Slugger reader survey

Iain Dale is running a survey to see how readers rate various politicians. O’Neill is canvassing a bit.

I’ve done a short one for Slugger, with a couple of questions to see what the reader profile of this blog is, and a similar rating survey on about 50 of our local representatives. Try to answer honestly and not based on your party political preferences – that way we might end up with something useful!

UPDATE – as I haven’t forked out for the pay for account, there is a limit of 100 responses. About 2/3 done now.

UPDATE 2 – results below the fold. A sample of 100 is tiny. That with other factors means, don’t take too much from it. It’s not so much useful as interesting.1. Where are you registered to vote (or, if not registered, where are you normally resident)

Not really important enough to bother publishing. Suffice to say, I’m pleased to see a good spread across Northern Ireland, slightly South and East Belfast heavy (those two being in the top three options in the drop down box. Conclusion – laziness).

2. How often do you read Slugger?

Looks a bit like a Russian Presidential election result

Several times a day 60.8%
Once a day 23.7%
13 or 4 times a week 13.4%
Once a week 2.1%
A few times a month 0%
Quite rarely 0%

3. Which party got your first preference vote in the 2007 Assembly elections?

First figure is the percentage, second is the raw number of respondents

DUP 15.8% 15
Sinn Fein 12.6% 12
UUP 13.7% 13
SDLP 12.6% 12
Alliance 12.6% 12
Independent 0.0% 0
Green 5.3% 5
UKUP 3.2% 3
PUP 2.1% 2
Conservative 2.1% 2
RSF 0.0% 0
SEA 0.0% 0
UKIP 0.0% 0
Other 3.2% 3
Did not vote/Don’t remember 16.8% 16

4. Please rate the performance of following Northern Ireland politicians since devolution in May 2007 on a scale of 1 to 10 where one is very poor and 10 is very good. Be honest and dispassionate!

Placed in rank order – based on 93 responses. I regret including John Barry, it was unfair. I think in certain instances, and he is one, people rated low owing to not having heard of them. That was a mistake on my part. Also this is quite DUP heavy and a little SDLP light.

Margaret Ritchie 7.43
Peter Robinson 6.67
Naomi Long 6.15
David Ford 5.99
Danny Kennedy 5.85
Martin McGuinness 5.71
Ian Paisley 5.54
Nigel Dodds 5.50
Sammy Wilson 5.42
Arlene Foster 5.38
Anna Lo 5.22
William Hay 5.17
Declan O’Loan 5.15
Basil McCrea 5.11
Michael McGimpsey 5.05
Mark Durkan 5.04
Sir Reg Empey 5.03
Jeffrey Donaldson 4.99
Alban Maginness 4.99
John Dallat 4.97
Conor Murphy 4.85
Michelle Gildernew 4.83
John McAllister 4.71
Alasdair McDonnell 4.67
Gregory Campbell 4.66
Tom Elliott 4.62
Fred Cobain 4.60
Stephen Farry 4.56
Lady Hermon 4.46
Alan McFarland 4.46
Alex Maskey 4.43
Eddie McGrady 4.38
Iris Robinson 4.37
Gerry Kelly 4.30
Alex Attwood 4.27
Barry McElduff 4.24
Brian Wilson 4.22
Dawn Purvis 4.21
Michelle McIlveen 4.10
Mitchel McLaughlin 3.99
David McClarty 3.95
Pat Doherty 3.93
David Simpson 3.90
Gerry Adams 3.89
Francie Molloy 3.87
Kieran Deeny 3.79
Edwin Poots 3.61
Jimmy Spratt 3.54
Paul Goggins 3.52
David Burnside 3.50
Shaun Woodward 3.49
Martina Anderson 3.41
Leslie Cree 3.38
John Barry 2.98
William McCrea 2.90
Caitriona Ruane 2.37
Ian Paisley Jnr 2.19

Right at the bottom are Paisley Jnr, Ruane and William McCrea. The raw numbers directly below are the percentage and then raw number of responses for each rank from 1 through 10 and don’t know on the far right. The conclusion (such as one can be arrived at from such a tiny sample) is that even their own party voters don’t rate their performances. Worth noting that 47 people ranked John Barry as don’t know. Just short of half.

Ian Paisley Jnr
58.9% (56) 15.8% (15) 8.4% (8) 2.1% (2) 5.3% (5) 2.1% (2) 2.1% (2) 2.1% (2) 0.0% (0) 2.1% (2) 1.1% (1)
Caitriona Ruane
54.7% (52) 10.5% (10) 7.4% (7) 10.5% (10) 4.2% (4) 3.2% (3) 2.1% (2) 1.1% (1) 2.1% (2) 1.1% (1) 3.2% (3)
William McCrea
26.3% (25) 15.8% (15) 16.8% (16) 11.6% (11) 9.5% (9) 6.3% (6) 1.1% (1) 0.0% (0) 1.1% (1) 0.0% (0) 11.6% (11)

5. If an election were held tomorrow, who would you vote for?

DUP 15.80% 15
Sinn Fein 12.60% 12
UUP 11.60% 11
SDLP 13.70% 13
Alliance 13.70% 13
Independent 1.10% 1
Green 5.30% 5
UKUP 0.00% 0
PUP 1.00% 1
Conservative 4.20% 4
RSF 0.00% 0
SEA 0.00% 0
UKIP 0.00% 0
Traditional Unionist Voice 6.30% 6
Other 5.30% 5
Would not vote 9.50% 9

6. How many Local Government districts do you think there should there be?

Personally, I reckon 1 was used as a “don’t know” option.

1 3.20% 3
7 35.80% 34
9 6.30% 6
11 25.30% 24
15 24.20% 23
26 5.30% 5
More than 26 0.00% 0

  • Jeremy

    Try to answer honestly and not based on your party political preferences – that way we might end up with something useful!

    I started the survey and the first question posed was where are you normally resident? You dont list the republic of Ireland/26 counties/the south or however you might wish to call it. Its a bit ridiculous that someone who lives 100 meters over the border on the souther side would have to mark themselves as Europe.

    If the questions had been phrased honestly without showing your party preferences or bias then you would have ended up with somehting usedful. Funny that the survey invites people to be dispassionate when rating the representatives. Pity the same neutral point tof view wasn’t adapted by the survey.

  • Michael Shilliday

    A fair point. Corrected. Probably wont effect the results too much, seems to apply to very few of the small number of people who have answered thus far.


  • barcas

    You can accuse me of pedantry, but doesen’t ‘Europe’ include the whole of Ireland, even the wee (partial) province in the north east?

  • Jeremy

    Thanks, I completed the survey.

  • nineteensixtyseven

    Tried my best!

  • Have to say, very few of them jumped out as being anything other than average.

  • JD

    I have no interest in rating a load of english and scottish politicians with only one irish man. Put up a poll for Assembly members and ministers and you might get more interest.

  • Michael Shilliday

    You mean like the one I put up at 3:58 with this thread?

  • JD

    Apologies Michael, clicked too quick, I’ll contribute now

  • Mark McGregor


    You can tick one of the ‘other’ responses off as éirígí.

  • Mark McGregor


    btw: how much is the unlimited response questionnaire? I’m sure a few of us could chip into a PayPal account and cover the cost if you fancy doing the upgrade. You’d probably be able to get more than 100 responses.

  • Michael Shilliday

    Thanks for the offer, but you’re alright!

    I’ll be doing it at some point because I may be using it for some other purposes. When I do I might do this monthly. 100 responses is nowhere near enough, but there are some interesting things in the results thus far.

  • Mark McGregor

    You are going to make the data public? ‘Other purposes’ sounds a little strange. I wouldn’t have filled it in without expecting full disclosure of the results.

  • Michael Shilliday

    I meant I’ll be using the service for my own purposes. I’ll be disclosing the results of this as soon as there are 100 responses to every question. Currently at 76.

  • Twinbrook

    Let me guess the outcome…

    Total dissatisfaction with SF…

    The SDLP are GREEK GODS….

    Totally representative survey of a site not representative of the political landscape…

  • Mark McGregor


    I judged it honestly based on their profile and influence. I gave those I’d heard nothing from or of a low mark. I was surprised how easily Attwood and to a lesser extent Durkin fell into that category.

    Some very non-descript figures on that list and to be honest Attwood was my main stand-out point – from somebody to nobody in a few steps but hardly a surprise as it was him and the bro that lead them into the valley of darkness so often.

    I think my highest scores went to McG and Robbo and I’d vote for neither.

    Hopefully readers set aside prejudice and gave honest answers, then it may be an interesting poll. If anyone gets tens you can discount those votes as party loyalists.

  • Michael Shilliday

    There are some with lost of 1’s and a few 10’s all of the same party. Surprisingly few though.

  • miss fitz

    It’s really positive that we are getting to the point of seeing beyond someones political background to be able to judge the work they are doing dispassionately. I had no problem giving Peter Robison a good mark, as well as Arlene Foster. They may not represent my voting pattern, but I think they are doing good work. I would really like to see some part of the results when the survery is complete, I think it would be interesting stuff.

  • Pete Baker

    Sorry to pour cold water on this initiative..

    But with a self-selecting sample any results from this survey can only be regarded as being highly suspect.

  • Michael Shilliday

    Well of course. I don’t think anyone was suggesting this would be scientific or authoritative, merely interesting. And it is.

  • DC



  • any survey

    Pete – pour cold water? OK not that scientific or representative but heck look at the dross we get from Bel. Tel. etc.

    They and proponents of 11+ keep brining up that postal ballot affair….how much effort from your ilk has gone into trashing that for all the well established resons?

  • Graeme Smyth

    Just done your survey, Michael. I think it’ll ultimately prove to be a useful exercise. If we should meet during the week, could I ask for a feedback of results? Genuinely interested!

  • Pete Baker


    Interesting it may be, but don’t put any value on those results.

    “any survey”

    Not having cited that particular survey I have no need to trash it.

    And back to the actual topic..

  • Michael Shilliday

    I wont be putting MUCH value on the results. But if I felt they were of NO value, I’d not have bothered.

  • kensei


    The interest is that it gives a little snapshot of the views of the Slugger commentators, rather than any wider “value”, surely?

  • Pete Baker


    A self-selecting sample of a self-selecting sample compounds the inaccuracy.

  • Michael Shilliday

    You’re assuming that its only useful to anyone for any use if it’s accurate to 3% of the population at large. Which isn’t true.

  • Don Quixote

    Aw c’mon Pete – put your slide-rule, log tables and abacus away for a moment – the results are going to be at least as interesting as a self-selecting commentator posting on the site.

    Do I hear you muttering “exactly!”?

    Bah Humbug!

  • Danny O’Connor

    I think that Ritchie is an excellent minister-no surprises there- but in the survey I answered truthfully and some members of other parties have out-performed members of my own party.As ministers Murphy is doing a good job at DRD (not including the Quinn case)Poots is doing a decent job at DCAL (I marked him down because of his stance on Irish) David Ford is making a good fist of it as leader of a small opposition,would it be better if the opposition included sdlp + uup?
    I’m not sure as this would undermine his role as he would no longer be the leader.Sammy Wilson as chair of education, Declan OLoan and Daithi Mackay ,Naomi Long,Dominic Bradley are all doing a decent job.As ministers Foster C+ Gildernew C ,The rest are anonymous as far as the public are concerned.

  • Pete Baker

    “You’re assuming that its only useful to anyone for any use if it’s accurate to 3% of the population at large.”

    It may be useful to others, for whatever purposes, but it’s not an accurate reflection of public opinion.

  • kensei


    Not to state the obvious, if I wanted to gain a snapshot of the views of slugger readers, I’d narrow my population from “everyone” to “slugger readers”. That isn’t “self selection”, that is narrowing scope.

    Now, posting a survey up will be no means guarantee that I get a sufficiently random sample. There is however, a fairly consistent readership here, and this site is a fairly narrow niche. We can surmise it’s unlikely that people will randomly stumble on here and decide to fill in the survey. Second, in the matter of responders bias, we can also surmise that if people are motivated enough to fill out the comments box, then they’ll be similar motivated to fill out a survey.

    So, without any grand claims of accuracy, even with regard to the limited scope, we can make an educated guess that we’re getting an interesting approximation of What Slugger Thinks. I wouldn’t suggest using it for scientific purposes, but I wouldn’t suggest there is no value to it at all.

  • DC

    Okay, Michael.

    I will now qualify my quote.

    “I find Peter Robinson highly suspect”


    because he said he would never find parity of esteem acceptable, yet here is today with Sinn Fein.


  • Danny O’Connor

    You should do a survey to see how many MLAs can engage in debate without reading off a script-some of which are repititious and boring and adds nothing to the cut and thrust of debate.

  • Pete Baker

    “So, without any grand claims of accuracy, even with regard to the limited scope, we can make an educated guess that we’re getting an interesting approximation of What Slugger Thinks.”

    That’s precisely what you cannot claim, ken.

  • DC

    “David Ford is making a good fist of it as leader of a small opposition,would it be better if the opposition included sdlp + uup?”

    Unlikely that David Ford would still be the leader then. Ah, absolute power and all that!

  • Danny O’Connor

    DC Numbers 17 uup 16 sdlp 7 alliance the point is that when the media are looking for an alternative view they go to Ford .If Empey and Durkan went into opposition it would reduce ford’s airtime,-it’s not rocket science

  • Michael Shilliday


    Have you a link or reference for that quote?

  • Dc

    Peter Robinson says of parity of esteem it ‘is a cunning maxim behind which the republican minority argue that equality must be given, in terms of political outcome, to a minority vis-a-vis a majority.’

    Peter Robinson 1995 ‘The Union under Fire’ – United Ireland Framework Page 4.

  • DC

    Danny, what’s your views on ASDA coming to Larne. Do you think it will draw in Tesco?

  • Michael Shilliday

    Results done.

  • DC

    William Hay 5.17

    Flip people must be as pissed as what I am.

  • Michael Shilliday

    Gerry Adams – out of sight out of mind?

  • kensei


    “That’s precisely what you cannot claim, ken.”

    Unless you state your simplifying assumptions. Like I did. If you want to convince me otherwise: how many unique hits does slugger take daily / weekly? Roughly how many unique commentators does it get over similar periods?

  • DC

    Re Gerry Adams, totally agree. I rated him as ‘don’t know’ as I really don’t know.

    It was a fairly Alliance-centric response in relation to the wider and indeed very restrictive electoral-strength. But, anyway, given that response and inside the limits of this survey it would seem to show that Naomi Long is favoured over David Ford.

  • miss fitz

    Thanks for that Michael, it really is quite an interesting snapshot. The results broadly follow the way I voted.

    I had been thinking about this area for a while now, and how aptitude and competence really can separate the men from the boys. I have been trying to gather thoughts on what makes certain players stand above the others, and I think that breadth of knowledge, dignity and composure are very much up there.

    I gave Catriona a low vote on this, as I think her overall handling of her portfolio has been poor and reflects badly on both her party as well as the ability present and possible in Northern ireland. Similarly, how could you rate Junior highly, based on his willingness to play loose with our future by bargaining it for mere money and influence.

    I think the importance of the snapshot is that in the fullness of time, our present narrow party affiliations will become less important and we will start to look and judge people on performance and abilitiy.

    Its a good start.

  • Twinbrook

    surprise surprise, the sdlp has more “posters” on here than…..

    real life….

    More people would vote sdlp rather than SF well theres a complete shocker!!

    Maybe here in the Alice through the looking glass world, the land of make believe, the sdlp exist but in working class estates across the North of Ireland?

    Lets not take the p***

    Totally and utterly unrepresentative, a self satisfying ego trip by small party supporters without a chance in hell of ever being in power…

    unless they jump, and join their natural brothers in the South..the Irish Labour Party…

    Sorry forgot myself there, FF!

  • Jeremy

    This was interesting and while no one claims it was scientifically rigourous I think it probably beats the Sunday Independent polls hands down in that regard.
    good idea for a post.

  • Jeremy

    I wonder is it possible to break down the numbers who voted 1s and 10s for a large percentage of candidates and see who they were giving their first preferences to i.e are they SF/DUP people etc. It might give an interesting perspective on how strongly polarised the posters are – do DUPers always knock SF/UUP etc and vice versa. Or is there a creeping recognition of the performance of the opposite numbers and a move away from the “that crowd is always bad no matter what” attitude.
    its demanding a lot from the survey but who cares it might throw up something to think about.

  • DM

    Aye that could be interesting right enough.

  • Michael Shilliday

    Not possible at present I’m afraid! When I pay them some money it might be.

    Personally I’m glad I did this. I think it shows some interesting things.

    Do we have any constructive criticism of the methods or questions?

  • Greenflag

    ‘If an election were held tomorrow, who would you vote for? ‘

    Where was the FF option ? I’m sure FF would have beaten the the Conservatives !

  • DK

    Interesting to see that there were 3 SF shills rating Ruane at 10. Just shows that the party intanet warrior zombies are still about! (However see also 11 DUP shills giving Willie a 10 – can none of these people think for themselves?)

    Also, who the hell gave Ian Jnr a 10 rating? Even Sweeney & his own father wouldn’t give him a 10.

  • Mike C

    Where were the rest of the MLAs to vote for? Poots did particularly badly for someone with a high profile portfolio… probably a result of pissing of the Shinners with the Irish language stance and pissing of his own party with his stance on the Maze. Interesting that Michelle McIlveen made it onto the list to be voted on personally I find her quite capable for a first termer, but she must have made some kind of impression on you Mr Shilliday 😉

  • Mike C

    sorry for mis-typing “off” twice in the one post….the shame!

  • DC

    ‘And since when did non-Alliance members like you start having any influence what so ever on who the leader is? You worked for the party for like 5 minutes, and you don’t anymore. Get over yourself, you think you are a savy political commentator, you’re not you are a sad little man who has no life. Grow up Pete.’

    Almost sounds like Naomi Long talking. Worked for the party for 5 minutes because that’s all it’s worth giving, unfortunately. And I mean that.

    General treatment therein can clearly be seen by such comments on Slugger above. You’re as arrogant as the old official unionists.

    I make comments on views that I hold and tend to express them and so what.

    What’s your problem and if there even should be a problem with that. Is Alliance above and beyond discussing by a non-member? Arrogant, just arrogant Alliance.

    And what about Kieran McCarthy. Please, sort yourselves out you hypocritical bunch of nutcases.

    What is the shared-future model Alliance wishes to build in Northern Ireland. Stop being so ambiguous to the point of bluffing the electorate. Time to tell the truth, Alliance as a party in under scrutiny too ya’ know!


  • DC

    ‘you are a sad little man who has no life.’

    And I’m not little btw, im 6ft 4″ 😛

    Unlike the Alliance leadership who are small and paunchy. There’s no ‘big man’ trying to get out of me.

    Oh and thanks Shilliday for removing my comments earlier, which are now qualified, yet let stand this Alliance rant directed at playing just me.

  • Danny O’Connor

    I am not convinced about the committment from Tesco-there is also a planning application for a superstore about 35000 square feet at Millbrook by Seaport and I wonder who the anchor tenant is going to be.Can larne sustain 3 out of town shopping centres and still maintain a viable commercial core in the town centre-probably not.

  • nineteensixtyseven


    Fuck off, seriously. You’re like a broken record. Seems the best Minister won anyway 🙂

  • slug

    I agree with others saying this was an interesting idea and it threw up some interesting results.

  • slug

    I put down Arlene Foster, Michelle Gildernew, Peter Robinson, and Margaret Ritchie as being good ministers.

    Catriona Ruane and IPJ I gave a very low score to. The former is particularly atrocious, in my opinion.

  • kensei

    I put down Arlene Foster, Michelle Gildernew, Peter Robinson, and Margaret Ritchie as being good ministers.

    Have I missed Foster being good? The only think of note she seems to have done is be embarrassed by her party colleagues into reversing a decision.

  • joeCanuck

    “you are a sad little man who has no life

    Awesome argument DC.
    You have my vote – for twit of the day.

  • Lorraine

    maybe ruan and ipj will become besotted with each other after this……….

  • Lorraine

    and throw willie in for a threesome………

  • DC

    “Awesome argument DC.”

    I would like to claim credit for it but hey I didn’t write it.

    Politicians can be so bitter.

    Right I’m off to be sad, but not little as it’s just not physically possible.

  • smcgiff

    It was worth it. The most interesting ‘result’ was the swing to the TUV.

  • oneill

    Do we have any constructive criticism of the methods or questions?

    It was a good idea Michael and I think you probably caught the party apparachniks who haunt this site unaware with doing it on a Sunday; so despite the low number of the sample it was perhaps more representative of wider public opinion than it might have been. So if you do it again in the future ,do it without warning and on Saturday or Sunday when the various partys’ press-officers are down the estate-agents or garden-centre.

    Perhaps a pruning of the names by about a quarter would also be useful, also why Shaun Woodward and no Jim Allister??!!

  • Mike C

    I wonder if oneill is actually living in a slugger bubble. Slugger is not a reflection of wider public opinion and a quick sample of 100 slugger devotees is certainly not going to reflect public opinion. However, I agree that Allister should have had a place on this. I look forward to some cash being spent and a full survey taking place with breakdowns. It would have been very interesting to see how the party faithful rated their members performances.