. The great thing about money is that people can use it to buy things they need instead of things self-appointed experts think they need. Imagine how many brilliant would-be entrepreneurs, scientists and writers are now withering away in scarcity. Imagine how much energy and talent we would unleash if we got rid of poverty once and for all.”

  31. @Sam

    “Chronic stress (already mentioned in this thread) can result in permanently elevated levels of cortisol which impairs brain development, among other effects.”

    ——–

    And as Rowntree discovered in his seminal study, the poor have oft been hit by multiple misfortunes simultaneously, which is what will bring down most, and are unable to save and build up buffers and network.

    Plus some parts of the country get much more assistance than others… Especially in the banking orbit…

  32. COLIN…..In my old job we used to hold, ‘ break out ‘ sessions, you’d be surprised at the sort of carp highly educated people are capable of producing when the adrenaline starts flowing. ( Then again, perhaps you wouldn’t be )
    Grant Thornton reported last week that their new recruitment strategy, employing unqualified youngsters, rather than graduates, has been a spectacular success, resulting in a new, ‘ elite ‘ of, ‘ in house ‘, trained, senior staff. What a surprise ! ;-)

  33. @Neil A

    “There has been some jocular cynicism, for example, about the ability of robots to care for old folks, and the willingness of old folks to be thus cared for.
    But for me, particularly as the receptacle of many moans and whinges from my wife when she worked in a care home, the secret is probably in re-designing and automating the buildings themselves. The AI doesn’t have to be in mobile androids.”

    ———–

    It’s not cynicism about the ability, Neil. It may well happen eventually. It’s the time frame. The idea that scotching immigration will suddenly unleash robots in areas still a long way short.

    If you don’t have a multipurpose robot, that’s a lot of single use different tech you’re gonna need, and with no versatility for needs that might crop up.

    Even partially automating is gonna take a while, and it’s still leaving the problem of productivity not improving enough elsewhere where immigration doesn’t figure do much. Despite Corporation Tax cuts etc.

    Truth is, we have created an economy in which it makes more return with less risk to invest in assets than robots.

    And even if we automate more and more, productivity goes up but then you have to spend the proceeds on paying peeps to not work? Which might be ok but it doesn’t seem like productivity is necessarily the main deal…

  34. @Kenski

    “Perhaps we can take comfort from the Premier League…..Rich foreigners take over our industries, employ foreign managers, import foreign staff, no need to train our own, result….massive commercial success and Worldwide admiration, Make Britain Great again, we have the model. ;-)”

    ———

    Nope, we’re not letting Ruskies or Frenchies buying Anthony out!! It’s UKpr, not UKPRski!!

  35. More Brexit concerns in Ireland

    “But products such as cheese, butter and alcoholic drinks offer a perfect illustration of why the situation is even worse than many realize. The supply chains north and south of the border are so intricately interwoven that raw materials often travel back-and-forth across the border several times during processing, packaging and bottling. In short, goods never intended for export to the U.K. must still pass in and out of the U.K. during their manufacture.

    ““The real harm would be to smaller companies and farms, many of whom are part of our supply chain,” he said. Loomes said the numerous small businesses and farms that supply Diageo with milk and barley for its liqueur and beer would face “enormous disruption” and very significant additional costs that could threaten jobs and livelihoods.”

    “The implications for the rural economy are, indeed, dire. Diageo uses 5 percent of the Republic of Ireland’s total dairy output every year in Baileys. That amounts to 275 million liters of milk, from 40,000 cows on 1,500 Irish farms.”

    “The production of milk aptly illustrates how open the land border is: About one-third of the milk produced on Northern Ireland’s farms — nearly 600 million liters — goes to Ireland for processing,” he said. “An example product journey would be milk from a farm in Northern Ireland going over the border for processing and pasteurization. That milk then returns to Northern Ireland for processing into cheese, and then to a distribution center for sales to the Northern Ireland, Great Britain and Irish markets.”

    “One particular concern is that the British enthusiasm for cutting free from Brussels could create regulatory, as well as physical, barriers to trade. The U.K.’s farming and environment minister, Andrea Leadsom, has promised a “bonfire of EU regulations” after Brexit. Different regulatory standards would throw cross-border trade into chaos.”

  36. Le Colin

    “So -as you say we just need more Rich Foreigners & a big increase in Mansion Construction.”

    ———

    Well the French are taking over cars following energy so maybe it’s happening as we speak!!…

  37. ‘@Carfrew

    Yes,”and are unable to save and build up buffers and network.”

    But do not necessarily lack resilience?

    “especially in the banking orbit”. Indeed.

    Sometimes, you seem interested to know why some Scots are in favour of independence. My reason is that only independence allows the prospect of being able to vote for a party that might be willing to do something useful about poverty in Scotland.

    No doubt you have noticed the “ifs” in that last staement

  38. @BFR

    “thirty-five years being told that we can have better government services alongside lower taxes”

    ———

    Well you sometimes can if you invest. In efficiencies, but also in revenue earners for councils. That’s why councils sometimes invest in commercial property etc., but there are other ways…

    Or investing in preventative healthcare to reduce costs etc. etc.

  39. KEN

    @”What a surprise ! ;-)”

    I read that report. Good to see other firms following suite.

    I wasn’t surprised at all-given whats happening in our universities at present.

  40. @Sam

    “Sometimes, you seem interested to know why some Scots are in favour of independence. My reason is that only independence allows the prospect of being able to vote for a party that might be willing to do something useful about poverty in Scotland.

    No doubt you have noticed the “ifs” in that last Statement”

    ——–

    I’ve often been interested and have hoovered up numerous reasons, from constitutional reasons like the issue of devolution being reversible, to investing oil proceeds in Sovereign wealth funds or renewables.

    Statty used to mention the poverty reason, in fact…

  41. @alec “You’ve rather missed the bus on this. The UK agriculture sector is already 75,000 workers short due to …..err…a mass exodus of EU workers.”

    The agriculture sector needs 75,000 seasonal workers a year and has asked the Government to provide work permits for that number. Please provide a source that shows there has been a mass exodus that has caused this and it is not just the seasonal number they usually need.

  42. Colin

    I’m paying for my MSc out of my own savings. If the government was paying for it as part of a drive to make the UK a centre for AI and Machine Learning then maybe those people with a view on things might have a point.

    If the UK government was offering an attractive bursary to do a PhD with the same aims and I took that option, those people might have a point.

    Even if I started a PhD here with European Research Council funding, I have no idea post Brexit if that funding would even continue or whether the government would just “walk away” from that commitment and spend it on the NHS instead. I’ve heard nothing reassuring on this and lots of worrying signals about the UK being willing to abandon all commitments related to Europe at the point of Brexit.

    If a German university wants to offer me a competitive salary to lure me away, as far as I’m concerned that’s a win for me. It’s simply a case of them valuing me significantly more. It’s a case of having different priorities. TM might make lovely speeches about how important the industry is going to be but if she doesn’t put money into it, she doesn’t really value it.

    I’m sure those people with a view on things can at least understand my rationale.

  43. @Chris Riley “We’re also finding it harder to attract engineers and R&D specialists from overseas because we’re perceived as a less attractive option to non-UK nationals than hitherto (although cost of living is also a factor). We’re short of both – critically short in the case of engineers, as we don’t have enough people as it is to deliver the infrastructure projects that are supposed to keep the economy ticking over.”

    These are exactly the types of individuals we should be rolling out the red carpet to with fast track PR or citizenship and even lower tax incentives while they are on work permits.

  44. KEN

    Indeed Ken, what a surprise!

    :-)

  45. @Danny “I do not think there will be a mass exodus of EU workers. For starters if they stay they will be given settlement rights in the UK and they will still have their EU citizenship. So the best of both worlds.
    Finding more nurses will be a function of advertisement and incentive with a liberal work permit system ”
    But you are contradicting yourself. The newcomers will want settlement rights just as much as those already here.”

    There is no problem having settlement rights for skilled migrants once they have worked in the country paying taxes for 4-5 years. I have not said anything contradictory. I just point out that it is in the EU citizens best interests who already here to ensure their historical rights are maintained before the work permit system comes into effect for new arrivals.

  46. CARFREW XIANSHENG……We no longer need to indulge Europeans with our enlightenment, they just don’t understand the World. Our Oriental friends, on the other hand, share the bigger picture, imagine, Hull – twinned with Chongqing, Wolverhampton – twinned with Shanghai, Tunbridge Wells – twinned with Beijing……the future is, ‘ butong ‘ ;-)

  47. @Millie – Corbyn’s paperwork challenge

    I know it’s risible. Can’t even fill out a form correctly.

  48. ALAN

    @” TM might make lovely speeches about how important the industry is going to be but if she doesn’t put money into it, she doesn’t really value it.”

    Looks like she values it:-

    http://cognitionx.com/uk-digital-strategy-importance-ai-uk-government/

  49. “The U.K.’s farming and environment minister, Andrea Leadsom, has promised a “bonfire of EU regulations” after Brexit.”

    Well lets just hope that she pays attention to Council Regulation (EEC) No 2158/92 on protection of the EU’s forests against fire before she proceed to light the blue touchpaper.

  50. I wonder if any polling will be done in African countries about their reaction to the apparent decision of the UK Government to name (informally presumably) its post Brexit trade drive in Africa “Empire 2.0” On the other hand, polling might not be needed.

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