“an opinion poll conducted for the government..”

Reports today of “an opinion poll conducted for the government” [The NIO? – Ed] on the public’s views of devolving policing and justice powers are noteable as much for the timing as for Sinn Féin’s Alex Maskey’s welcome of the apparent figures, although his statement doesn’t actually quote them.

Overall 60% of the people surveyed supported the transfer of power and 53% backed the May deadline. [target date]

But it’s also worth comparing today’s reported figures to previous opinion polls, as in the Belfast Telegraph in August 2007.

In an Ipsos MORI poll for this newspaper in March, a majority – 58% – were in favour of policing and justice powers being devolved, with just over a third opposing. That figure is now rising – with 73% overall in favour.

And as I’ve mentioned before

Imposing those powers against the wishes of the Assembly would be a “constitutional nonsense” – and, importantly, “it is not the intention—nor is the power available to the Government—to do that.”

Updated Below the foldAdds It was apparently commissioned by the NIO.

“While an opinion poll is not a science..”


Mark Devenport has interviewed Northern Ireland Secretary of State for Northenr Ireland for Inside Politics tomorrow.. which may explain where he gets these ‘alternative’ figures from

The NIO has just published a poll it commissioned suggesting 60% of people support the devolution of justice and 62% think the May target date is either about right or not soon enough.

Given that that would mean more people supporting a target date than are supporting the actual devolving of powers, and that everyone else is quoting that overall support for devolving those powers by May 2008 at just 53%..

I’ve suggest in the comments zone that there may be some mistake..

Final Update As strange as it may seem, Mark has his figures correct – as this update shows.

The update also reveals that according to one set of figures in the poll, support for devolving policing and justice powers, at some point, has dropped within the DUP by 8 points, within the UUP by 4 points and within the Alliance Party by 3 points. According to one set of figures in the poll that is..