Belfast Telegraph poll: read with large pinch of salt

Mark Devenport’s blog at the BBC has the results of the latest opinion poll published in the Belfast Telegraph today (I cannot find it online yet). It seems a larger poll that the “Slugger O’Toole one” Mick mentioned.

Currently the Belfast Telegraph has:

DUP 26%
SF 25%
SDLP 17%
Alliance 7%
Independent 6%
TUV 5%

In terms of the seat tally they have all the sitting MPs reelected, though FST is impossible to call being a 1% margin between Gildernew and Rodney Connor. Paisley junior appears ahead in North Antrim and Jim Shannon in Strangford.

The problem with opinion polls in Northern Ireland is that they have never been particularly reliable due to the tendency for voters not to reveal their true intentions. In addition although the margin for error is 3% (for statistical geeks I presume on 95% confidence limits though I do not see it mentioned), the error margin for individual constituencies is not stated and sub group analysis is notoriously problematic. Finally of course the Belfast Telegraph itself has an excellent track record of producing opinion poll results only fractionally more accurate than the NIO’s. Lest anyone forget shortly before the 2005 general election some polls predicted the DUP being destroyed by the UUP. Still I suppose we can now all argue about this poll. I meanwhile am going to do a blog about werewolves.