Is the Northern Ireland First and deputy First Ministers’ commissioned poll [At what cost? – Ed] any more rigorous than the NIO’s? Who knows? The questions certainly don’t appear to be. As spotted by “thedissenter” in the comments zone here, the polling company chosen, Red Circle Communications, was set up in 2007 by former head of communications for the Scottish Labour Party, Steven Lawther. The polling report, dated 4th March, is here [pdf file]. BBC NI political editor Mark Devenport finds something of value in it.
That said there is some interesting stuff in the OFMDFM survey about people’s desire for the First and Deputy First to work together, and the gap between this aspiration and how well people think the Executive is doing its job. Additionally less than half those interviewed felt well informed about what the Executive is doing (maybe that’s my fault!)
Heh.Mark also points out something to keep in mind if you’re going to take seriously what Shaun Woodward had to say about “those who had indicated support for the UUP” – he hadn’t anything to say about any other parties.
There have long been doubts about the reliability of NI polls when it comes to voting intentions and this is maybe born out by an equally surprising set of low figures for Sinn Fein in comparison to the SDLP. I don’t know how many people in the NIO commissioned survey declined to answer, but I gather that in the OFMDFM poll 26% of those who were interviewed over the phone refused to say which party they backed, whilst 13% gave no affiliation. [added emphasis]
So, as ever, a note of caution. But these are the figures given me unofficially.
NIO commissioned poll
Workers Party 2%
OFMDFM Commissioned Poll