Sinn Fein to sustain minimal electoral damage

Despite the heavy weather in terms of the party’s press coverage since the Northern Bank raid, they have only lost 3.5% of support since the last Assembly election. Welcome news for beleaguered activists. The Nationalist game is (in theory) currently tied. In reality, the SDLP will take little comfort from these figures. But the news is even worse for David Trimble:

Support for the DUP has increased further from the high of its Assembly election performance of 25.6% to 28% now. Today’s poll contains very bad news for David Trimble, however – support for the Ulster Unionist Party has slumped from the already low 22.7% in November 2003, to just 16%. If translated into reality at the ballot boxes in two months, it could leave the party with just one or two Westminster seats.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    So by reading this usually reliable Telegraph poll Sinn Fein are actually on 69%.

  • Mick Fealty

    Pat, can you show us your working out?

  • George

    Page can’t be displayed, could you put up the poll figures?

  • Keith M

    The swing back to the SDLP could be very significant. If replicated evenly around the country it would mean that McGrady would hold on without difficulty and that Durkan will easily hold Foyle. It could also see Gildernew lose out in F/ST even if both Unionist parties run candidates.

    As for the unionist side, it appears to be “game, set and match” to the DUP. On 16% they would have difficulty holding on to ANY seat.

  • peteb

    Mick

    Hmm.. given the repeated predictions in some quarters of a “melt-down” in support for the SDLP in the forthcoming elections.. I’m not sure I’d agree with your statement that they “will take little comfort from these figures”.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Mick,

    my own figues were entirely scientific, I took the SF published figure of 20% divided it by 20, because my daughter is that age. I then multiplied the result by 69, because the troubles started in 69.
    It is entirely consistent and carries as much validity as other polls. I have an MA in Social Science Methodology.

  • J Kelly

    Were is the swing back to the SDLP it was reported on Talkback an opinion poll just prior to the Assembly elections in 2003 gave a very similar finding and we all know how that turned out. SF will be very very happy with this poll. The SDLP will be distraught because they know that opinion polls have consistently underplayed SF true support. If after two and a half months of an unprecedented onslaught from all quaters SF are holding their own I would argue that its the SDLP who are under pressure not SF. Bring on the elections. A true opinion poll will be published on Saturday then we will see the truth.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Dripping in sarcasm though it is, has made the most relevant point. Polls in Northern Ireland always underestimate the true support of Sinn Fein, sometimes significantly – like in the last election.

    This is often true on the unionist side too, with the DUP doing better than the poll suggests.

    If I was the SDLP, I’d be worried, although I suspect it will see the poll result as encouraging – even knowing that the last poll was inaccurate. The UUP…? Oh man. Time to panic.

    What is this reticence from people to say they vote for SF or DUP anyway?

  • Christopher Stalford

    Gonzo

    I agree entirely. Given that polls have consistently underestimated the DUP level of support, the true figure for the party might be around 32-36% of the vote. This is not an unreasonable statement to make, given that Jim Allister polled 32% last June.

    Assuming that in our, 2-2 party system (ie. 2 Unionist parties fighting over roughly 52% of the vote, and 2 nationalist parties fighting over roughly 40% in the vote) a rise of 1% for one party equals a fall of 1% for the other, then my guess is the real level of support for the UUP might be as low as 13% in the country.

  • peteb

    The difference between that pre-election poll in 2003 – which some seem to see as significant – and now, is that then Sinn Féin were able, aided and abetted by the governments’ constructive ambiguity and a mostly compliant media, to run a campaign blaming the UUP for the collapse of the ‘groundbreaking’ deal in October 2003..

    They do not have that cover available this time.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    I doubt if that will matter now.

  • J Kelly

    Peteb but what Sinn Fein do have is a very politicised republican constituency to trawl votes in who can easily see through the current issues. Also SF offer a first class constituency service and if Derry is anything to go by then they will out poll the SDLP no problem.

  • George

    Could somebody put up the poll results as the link does not display.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Was there anyone out there who really believed that SF would be damaged electorally by the latest frenzy?

  • George

    Have the link now, interesting overall results.

    Combined DUP and UUP vote down 4.3% on the 2003 Assembly and 5.3% on the 2001 Westminster elections.

    Combined SF and SDLP vote down 0.5% on the 2003 Assembly and down 2.7% on the 2001 Westminster elections.

    Can one conclude that the overall straight unionist vote is slipping from this?

  • J Kelly

    Pat

    Tim Attwood, Damien McAtteer, Ronan Mc Kay and a few other stoop back room boys who Mark Durkan listens too every day.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    JK,

    to think Tim is following brother Alec ‘Stalingrad’ Attwood into battle in West Belfast. Car crash television if ever there was.

  • J Kelly

    Pat is Tim standing for the council elections.

  • DessertSpoon

    Why don’t people want to say they vote for SF or the DUP?

    That’s easy – who wants to be known as a supporter of extremist obstructionist politics, bigotry,prejudice and paramilitaries.

    Secret ballots are wonderful things aren’t they!

  • DessertSpoon

    Wonderful once again it appears the voting public have learned nothing and will continue to vote TRIBAL. So far that’s really worked hasn’t it!!

  • PaddyCanuck

    Does anyone have any early feedback from the Meath by election?

  • Henry94

    b Paddy

    It would be very early feedback.

    It’s no on until tomorrow.

  • J Kelly

    Paddy SF have outpolled the PD’s by two to one and Michael Mc Dowell has applied to join SF.

  • ulsterman

    Very interesting. The DUP polled 32% at the Euro elections. With a vote like this the DUP could well take up to 11 of the Westminster seats. The DUP will back down in Fermanagh and S.Belfast ensuring UUP victories there.No where else is the UUP safe.

    For the SDLP Durkan and McGrady were always certs.
    The other three Papist seats will go to SF.That is unless the McCartney sisters stand. Their entry into Papist seats could well leave both the SDLP and SF running for cover.

    Roll on May. The Unionists shall be victorious. We won. Lets enjoy the fruits of victory.

    God Save The Queen.

  • ulsterman

    As for the by election in Meath. What interest would I have in a by election in a foreign country?.

    God Save The Queen.

  • PaddyCanuck

    Duh, I have tomorrow off, I have a long weekend, and thought it was friday!!! wOOPS

  • ulsterman

    The SF candidate lost and the IRA shot him, hehe.

  • fair_deal

    I wonder if Michael McGimpsey is wondering whether the Belfast South nomination is worth having now?

  • ulsterman

    I am sure he is. To win S.Belfast the SDLP would meed at least 15000 votes. In no election in it have they ever got much more than ten. They have no chance in S,Belfast. The Unionist turnout will also be very high to stop the seat falling to our enemies.

    McGimpsey will win not because of any love of him are his policy of appeasement but because the seat must be kept out of the clutches of Rome.

    God Save The Queen.

  • canwebanulstermanplease

    NI elections – yaaaawnn.

    sod me – I’m a Queen!

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    JK,

    Tim is standing in Upper Falls in the Council Elections.

  • samneilson

    Crikey,’j’ Kelly,

    you do seem to be an expert on elections don’t you.

    Seem to be putting a lot of stock in A Unionist newspapers ‘poll’ – very unrepublican!! Still sore about losing an election in Derry in 2001??!!

    Anyway, even ‘reputable’ Provisional Sinn Feiners in Derry are saying that Durkan will win Foyle so I’d like to see the colur of your money – as long as it’s not from a certain bank!!

    Durkan and McGrady to win and good ole Michelle to lose

  • barnshee

    “my own figues were entirely scientific, I took the SF published figure of 20% divided it by 20, because my daughter is that age. I then multiplied the result by 69, because the troubles started in 69.
    It is entirely consistent and carries as much validity as other polls. I have an MA in Social Science Methodology. “

    As a statistician you have just confirmed my experience of the numeracy levels amongst social scientist (and social workers) –the pits normally –innumerate B******s

  • Mick Fealty

    This from Andrew Nisbet (frustrated by the evil Type Key from making the comment himself):

    The UUP are facing wipeout at Westminster. Putting that poll into UK Elect shows the DUP gaining East Antrim, South Antrim & Upper Bann (and with Lagan Valley that puts them on 9 seats, half the NI delegation).

    However, it gets worse for the UUP. UK elect adjusts last time’s result based on the new poll. This puts the UUP on 39% in South Belfast, and the SDLP on 34%, but with the addition of a DUP candidate in 2005 (rumoured to be Diane Dodds) this would almost certainly let the SDLP win the seat.

    The only seat where the UUP hold on safely is North Down, and even that could be put at risk if the Alliance stand. Does anyone know what is happening in North Down? Is McCartney going to stand? Apparently UUP defector Peter Weir is standing for the DUP.

    Based on that poll, the nationalists are unchanged, with the SDLP holding off the SF challenge in Newry & Armagh.

  • cg

    Mick

    Let me assure you there is not a chance in hell of the sdlp keeping Newry and Armagh.

  • fair_deal

    1. Alliance are running in North Down.
    2. Foolishly, it looks like Bob McCartney is planning to run as well.
    3. Diane Dodds has been selected to run in West Belfast the last I heard

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Barnshee,

    everything in my post is the gods honest truth, except for my MA which is in taking the piss.

  • ulsterman

    There is not a chance in hell of the SDLP winning S.Belfast. 10000 votes will not win an election.Unionist turnout will also be well up to stop the deat falling to Rome.

    God Save The Queen.

  • New Yorker

    Dear cg,

    By what evidence do you rely on that Newry & Armagh is a certain for SF? I only have anecdotal evidence gathered through phone calls and emails. But, what I hear on that basis, is that there is a seachange taking place in the area. There is an ‘enough is enough’ attitude that is rapidly escalating. And, there are still over seven weeks to go. A lot of time for more revelations, arrests, uncovering of evidence, disintergration on the part of SF, etc. But you may well know better than I as you probably only speak to people in the big City and I communicate with mere country-folk. By the way, what’s your prediction on the Council vote?

  • cg

    “By what evidence do you rely on that Newry & Armagh is a certain for SF? I only have anecdotal evidence gathered through phone calls and emails. But, what I hear on that basis, is that there is a seachange taking place in the area”

    I rely on the canvass results of the entire constituency, the opinion of every political commentator and from talking to SDLP members across the Newry and Armagh area.

    “But you may well know better than I as you probably only speak to people in the big City and I communicate with mere country-folk”

    NY I am from the country and was born and raised there, but yes I do know better 😉

    “By the way, what’s your prediction on the Council vote?”

    Overall numerical control by Sinn Féin

  • Mick Fealty

    NY, it should be in the bag for Sinn Fein. Chris is not being partisan on this issue. If Seamus were persuaded to stand again, you’d need to recalculate. But from what we hear, he won’t be.

  • cg

    He isn’t standing Mick, that loveable fellow Domnic Bradley is standing 😉

  • samneilson

    Again you’ve got to admire the cheek of the Provisional movement. Their forecasting ability, I mean…I think I may ask them for next weeks lotto numbers and then for a copy of their policies after that.

    Talking about taking the electorate for granted!
    I suppose they’ll be taking over Derry in 2005 just as they claimed rather eerily in 2001.

  • cg

    Samneilson

    1,9,16
    32,4,26

    How’s that 😉

  • samneilson

    thanks cg

    the only problem is that I wanted the IRISH lottery numbers not the imperialist ones!

  • big white dove

    i have to say I think Durkan will lose Humes seat, as he did himself untold damage in recent weeks appearing only too keen to attack SF, I think he knows himself that this has backfired and that is why he is letting big Alisdair make a fool of himself in the media, Durkan is not Hume and will be lucky to retain any of the personal vote as to do so would require a personality. Newry and Armagh is Conor Murphys seat this year even if the SDLP persuade the pope to stand for them.

  • cg

    aon,naoi,sé déag
    tríocha is a dó ,ceithir,fiche sé

    An dtuigeann tú? 😉

  • New Yorker

    Dear Mick and cg,

    Thank you for your replies. I think what both you and cg are in effect saying is that if the elections were held today it would be in the bag for SF. But there at least seven weeks to go. Seven weeks is a very long time in politics, especially in the volatile situation over there. Obviously cg is speaking to different people than I am communicating with. What I pick up is a change in attitude, a rethinking, a basic re-evaluation which, I believe, will be reflected in seven weeks. I’ve seen this in American politics and the results can be quite suprising.

  • cg

    NY if Conor Murphy does not win Newry and Armagh I will donate £100 to a charity of your choice.

  • TroubledTimes

    cg, maybe you should donate that money to helping the families that were traumatised and held in their homes at gunpoint during the Northern Bank Robbery?

  • Davros

    TT : That was a cheap shot.

  • cg

    TT are you trying to suggest I had some kind of involvement in that issue?

  • Jimmy Sands

    Of course Meath is not the only by-election. North Kildare is ignored because of SF’s decision to sit that one out. For those of us who believe provisionalism to be something entirely different to republicanism, the apparent acknowledgment that they are not competitive in Bodenstown is wonderfully emblematic.

  • J Kelly

    Samnielson were did I rely on this poll to make any argument or point and by the way there is more than one J Kelly in Derry.

    On the point of “reputable provisional sinn feiners” in Derry tipping Durkan to win I have yet to meet one. Durkan is now being called the invisable man by the local media hacks in Derry. SF are getting blasted by an onslaught and Durkan is failing miserably to capitalise on it. Durkan is dead in the water he cannot honestly be sure that all his counciilors will vote for him. The SDLP in Derry are split down the middle. SF to win seven seats.

  • J Kelly

    invisible

  • Christopher Stalford

    Haven’t the UUP regulars on this site gone awfully silent?

  • davidbrew

    not just on this site . I never thought I’d say this… but don’t you miss Dermot Nesbitt these days?

    And of course when keeping up the percentage vote is vital, what does it say that they haven’t yet selected in North Belfast, North Antrim, South Down and Mid Ulster, with the General election writ probably being moved in three weeks? No seat gains in any of these, but at least 20,000 UU votes from the last general election being thrown away because of demoralisation and defeatism

  • davidbrew

    actually Nick Whyte’s site tallies up that 24,400 voted UUP in N belfast, N Antrim and S Down in 2001, as well as 7900 in the locals in Mid Ulster where they did not stand-so that’s perhaps 30,000 votes chucked away, even allowingfor slippage. If they don’t run in 4/18 seats then the 16% in yesterday’s paper might be reduced by 3%, and that’s before factoring in the people “ashamed to admit to voting DUP” who appear in every real election but not in opinion polls. Single figures for the UUP beckoning?

  • samneilson

    ‘j’

    lighten up a bit!! I’m sure that there are dozens of ‘J Kellys’ in derry.

    I am surprised about your in depth knowledge of the stoops in the Foyle constituency.Do you have a spy in their office or something??!! You do seem to be letting yourself in for one almighty fall when Durkan wins the seat. Are the SDLP as split as you make out??? and how do you know this??
    Rest assured that the policing debate within Provisional SF in Derry is causing a lot of soul searching. How many Republicans will jump when PSF take a leap of faith and join the policing board?
    A wee bit of electoral maths for you also ‘J’ whilst I’m at it.
    In 2003 PSF were supposed to take 3 seats in Foyle – ‘confident’ was the term I repeatedly heard. Now even with the Annie Courteney situation, McCanns electoral performance and a much reduced turnout in areas that normally voted stoop they managed to beat PSF by 1500 votes. Are you seriously telling me that on the 6th May that Mitchell, who has never topped 13000 votes can win? wise up man.
    Theres no doubt that it will be the closest Westminster election yet in Foyle, but the smart money is on Durkan – even with the republican biased press in the city.