On that Newsletter “Slugger O’Toole” poll…

For those of you wondering why we got ‘scooped’ on our own poll, as reported on the Newsletter this morning, it’s because it’s not actually our poll. We had been talking to Lucid Talk about running a depth poll in two key constituencies, rather than an 18 constituency wide survey. Bill White, former chair of South Belfast Ulster Unionist Association, who owns LucidTalk, explains below the fold:

LucidTalk were originally going to do 2 ‘Deep-Polls’ in two targeted Northern Ireland constituencies, however the time and cost constraints were too prohibitive. This is because ‘Deep-Polls’ are required if you target specific seats, in order to achieve the level of accuracy required to do a seat forecast, i.e. for each of these two seats.

Deep-Polls involve a sample size of 400 per seat, structured around 40 clusters across the targeted constituency thus providing a balanced socio-economic, and religious sample etc., which is representative of the constituency etc.

Due to the time constraints, LudidTalk had only 2 days to do this Poll, and as such, had to do/use the ‘Fast-Trak’ methodology of a Telephone poll, using a sample size of 360 across six N. Ireland constituencies.

As such, we carried out a six-constituency telephone poll with a sample size of 360 chosen from across these six constituencies. We then did a projection of this polling data across all 18 Westminster constituencies, and produced the results that are detailed in the report below:

Based on LucidTalks ‘6 constituency polling’, it suggests the current NI-wide ‘state of the parties’ is as follows:

DUP – 23.5%

UUP – 16.8%

PUP – 1.0%

TUV – 8.7%

SF – 26%

SDLP – 12.5%

Alliance – 8.5%

Green – 1.2%

Others – 1.8%

Of course, the point about regional variations is key, particularly in a Westminster election, and also the actual candidates standing, and how they’re viewed/perceived in each constituency is vitally important. In this context, the above NI wide polling estimations can only be treated as a crude guide.

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  • Hermit

    which constituencies?

  • John

    PUP??? There arent any candidates running????

  • Cynic

    Crude guide?

    Sample size of 60 per constituency and 360 in total? So what is the Error margin? Come on, do tell us.

    This sample is so low I am surprised anyone would print the results.

  • David Cather

    This poll was based on 360 respondents across 6 constituencies so c. 60 per constituency and based on that the Newsletter felt confident to call South Antrim? I would describe that as kwality journalism.

  • Re-engaged

    Lets be realistic however – this will be close to the end totals – and it is fairly safe to say that parachuting Sir Reg into South Antrim has worked – there is underlying resentment to Willie McCrea and it needed a high profile candidate.

    The TUV on 8.7% feels high as does SDLP feel low at 12.5% (although MR will not have done them any favours) also must query relevance to Westminister election – 2 major ‘others’ candidates in the field and no PUP.

    Outcome likely
    UC – 1
    Ind – 2
    SDLP – 2 (3)
    SF – 4
    DUP – 9 (8)
    (not convinced on South Belfast yet so brackets indicate variation)

  • union mack

    Almost as credible as that OFMDFM poll which placed the DUP on 26% at the height of Irisgate/Policing and Justice, with the SDLP on 21%. I would describe that as kwality polling

  • Mark

    I spent a very nerdy evening over the weekend looking at the last Westminster and Assembly elections and analysing those against the prospective candidates standing in this election.

    As I undertook this little exercise I was struck by some things I really hadn’t thought about much before

    The TUV total share of the vote probably won’t be that high, given their exposure in certain constituencies and the lack of exposure in others – I think that the votes of Messers Allister, Harbinson and Vance may well be decent enough but when averaged across the province won’t look so wonderful – remember when Bob McCartney took North Down and when he had so much publicity – the rest of the party didn’t do that well overall.

    Also the UUP candidates list looks a little odd to me – two celebrity candidates and probably three/four well known politicos but the rest are a little ………. unknown?

    The DUP team (from a distance) appears to have a reasonable “stature” and high recognisabilty (is that a word?) – this is a benefit and a disadvantage for obvious reasons 😉

    In FST, if the Unionists can get their vote out I imagine they should be feeling quite good about their chances – unless the SDLP voters turn away in droves from their candidate Sinn Fein must be concerned about losing that seat. Similarly in South Belfast, unless Paula Bradshaw’s vote completely implodes I wouldn’t have imagined that Jimmy Spratt could edge ahead.

    If you look at the DUP share of the vote in the seats they hold and compare it (in most cases) to the candidates they are facing they shoud (I think) be able to hold on to their seats – the one I can’t quite get a feel for is Strangford – will their be a Martin Bell type effect for Mike Nesbitt after the Iris scandal? Dunno – not clued in enough for that.

    So I will put my head on the block and guess something like this

    DUP – 27.60%
    UUP – 15.20%
    SINN FEIN – 24%
    SDLP – 15.60%
    ALLIANCE – 5.50%
    TUV – 5.50%
    GREEN PARTY – 1%
    OTHERS – 1%
    Independent Unionist – 5.60%


    DUP 9
    Sinn Fein 4
    SDLP 3
    Independent Unionist 2

    All that said – there can be upsets – ask David Trimble how much he is enjoying being the member for Upper Bann!

  • union mack

    Indeed, the OFMDFM one placed the DUP on 30%, my mistake

  • Chris Donnelly

    Take four points off Alliance and give them to SDLP and it looks about right, though maybe two points should also go from TUV to UCUNF in that poll.

  • Greenflag

    Ask David Trimble how much he is enjoying being the member for Upper Bann!

    Somebody did and it would appear that he enjoys not being the member for the Upper Bann . That lordly ermine works wonders to assuage electoral disappointment .

    Sir Reggie is probably being fitted for the the next NI erminal coating if DC becomes PM;)?

  • union mack

    my predictions:

    DUP 7
    SF 4
    UCU 2 (South Antrim and Strangford)
    SDLP 3
    Independent 2

    And the Jim Allister Voice to take enough in NA, EB, S and LV for an assembly quota

  • Mark

    Very good Greenflag – I like that 🙂

  • Re-engaged

    No hope for Nesbitt in Strangford – even the most disgruntled DUP’ers are saying Shannons record is preferable to another smooth operator – Nesbitt seen as Iris mark II.

    As for TUV – failing to win a Westminster seat will see it follow that well worn path of UKUP and NIUP obscurity – maybe a runt of 2 seats at assembly and like PUP a legacy in NA – but I’m feeling generous being off work today!

  • Cynic


    What are the error limits on this poll?

  • jeep55

    This poll has serious flaws. They appear to have married new data in 6 seats (doesn’t state which) with 2007 resuilts and then tried to make projections. The immediate things which will almost certainly be wrong are these. Firstly PUP will get 0% of vote – simple – they are not standing. If the two independent Us are to win or come within a hairs breadth of winning both ND and FST they must amass between them some 30k votes representing approx 4% of the votes cast. I have been watching some web based projections and making my after adjustment for over optimism to Alliance and SDLP in polls of this kind it looks like

    DUP 23%
    SF 26%
    UCUNF 15%
    SDLP 17%
    ALL 7%
    IndU 4%
    TUV 7%
    Green 1%

    Margin between DUP and UCUNF enough for them retain all seats but South Antrim. Alliance to take East Belfast

  • Mark

    Very interesting – however is there any meaningful evidence to support your assertion about East Belfast?

    Peter Robinson’s vote would have to completely dissolve and do we really think that the natural repository for those votes will be the Alliance party? Naomi Long was about 11000 votes behind Peter Robinson in 2005, the natural place for the DUP votes to go to (in the main) would surely be the UUP or TUV?

    Again, I am away now but I would have thought that Reg Empey’s many years of service in East Belfast would be more valuable than Trevor Ringland’s (very long time ago) celebrity and surely if Reg had thought it could be won he would have had a go himself.

    David Vance is an intelligent man and if he was running as a DUP candidate would win comfortably but I simply cannot see the TUV being a serious contender.

    So………. if Peter’s vote deserts him in large numbers I imagine it would have to be a TUV or UUP gain not an Alliance one.

    All that said, apart from living in East Belfast for 29 years and doing a small amount of politicing in the late 1990’s there, I am away now and have no special knowledge.

    @jeep55 (and anyone else who cares to answer) – where are all those Alliance votes going to come from? I am happy to discuss and be proven wrong! 🙂

  • Mark

    Interesting Re-engaged!

    Mr Shannon has done a lot of spade work in the area over a long period of time and ticks all the unionist boxes (Loyal Orders, Military etc) – Mike Nesbitt seems a likeable character however and I just wondered if Irisgate might still hurt the DUP.

    If you are right and if my predictions are close to the final result I would imagine PR could breathe a sigh of relief and consider that the electorate has found him “not guilty”.

    But…. if it all goes wrong…………

  • Cynic

    “Alliance to take East Belfast”

    Bit early for the cooking sherry isnt it?

  • Mark

    Alliance to take East Belfast?


    If Peter Robinson’s vote dissolves where will it go – surely more likely to UUP or TUV?

    For Alliance to win the DUP and UUP vote would both have to fall apart, TUV not benefit from those. Alliance would probably need to get somehwere around 10000 more votes? From whence?

    Happy to be proven wrong, I just can’t see it.

  • Charminator

    What’s the current thinking in South Belfast? I had initially thought the SDLP would lose that seat to Spratt – and I still don’t think the Maskey move will deliver much votes for the SDLP – but Paddy Power and a lot of commentators seem to be backing Alistair to the hilt? Surely he needs a closely split Unionist vote to have any hope, or is there something I’m missing?
    Confused voter…. 🙂

  • Mark

    East Belfast prediction – my God this is asking for trouble so close to the election – 🙂 I have based my predictions taking the new boundaries into account.

    DUP – 42% (-10%)
    UUP – 23% (-6%)
    ALLIANCE – 14%(+3%)
    TUV -14% (did not stand in 2005)

    Go on – take your best shot! 🙂

  • jeep55


    The euro poll last June indicated East Belfast was a four horse race. If so then even more so now. Robinson will lose a lot of votes to TUV and even a few to UCUNF and Alliance. UCUNF will also lose votes to Alliance because of the Conservative/David Cameron tie up, not least helped by the fact that increase in unemployment in the past year, as a percentage of what it was a year ago, is second highest in EB out of all UK constituencies. The Civil Service vote is not going to go to UCUNF as that would be like asking turkeys to vote for Christmas! Alliance will also get some tactical nationalist/republican votes and the lion’s share of those who voted Green at the Euros. PUP not standing but the female factor will help Naomi Long pick up a reasonable proportion of those votes. Quite possible to win this seat on 28-30% of the vote and that is achievable.

    I’m keeping the champagne on ice just in case!!

  • jeep55


    Try this for East Belfast:

    Alliance 28%
    DUP 27%
    UCUNF 25%
    TUV 20%
    SF 3%
    SDLP 2%

  • Mark

    I agree with much of your analysis apart from the numbers.

    A swing to Alliance increasing their share of the vote from 11/12% in 2005 to 30% in 2010? You say that “Alliance will also get some tactical nationalist/republican votes and the lion’s share of those who voted Green at the Euros” – that would have been the same in 2005 – there are simply not enough votes there to see them over the line.

    I just can’t see it – that would be the biggest Alliance vote in 23 years and John Alderdice or Oliver Napier were much more likely repositories for middle-class unionist votes than Naomi Long (I think).

  • jeep55

    Apologies – that should read TUV 15% for the numbers to add to 100

  • Mark

    Maybe, you may have a better feel than me for it – more than half the DUP leaves Peter Robinson and splits between the TUV and Alliance?



  • Mark

    That’s OK – I gathered that!

  • Re-engaged

    ‘Lose alot of votes to TUV’

    Assume this will not be based on their candidate – read any of his recent entries?

  • Re-engaged

    Agree Mark – very unlikely scenario – any (and there will be) leakage (what a terrible phrase) from DUP and PR personally will split 3 ways in the order of UC, TUV and All

  • Bill White

    LucidTalk Statement:

    LucidTalk volunteered to do a Fast-Trak Poll at their own expense for The Belfast Newsletter and Slugger O’Toole.

    Yes, as Mick says, LucidTalk were originally planning to do 2 ‘Deep-Polls’ in two targeted N. Ireland constituencies, however the time and cost constraints were too prohibitive. This is because ‘Deep-Polls’ are required if you target specific seats, in order to achieve the level of accuracy required to do a seat forecast. Deep-Polls involve a sample size of 400 per seat, structured around 40 clusters across the targeted constituency thus providing a balanced socio-economic, and religious sample etc., which is representative of the entire constituency etc. They also have to be done door-to-door and face-to-face, as they involve offering a range of candidate names and political parties, to the prospective voter – It’s too cumbersome to carry out this type of poll by telephone.

    Due to the time constraints, LudidTalk had only 2 days to do this Poll, and as such, had to do/use the ‘Fast-Trak’ methodology of a Telephone poll, using a sample size of 360 across six N. Ireland constituencies. Some people are asking what these six constituencies are – This is irrelevant, as the six reflect, and were meant to reflect, a balanced representation of the whole of Northern Ireland thus ensuring that when you do an 18 seat projection that this reflects (within the bounds of normal error) what the situation is throughout Northern Ireland.

    As such, we carried out a six-constituency telephone poll with a sample size of 360 chosen from across these six constituencies. We then did a projection of this polling data across all 18 Westminster constituencies, and produced the results that are detailed in the report.

    Naturally these ‘Fast-Trak’ polls have a higher error factor, than the ‘Deep Poll’ methodology mentioned above, and should be taken as an approximate prediction only.

    Yes – Everyone can criticise all polling, and the various polling methodologies, and Yes, there is a higher error Factor with the ‘Fast-Trak’ polling method used for this Poll. However, it’s interesting to note that those who criticise the poll above, then go on to do their own projections and forecasts! (I wonder what they base those projections on?)

    I emphasise again that this Poll was done at LudidTalk’s own expense, as I thought it would be a useful exercise to carry out 5-6 days before the election. The Poll has cost several hundred pounds.

    BTW: I agree that perhaps the PUP shouldn’t have been included in the poll, however you have to make a judgement that if someone is not given PUP as an option, then you may get a ‘don’t know’, or a ‘refuse to say’ etc., which is hard to categorise.

  • Mark

    And that’s what I mean – the votes simply have too far to spread to cause Peter Robinson to lose his seat. (hostage to fortune moment there!)

    I think that the UUP candidate in East Belfast will cost them some votes – for all Reg Empey’s drawbacks he has a long and honourable record of service in the constituency (disclaimer – I haven’t been in the UUP since 1991 so I’m not a fan) whereas the celebrity candidate who has only really been in public life politically since 2006 looks a bit more vulnerable.

    Given all Peter Robinsons “connections” in the constituency, him being First Minister and all the rest ……… DUP hold.

  • Mark

    Going on the 2005 and past assembly results (translated to the new boundaries) the combined Sinn Fein/SDLP vote looks like it totals about 41% of the vote.

    The DUP vote looks like about 29% (based on the same premise as above) and the UUP vote about 22%.

    I don’t think that Paula Bradshaw is as high profile a candidate as Michael McGimpsey (the UUP candidate last time) but the UUP vote will probably hold up (ish)

    Mr Spratt is working hard to get the vote out – and as always the unionist vote staying at home is one of their real difficulties but I would have thought

    SDLP – 40%
    DUP – 36%
    UUP – 18%
    Alliance – 7%

    That’s my take anyway!

  • Mark McGregor


    Thanks for explaining how useless a poll it is.

    Can you explain how Slugger’s name ended up attached to it in the News Letter.

    An attempt to give cedibility to something this site would have ripped the piss out of as utterly worthless in all other circumstances?

  • madraj55

    I expect the TUV’s support, like SF’s would be underrated due to people giving answers they think the more correct, rather than their real intentions. So the DUP will take a bigger hit from TUV than presently believed.

  • Mark


    I see where you are coming from but my judgement is that TUV in East Belfast has a real difficulty – they have no base to grow from – Jim Allister in North Antrim has a good springboard, just as Bob McCartney did in North Down but David Vance has a bigger hill to climb than either of them.

    The UKUP vote in 1998 was about 5.5%, and was at its highest in the forum election at around 7% – I think the UKUP is a useful parallel here – a strong independent leader with a high national profile appealling to a more “traditional” unionist voter. The UKUP candidate was also a former DUP’er (Denny Vitty) who was well known in the constituency.

    I am (in my projections – or wild ass guess if you prefer) allowing dissatisfaction with Peter Robinson to have a higher effect on the TUV vote than the maximum 7% that the UKUP acheived.

    I think that few DUP votes will naturally transfer to the Alliance and agree with you that the TUV will benefit most from an DUP fall off!

  • Charminator

    But I guess that assumes a lot of the Shinners vote SDLP this time. Isn’t it also likely they’ll just stay at home, especially since the SDLP didn’t reciprocate in FST.
    Thanks for the analysis though Mark – I just can’t help wondering whether the Unionist vote will move more significantly to the DUP, given the realisation that backing the UUP could simply be an SDLP vote.

  • Charminator

    Do LucidTalk have a website…. I googled and can’t find anything. :-S

  • Mark


    You are right – that was a rather crude assumption on my part – that SF voters will transfer to SDLP en bloc.

    I don’t know Paula Bradshaw but I would say that if she does do really badly it bodes extremely badly for the future of the UUP particulary if Reg doesn’t succeed in South Antrim.

    I have heard a lot of negative comments about Willie McCrea on this site but he has a huge profile amongst the core unionist voters. South Antrim also is a “no” constituency in my view – I think he will hold South Antrim over Reg Empey.

  • Mark McGregor

    Bill, sorry I am going to have a big spake on one of the worst and most partisan abuses I’ve ever seen of Slugger.

    Probably isn’t my place but feck it I say my mind.

    Admittedly Mick has long allowed those of us with political agendas to contribute to the site and therefore massage a story to suit our own outlook but what I read in today’s News Letter moved way beyond that to using identification with the site in an attempt to attach credibility to ‘polling’ of little value, limited integrity and even worse possibly attempt to influence an election with toilet paper data spun as legitimate polling.

    Your poll on such limited geographical areas, using the worst of sampling methods and smallest of small sample sizes could never return anything worthy of being covered outside a small group of idiotic party hacks. Indeed, it would normally have attracted pointed fingers and laughing from most clued up contributors to this site.

    Attaching the name of Slugger to such awful data that then tried to paint several constituencies as in play for the party you support was a low and questionable act.

    There is nothing of value in your polling; any regular blogger on Slugger, member of a political party, journalist or person with a passing interest must surely see you have attempted to use an association with this website to gain some sort of legitimacy for a pile of worthless crap that seems to benefit a party your an intimately connected with.

    You should be ashamed of yourself.

  • James Broadhurst


    Are you in the DUP? I’d say your predicitions bare a striking resemblance to something a DUP canvasser/campaign worker would write.

    Overestimated DUP support, by rather a long way.Plus it is likely South Antrim is gone for the DUP. Thats not even accounted for.

    To to sum the abover predicition up: Rubbish.

  • James Broadhurst


    Seriously, having read your comments on this thread I can now tell you are definately a DUP supporter.

    It really is hard to get an objective view on this website.

  • Mark

    Hi James,

    How charming! Its nice to see reasoned debate alive and well!.

    In answer to your question, no, not in the DUP, never have been. I lived in East Belfast for 29 years,worked on the No campaign in the 1998 referendum, wrote some stuff for the UKUP in 1998/1999 and left NI in 2001.

    No fan of Peter Robinson or the DUP generally, though I have a couple of friends who are DUP elected representatives. I am a “No” unionist but also a pluralist who is slightly left of centre – I am a member of no political party and live in England.

    OK then, you tell me – where are DUP going to lose all these seats and on what size of swing to either the TUV or UUP – for example in South Antrim given the last election results etc etc the DUP would need to lose over 11% from their support and that all go to the UUP – do you think that likely.

    Similarly in Strangford …. look at the numbers, if what you say is true then there would have to be a very large swing to the UUP.

    Jeep55 threw another interesting point in above he said “The Civil Service vote is not going to go to UCUNF as that would be like asking turkeys to vote for Christmas!” – there may be some truth in this and given the high proportion of public servants in NI I don’t think we should overlook this element.

    I thought my analysis, whilst done in a very amateuish way, was not unreasonable and not a million miles away from what others are saying. Tell me something better James – what makes you think that the DUP will lose all these seats and who to?

  • Mark


    I agree – hard to get objectivity anywhere, even on other blogs…….

  • Mark

    Actually, i am getting a little ticked off by James’ accusation of bias on my part. I re-read my comments above and saw the following

    I said “The DUP team (from a distance) appears to have a reasonable “stature” and high recognisabilty (is that a word?) – this is a benefit and a disadvantage for obvious reasons” hardly a ringing endorsement

    I said “Mike Nesbitt seems a likeable character however and I just wondered if Irisgate might still hurt the DUP” – bringing up that sore isn’t exactly a DUP position.

    I said “in South Belfast, unless Paula Bradshaw’s vote completely implodes I wouldn’t have imagined that Jimmy Spratt could edge ahead.” – well that seals it – straight copy and paste from the DUP website!

    I said “for all Reg Empey’s drawbacks he has a long and honourable record of service in the constituency ” – ?? what’s wrong there?


  • Cynic


    What are the error margins please?

  • Mark McGregor

    Error margins? The methodolgy doesn’t even hit the realm of error margins.

    More validity in a show of hands in a pub.

  • unionistvoter

    you want see a badly conducted poll? read the telegraph in the morning

  • Cynic
  • jeep55


    A lot of commentators are expecting Alliance to get squeezed hard in South Belfast. What I am hearing is not suggesting that. In 2001 and 2005 Alliance had no MLA in the area and they had to run a local councillor from the SE of the constituency. So the vote got squeezed to about its absolute minimum of 6% . Anna Lo doubled that in her first Assembly election and I expect her to hold that vote even with a slight squeeze, for the her profile would suggest she is a candidate who is growing her vote. Also the “endorsement” of SF for SDLP will hardly send waivering Alliance voters into the SDLP camp. It is the same psychology that will result in less Alliance voters in North Down voting tactically for Sylvia Hermon this time after the DUP endorsed her. South Belfast is also an area of academics – I’ll be surprised if the Greens don’t get at least 3-4%. And most of the difference with your figures is going to come from SDLP – who I see being on about 35%. That leaves about 50% for the Unionists. Spratt has to out-poll Paula Bradshaw by 70%:30% to win. A hard task but she is the candidate most likely to be squeezed in this tustle. McDonnell is by no means safe. Don’t be surprised if Paula Bradshaw comes in behind Anna Lo and Spratt takes the seat.

  • Mark


    Thanks for this – really interesting stuff – I’ll watch that one on election night.

    I have a half-baked theory (who would have thought!) that votes in a PR type election aren’t always a reliable indicator of how it will go in a FTP election in a marginal. People are electing a winner rather than six members and I wonder does that sometimes change things.

    As for the Green and Alliance vote – given that NI voters(even an area stuffed full of academics) sometimes “run home to Momma” in extremis – might middle class Roman Catholics who normally might vote Green or Alliance see Dr McDonnell in difficulties and vote to keep him in.

    Unionists are no different in this respect I suppose, when the need arises many will make sure their man gets in and remember that the seat was represented by “very Unionist ” members for a long time – two of whom were seen as so noteworthy that they were murdered in office.

    I note your points and look forward to watching events unfold – thanks again!

  • medillen

    The civil service vote point is interesting, but without full knowledge of the figures my understanding is that the majority of civil servants are catholics in the lower grades it is only the higher up you go that the levels become predominantly protestant. Therefore the impact of the civil service vote may not have as much bearing as you think on unionist battles.

  • Mark


    That’s a good point, not one I had considered, if your feel for the make up of the lower grades is correct that might well have a bearing.

    Thank you for that – I’ve been away too long – a rookie mistake!

  • Pickled Badger

    I think you underestimate the difficulties facing the DUP in South Belfast. Alasdair McDonnell is far from hated amongst a lot of moderate unionist voters. People might prefer a unionist but there isn’t much motivation to vote him out on a personal level, nor any great regard for Jimmy Spratt. Spratt isn’t loathed but he isn’t a vote winner either.

    Secondly after Iris and policing and justice the DUP have offended a vast swath of their core support, some of whom could go to UCUNF, some of which will undoubtedly just stay at home.

    Add these factors to Maskey’s withdrawal and the numbers just aren’t there for the DUP in my opinion.

    If the DUP overall get 24% they should be delighted as they could fare far, far worse given the European elections. Alliance though I still can’t see winning East Belfast. My money would still be on Robbo, Ringland second, Long third.

    The nationalist side of the poll is far more interesting. I can see the SDLP vote up in South Belfast (Maskey and a personal vote), West Tyrone (Deeney’s vote) and South Down (Caitriona Ruane). Elsewhere it is doubtful to see where they will be anything but squeezed, especially FST.

    I’d be very curious if any SDLP backers here think this poll is inaccurate and if so where they think the tide could be turning in their favour.

  • Lionel Hutz

    I think that Foyle, despite boundary change will become more secure. Mclaughlin was much more high profile than Anderson and I remain of the view that freed from the shackles of party leadership, Durkan has become more popular. I expect an that majority will atleast come back to the level of 2005 (2007 assembly showed a slump) and could increase.

    One other place I’m looking at is my own constituency of Newry Armagh. Now I would not even consider an SDLP win but it will be interesting to see if SDLP can come back to a level that could see two seats in the assembly next time round. The seat can hardly yet be seen as a Sinn Fein heartland

  • Lionel Hutz

    Re: Newry & Armagh

    they should have run Sharon Haughey

  • Bill White

    OK All

    There’s been a lot of abuse fired at LucidTalk, and myself, and yes, also at the Bel. Tele. poll to be published later today (let’s see what it says before we comment).

    I don’t take back anything I’ve said in the statement above. I said I ‘volunteered’ this information to the Newsletter and Slugger FOC – I covered all the costs myself!

    It doesn’t matter who was going to publish first – Slugger or the Newsletter, the fact is I volunteered to do this Poll at my own expense, and I did that. If I’m doing this at my own expense, then I reserve the right to present the results in any way, and within any timing I choose. BTW: The methodology I used is not garbage as someone has said, it has a rigour to within a 3% error, and if anyone wants to discuss this with me then they are very welcome to do so – Mobile No. below. However, as I explained above, of course there are much more accurate ways of Polling e.g. ‘Deep Polling’ (as described above), but these have to be paid for – the old line comes to mind: ‘You pay for what you get’!

    Apparently, the Bel. Tele. later today are going to publish an 18 constituency poll with a sample size of 160 per each constituency (or so I’m told!), and apparently they’re not going to publish their polling methodology – this borders on the limits of credibility for a Poll. However, again I would say, I’m not going to criticise the Bel. Tele., as I don’t know the business relationship that they have with their supplying company for this polling – i.e. INFORM (maybe it’s all been done free of charge!).

    The bottom line with all this is, that you can’t expect polling companies to go on providing this service FOC, and then start criticising them on blogs like Slugger, or if you’re journalist, in your columns. If you don’t like what we say then ignore it!!

    It’s unbelievable isn’t it – I do this as a hobby, at my own expense (a labour of love if you like), with maybe the small possibility of building a small business, with maybe one employee, which would help the N. Ireland economy, and all you get is a lot of abuse!

    BTW: this point also applies to INFORM’s poll in tomorrow’s Bel. Tele. – at least they’re also trying to do something positive, and move N. Ireland forward a bit!

    Incidentally, I see Ed Currans column in last-nights Bel. Tele., follows my predictions exactly!

    In any case, and I say this to everyone, there’s a day of reckoning comes to all Pollsters – It’s called election day: let’s see what happens on Thursday night – not long to go now!!!

    Bill White – LucidTalk
    M.: 07711 450545

  • Charminator

    @ Lionel: I’d have thought that Newry & Armagh a pretty secure SF heartland at this point. SF felt comfortable enough to even deselect their MLAs in the constituency in the past and run new people. I think Geraldine Donnelly is the only councillor holding the fort in the South Armagh wards for the SDLP. I’d expect that the SDLP vote will collapse further and no hope of them regaining a second seat next year. I think the Nationalist message from the election will be like all other elections for the last decade: the ongoing slow demise of the SDLP. Sad really. But trotting out policies like abandon abstentionism (for the British Parliament), as though the whole GFA arrangements were stages in copper-fastening the Union, is hardly going to endear the SDLP to the vast swathe of the Nationalist electorate. Nor will Margaret Ritchie as leader. In South Down, watch for a further slide in her vote, despite the presence of SF’s most unpopular minister in the constituency. In Foyle, Durkan’s vote (which was more motivated by the John Hume factor than by any personal love affair with Durkan) will also get squeezed. Anderson seems to be popular enough and even with the hardcore dissident element in Derry, her ‘Volunteer’ past hold some sway – especially when the only alternative is the SDLP.

  • slug

    “– this borders on the limits of credibility for a Poll”

    It is well into the not-credible territory frankly.

    The margin of error is 7% for the constituency polls in belfast telegraph and they are a week old. Useless.

  • madraj55

    The BT poll today suggests a very wide margin between Ian Paisley jnr and Sunny Jim’s TUV. So if JA can’t take a seat himself, he might as well abandon ship and follow Bob McCartney back into well earned obscurity.

  • Lionel Hutz

    I would agree that South Armagh is a Sinn Fein Heartland but Newry & Armagh is alot bigger than that. Most are floating voters who went over to Sinn Fein in 2005 for the first time. Its only five years ago and it would be unsafe to assume this is a long term safe seat for Sinn Fein. It is perhaps the only of Sinn Fein’s current constituencies where the nationalist vote was historically SDLP.

    Conor Murhy has more of a profile than Dominic Bradley, who was largely unknown to the electorate outside of Newry until recently. Conor Murphy has made a few gaffes in the past few years and he is not well liked (never makes it on TV). I see the vote as very much floating and Murphy certainly hasn’t nailed it down just yet. A strong SDLP candidate could get up to the two quota level. Bradley is not the man to take the seat from Murphy, but he may do better than last time round. I’m just interested.

  • Lionel Hutz

    Is that right? Were did you get that from. It seems a very strange poll.

    Makes Lucid’s one seem sensible

  • Charminator

    Yeah it’ll certainly prove interesting. I’m disappointed by the SDLP’s lacklustre campaign though. Emphasising aspects of policy like abstentionism and Adams’ judgement on internal family issues likely won’t wash with the public. Ritchie’s more of the firm school principal and lacks the ‘steady Eddie’ appeal of the outgoing MP. The most fortunate thing for the SDLP is perhaps that in two of their seats they’re either fighting a divided Unionist camp (Sth Belfast) or a poor adversary (Sth Down). Let’s see.
    But another slide in the polls should surely raise alarm bells before an even more important Assembly election next year.
    Then again, maybe the Irish Labour Party’ll be on the ballots by then!