BelTel Poll: Momentum is with the Alliance party and the Greens (everyone else as you were)

Bel Tel figures from the LucidTalk poll are well worth extracting from Liam Clarke’s article (finally coming online this morning from yesterday). The first thing to note is the absence of any significant deviation from the election results, which in my experience of NI polls is first.

Mind you, this is a more than respectable sample and not the 500 or 600 polls we have had before which suffer from massive distortional error rates. In truth though, there’s not much change.

DUP 30.7% (30.0%)
Sinn Fein 28% (26.9%)
SDLP 13% (14.2%)
UUP 11%, (13.2%)
Alliance 10.9% (7.7%)
Greens 3.7% (0.9%)
TUV 3.2% (2.5%)

Good news for the Greens is that they are probably the biggest movers in the sense that they move from being statistically insignificant to registering.

Adds: Mark McGregor (lately of this parish) points out on Twitter than the figure for the Greens in the election was based on a showing in only 6/18 constituencies so the comparison with last years election is out of kilter (;amateur’, is what he actually said).

Alliance can be happy too in the sense they seem to be carrying some momemtum, possibly the follow through from Naomi Long’s unseating of the First Minister (albeit in exceptional circumstances) and the existence now for three MLAs across Belfast.

Hardly a case of George Bush senior’s Big Mo, but they are the only decent sized party with any sign of momentum at all. But as Liam notes it is in the east of the province (beyond which it barely exists) it is already pulling ahead of the UUP.

I’d be wary of panic if I were in the UUP. A two per cent even in a poll this size is well within the margin of error. But it confirms that just changing the leader is no magic pill either.

After years of dismissing Alliance as an irrelevance (or even as a pot of excess unionist votes), it is a real threat (although in the medium term not exclusively) to them above all other parties in the east.

Stasis in the party stakes is probably what we can expect from future polls in this new political reality unless and until one or more of the smaller parties begin to provide a more cohesive challenge function.

There are other more instructive findings in the poll, which we will come to later in the day..

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  • salgado

    Was the question about who people “intended” to vote for? It seems to have given a much more useful answer than NILT “party support” question with the SDLP beating SF.

    Although I do find these figures a bit surprising,
    “Seven per cent of Catholic voters said they intended backing the DUP and 3% for the UUP, while 5% of Protestant voters said they would give their first preference to the SDLP and 3% to Sinn Fein.”
    Maybe the outreaching is actually having some effect?

  • IJP


    You’ve omitted the Alliance figure, which was 10.9% I believe?

  • IJP – I’d noticed that and added it in for Mick!

  • Mick Fealty

    Thanks boys!! Saw the @UUPOnline twitter account complaining yesterday about the paper’s headline that Alliance had overtaken the UUs.

    It’s a reasonable complaint, but it does not mean they have nothing to worry about.

  • IJP

    That headline was outrageous, Mick.

    Clearly it should have read “will overtake”…

  • salgado

    I suppose this poll is too small to have information by constituency? Are Alliance likely to gain much off the back of this, or are they just securing what they already have.

  • Mick Fealty

    I refer you IJP to the Slugger entry on ‘futuring’… 😉


    No constituency poll is worth very much… Though if we could get adrian kavanagh from Maynooth he might do some projections for us based on this poll?

    My feeling is that since most assets are controlled by the big two we’re only going to see a very marginal effect.

    And it is too far out to even do that reliably..

  • Dewi

    “Seven per cent of Catholic voters said they intended backing the DUP”…yeah…gulp…that’s about 20,000 people. Under slugger’s anomynity it would be great to if a few of these could explain…..

  • Mick Fealty

    There are many hidden depths to the PR STV system Dewi… All data will be released and available from 6pm tomorrow…

  • keano10

    “everyone else as you were…”

    Mick, I think that is a very loose interpretation of this poll (to put it mildly). Let’s start with the UUP – The poll places them on a crushing level of only 11%. Surely an all-time low? This is a further drop of 2.2% from their previous level of 13.2%. I would argue that this is a very significant drop in their support particularly when they should have had a bounce following the election of Mike Nesbitt as leader.

    Talking of which, this brings me to the SDLP who have dropped a further 1.2 to just 13%. This percentage has been directly lost to Sinn Fein who have risen by almost exactly the same margin up to 28%. Again the SDLP are slipping badly despite the election of another new party leader.

    The real headline here has nothing to do with Greens or Alliance. It is rather the continued capitulation of the once powerful parties of Nationalsim and Unionism. Between them , they can now only muster less than a quarter of all voters intending to vote.

    Armageddon may be closer for both of them than they ever imagined…

  • Dewi

    “There are many hidden depths to the PR STV system Dewi… All data will be released and available from 6pm tomorrow…”

    I’ll wait till then although the quote implied first preferences….

  • Mick Fealty


    If these were election results I would agree with your analysis. If Alliance were really over ten, Id expect some second seats in the east and some new council seats in the west if they had people to run for them.

    But margin of error is +/- 3%

  • RyanAdams

    Not suprising at all. Mick Alliance have been creeping to the west for sometime – New first seats on Ballymena, Coleraine, Craigavon and Down councils – West of the Bann well in view!

  • Bangordub

    “Ballymena, Coleraine, Craigavon and Down councils”
    West of the Bann? Am I missing something?

  • Mick Fealty

    ‘Well in view’ is what you’re missing BD…

  • Comrade Stalin

    The Alliance trend is clearly upwards but I’m not sure about identifying future potential seat wins. East Belfast is a safe Alliance two-seater with the party taking it from a half-quota in 2003 to nearly two quotas in 2012 (a single loyalist-linked candidate has a good chance of taking the last seat from Copeland), but that kind of success only comes from having a well motivated local campaigning team and with the exception of North Down I’m not sure where else this exists in the kind of strength that would be required to bring new voters out.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I wouldn’t predict any Alliance gains West of the Bann until the party sorts out whatever it is that blocks voters from supporting it there. It is clear that voters out there will vote for someone middle class and non-sectarian as they supported Kieran Deeney, twice. Some sort of charm offensive may be mandated.

  • Mister Joe

    Comrade Stalin,

    Deeny was a special case because of the hospital issue.
    Nationalist/republican candidates win out because of traditional mindsets.

  • Mister Joe

    And the “unionists” because of the fear of being overrun by the natives.

  • Mick Fealty

    Deeny was scion of an earlier Alliance project. My own pet hunch is the jigher levels of intermarriage in the east has socialised folk to the Alkiance project. Moving west would involve a further iteration of the project beyond ‘nice’ and ‘acceptable’.

  • Comrade Stalin


    The point is that people can be persuaded to vote along a non-tribal line if the message as right, and I see no reason why this should be restricted to the hospital matter. Deeny seemed to have no hesitation sitting with Alliance and voting with the party in the assembly.

    Mick, the party would have to figure out a way to recruit someone locally and give them the space to put the word out in their own way. Someone like Kieran Deeny.

  • Naughton

    Admittedly I’m in Belfast, and can’t comment on West of the Bann, but it has been interesting to watch as Alliance have been attracting some very bright, well connected non-politicos here. They have been quietly recruiting folks in business and community sector and Mick’s point on intermarriage is spot on – the three I know who have joined the party are all in mixed-marriages.

    If I were UUP and SDLP I would be very worried. McDevitt for all his flaws would have provided a new perspective, but SDLP looks dead on its feet and as for UUP…..