Voting intentions survey – 44.1% wouldn’t vote (3:2 women:men) + the party split of those who would vote

LucidTalk’s latest survey is providing headlines for the Belfast Telegraph all week. Their voting intentions survey published in today’s paper shows the uphill struggle [Ed – or opportunity?] parties would have to motivate the electorate to positively engage in an election.

[Excluding people who would not vote] Overall the figures for the five Executive parties, with the 2011 vote in brackets, are DUP 29.3% (30%), Sinn Fein 26.1% (26.9%), UUP 10.8% (13.2%), SDLP 13.8% (14.2%) and Alliance 10.2% (7.7%). Forty-five per cent of Alliance support is concentrated in South and East Belfast.

Smaller parties which did not stand everywhere last time include the Greens (1.3%), Ukip (1.6%), NI21 (4.7%) and TUV (2.2%). This is a creditable start for NI21, the new party started by Basil McCrea and John McCallister.

In short it’s bad for the UUP, good for Alliance, and encouraging for NI21. The TUV will be rubbing their ankles as UKIP nip them. The Greens must be disappointed to be in last place.

The Belfast Telegraph note that NI21 “broke into double percentage points” in their two MLAs’ constituencies “where they got 15.6% support”.

Bill White segments the non-voters into helpful categories: Doers, Don’t Knows, Unpluggeds, Irritables, Alienateds. There’s further analysis from Liam Clarke looking at the socio-economic groups, gender, age and religion.

  • 51% of the AB groups (Professional and Managerial) say they won’t vote compared to 39% of DE.
  • Women are also less likely to vote than men in the proportion of 51% to 36%.
  • 52% of the 18-24 age-groups said they wouldn’t bother voting, compared with 40% of the 45-64 age-group, and 38% of the 65+ age-group.
  • 41% of Protestants said they wouldn’t vote compared with 37% of Catholics. In contrast, 56% who gave their religion as ‘other’ and 55% who said ‘none’ don’t intend voting.

[Image embedded from Belfast Telegraph article.]

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  • mjh

    Professional pollsters would advise against paying attention to statistics drawn from small sub sets of a poll sample, as the Bel Tel has here in respect of NI21 support in two constituencies and Alliance support in two others.

    There are two reasons. Firstly the sample in individual constituencies is simply too small. The margin of error for the whole poll will be plus or minus 3%, but for small samples that margin rises so high as to make the result virtually meaningless.

    Secondly a poll questions, or is weighted, to represent a cross section of the population as a whole. In this case they will have ensured that the balance of such factors as social class, urban v rural, religious background etc is similar to NI as a whole. But there is no attempt to balance this within subsets of the sample, such as women under 25, or people who live in a particular constituency.

    As an example of this if 45% of Alliance support was really concentrated in South and East Belfast they would be gaining over 40% of the votes in those two constituencies. I don’t think so.

  • RegisterForThisSite

    mjh, I basically pointed out yesterday that it’s a valueless poll, and having now found out the time period and the sample size it appears even more meaningless than I thought.

    For example (if my maths are correct) UKIP’s 0.9% is derived from 11 people out of 1222 saying they would vote for them. The Greens 0.7% is 8 people

    It’s an amateurish poll proven by attempting to break the figures down into small subsets where if just 2 or 3 people gave a different answer the percentages would would move noticeably.

    But I s’pose it’s bread n circuses on a slow news day

  • jeep55


    Absolutely agree everything you say about small polls. Nevertheless Westminster comes before the next Assembly election and I suspect Alliance will target two seats – not one – and that additional seat is South Belfast. They could win it.

  • mjh

    Register for this site.

    I am not saying this is a valueless poll. The sample size, around 1200, which is very healthy. It is as big a sample as used in the vast majority of polls in the UK, Ireland and the USA. And both the Bel Tel and Lucid Talk make clear that it was carried out to the recognised professional standards.

    The margin of error is 3%, which means that you can be 95% certain that the real level of UKIP support is somewhere between 0% and 4%.

    Now that may not be very usefull if all you are interested in is the level of UKIP support. But if you want to know, for example, the proportion of people who believe that the Parades Commission can be ignored, you are now 95% certain that the number is between 4% and 11%. IMHO that is important information.

    What newspapers should not do, is take a sub set of 130 people and draw unfounded conclusions from that.

  • mjh


    Fully agree.

  • USA


    If you are suggesting Alliance can win the South Belfast Westminster seat I think you are mistaken. McDonnell was returned with an even greater vote last time out. The situation is now such that even if Unionism agreed on a single candidate (as has been mooted) and turned the race into another sectarian headcount, the SDLP may still win the seat (and I think they will). I really don’t see Alliance as having a hope at a Westminster seat in SB. Last time out they increased their vote considerably but it still only sits at 15%. Don’t look at Assembly returns and project them onto Westminster elections – apples and oranges my good man.

  • Charles_Gould

    It seems a good poll to me.

    By the way, a poll of 100 carries useful statistical information, its just that the “standard deviation” of the means is wider, so that the sample mean is more likely to deviate from the population mean.

    Its not “either/or” with the size of polls…it is a sliding scale. But the size of the overall sample here (1000+) gives good, accurate, results.

  • Mick Fealty

    If this were anywhere else, we’d be looking at that big figure for none of the above and speculating perhaps that the game could be up for grabs.

    It’s an indication of lack of satisfaction with Stormont’s performance. Rates for undecided in the Republic wobbles between about one in five and one in three. 44% is huge.

    Can I also suggest that that figure of 51% of ABs intending not to vote can be also be read as the degree to which the middle classes are disengaged from politics.

    So surely it is simples: whomever successfully re-engages effectively with middle class concerns could pick a vote bonus between now and the next elections in 15/16.

    The question is, will anyone?

  • Charles_Gould

    “So surely it is simples: whomever successfully re-engages effectively with middle class concerns could pick a vote bonus between now and the next elections in 15/16. ”

    I agree. In fact, a long term trend that one might expect is that the middle class market is entered.

  • Red Lion

    Not a bad wee indicator for NI21

    I work out that their 4.7% if matched to 2011 election (turn out 661753) equates to 31,102 votes.

    I’m crap at maths so i’m sure holes will be picked in it (and I know this calculation doesn’t take account of declinng voter turnout)

    But, given they are only 4 months old and haven’t got local structures or candidates and hardly any press coverage, its all very encouraging, as the man said.

  • Mick Fealty

    Well they have no baggage as such. Segmenting the market is sound approach, and NI21 is fishing in the right pools.

    Now the bad news, which is mostly what someone said already: the margin of error swings pretty badly for small parties in the lower ranges.

    Add to that the problem of having to build from where you are rather than where you’d to be. S Down is a tough defence for John, whichever way you look at it.

    It’s the quality of their pitch that is going to matter and whether they can convince people they have a serious chance of winning (which is exactly what got Naomi Long EB) more than LV.

  • Charles_Gould

    The only thing that I would suggest for LT and for Slugger is that the comparison should not be with the General Election, but with the last LT poll. Then we can see trends. The change within a poll is more informative than the change between a GE and a poll.

  • keano10


    Bearing in mind that you spent all. last week eulogising about Messrs McDonnell and McKinney, this is another pretty catastrophic indicator for the SDLP. Sinn Fein’s figures in Opinion Polls are notoriously well below their eventual vote, so 26.1% is hugely encouraging for them.

    Let’s be honest. The SDLP really have nowhere to go here. Do they?

  • Mick Fealty

    Absolutely agree keano, if they cannot wake up the middle classes. They are/will be political toast for someone else’s topping… (naff metaphor, I know, but the best I could do in the short time available).

  • RegisterForThisSite

    No mjh I said it was valueless, all I can say is look at polls in Ireland there are 3-4 polling companies all working to recognised standards yet Red C is the only one that can be relied on to get it right.

    Northern Ireland is an even tougher environment to do polls in due to local divisions, a read through past NILT surveys proves that (apparently the majority of nationalists vote SDLP)

    There’s a lot more to doing polls or indeed anything than merely following standards. For example I have several of Delia’s cookbooks, I can follow recipes to the letter so is my cooking on a par with Delia’s….sadly not

    Sorry but Bill’s polling just doesn’t do it for me

  • Red Lion

    Well, yes Mick, have to agree.

    But, it’s nonetheless pretty good for NI21 that after a mere 4 months and limited exposure they are seeping into NI political consciousness. They are active though, so someone’s taking note.

    And even with the 3% error factor it would be worse if they came out behind the TUV and UKIP, and PUP, Tories, so an indicator of something going right.

  • Charles_Gould


    The SDLP should not be about the middle classes.

    The SDLP stand for labour politics and the interests of the ‘working class’ is advocated by labour politics.

  • Charles_Gould

    ……..the SDLP do well in Derry, which is not a “middle class ghetto”. I’ve argued here that I’d like to see it look harder at West Belfast, rather than the leafy lanes of Strangford.

  • Dixie Elliott

    Well the SDLP need not worry in Derry given the anger over O’Dowd’s decision to close the Woodlands Language Unit for Special Needs Children.

    The laughter of our children indeed.

  • ayeYerMa

    Registerforthissite: “Northern Ireland is an even tougher environment to do polls in due to local divisions, a read through past NILT surveys proves that (apparently the majority of nationalists vote SDLP)”

    That SDLP “discrepency” in the NILT surveys has been explained to you time and again. NILT does not ask who you voted for, nor who you are going to vote for, nor indeed whether you intend to vote at all; rather it asks who you “support”.

    This poll (as well as a previous QUB poll) further back that up by being more specific on voting intention. If 44% have no intent to vote at all then there is your answer.

  • keano10

    I would also go against the tide and say that the proposed voting intentions in relation to NI21 are extremely disappointing for Basil McCrea and Co.

    Never mind the longevity of this party. It cannot be used as an excuse for them. If NI21 were ever going to succeed electorally, then the first 6 months for them were always going to be the most crucial. They needed to blaze out of the traps and make serious inroads from the outset. If they have been unable to do that against a backdrop of flag disputes, bitter sectarian parade disputes etc…, then what hope realistically is there for them? Their political journey is even more unpredictable after this poll…

  • RegisterForThisSite

    Can I also point out that the Bel Tel gives the overall vote share from the 2011 Assembly elections for comparison whereas for comparison to peoples voting intentions today they should have used the first preference vote percentages ie

    LT 2011
    DUP 29.3 (29.3)
    SF 26.1 (26.3)
    UUP 10.8 (12.9)
    SDLP 13.8 (13.9)
    All 10.2 (7.7)
    TUV 1.2 (2.4)
    Green 0.9 (0.9)

  • sean treacy

    Agree with keano. I have followed election results and opinion polls for 30 years and can say in all that time I have never seen an opinion poll that did not underststate sf supportin in the north.The only consistently accurate polls for sf are red c in the south.Accordingly if I was an sdlp strategist this latest poll would be setting the alarm bells ringing

  • Kensei

    Turnout at the last Assembly election was what, 56%? What this poll says is that there hasn’t been any major shifts since 2011. So no, I don’t see anyone magically managing to pull a big slice of that missing vote. What changes that gets them out?

    If NI21 are going down a route of talking about flags on council buildings, they are already nuked. The Alliance exists for that and they do sweet Fanny Adams once you are out of the posher bits of Belfast, and whatever else is true, the appetite for Cafflicks to vote for the right Unionist party, if it just came along and said the right things has shall we say, been somewhat exaggerated by well, loads of people here. Now if they came along and promised a modern tram system for Belfast, free third level education and reduction in rates and whatever else, well, maybe we’d have a game. But good luck getting the figures for that to work.

    A body remains at rest or at constant velocity unless acted on by an outside force. The chances of something knocking us out of dull status quo seems slim, but maybe events will make it.

  • Charles_Gould

    It would be more interesting to compare party strengths in this LT poll with the last LT poll

  • RegisterForThisSite

    ayeYerMa, the question NILT use is:

    “If there were a general election tomorrow, which political party do you think you would be most likely to support?”

    So just explain it to me one more time cos I don’t understand why they mention a “General Election” at the start of the question if it’s not about voting intentions,

  • Mick Fealty


    In Derry their deep line of defence is the Culmore Road. You graft Labour politics onto them alone, and they really will be finished. There is no class politics in Ireland north or south.

    Instead in both jurisdictions we have conglomerations of ‘castes’, who’s politics are rarely if ever distilled down to the kind of material politics you get elsewhere in Europe.

    At least in the first place if you cannot build a functional coalition between various interests, you won’t ever get to first base.

    Social Democracy, maybe. Labour is a hard sell in almost every rural constituency, and if you don’t have those, you don’t have much.

  • Charles_Gould

    NILT do not ask if they’re going to vote, just who they would if the did. 50% of people don’t.

  • Charles_Gould


    ” There is no class politics in Ireland north or south. ”

    There are class issues, and class politics that relate to those issues. For example education, NHS, public services.

  • sean treacy

    Charles ,the sdlp is ALL about the middle classes.You quote derry but their lead there is down to their total dominance of the middle class vote. they would be well behind sf in the derry working class vote.In south Belfast Alex maskey beats them hands down in the working class parts of the constituency,For all his talk about labour values Conall mcdevitts vote was over whelmingly middle class.

  • Charles_Gould

    Sean—I would argue that SDLP have held on to labour values and are the better party for promoting working class interests. The NHS, Welfare Reform, Water Charges,etc.

    Certainly, SF dropping plans for a Wealth Tax show their direction of travel.

    West Belfast represents an opportunity for the SDLP, it can do a lot better there, given the nature of the constituency.

  • mjh

    If the next Assembly election followed this poll there would be few changes.

    In South Belfast Alliance would pick up a seat from the SDLP. The UUP would probably keep their seat, although it would be under threat from the DUP.

    Alliance would gain the second in East Antrim that they missed by 60 or 70 votes last time, at the expense of SF.

    If McClarty were to join NI21 they would stand a good chance of holding East Londonderry.

    There would be no change in Foyle, although the SF total would be only about 500 votes short of the SDLP – which is a little too close for comfort.

    McCrea would probably hold Lagan Valley for NI21, with DUP dropping a seat.

    His collegue would lose South Down back to the UUP.

    In North Down Alliance were within less than 100 votes of taking a second seat. This time they would gain it – probably at the expense of the UUP, although the Greens could be the victim.

    Strangford promises to be a real scrap. The UUP would lose their second seat. NI21 are more likely to be the beneficiaries than the SDLP.

    The UUP second seat in Upper Bann is in danger. If it falls it would probably be Alliance that would pick it up – although NI21 could not be ruled out.

  • mjh

    Sorry West Tyrone. I should have said that the DUP already had enough votes in 2011 to take the UUP seat, if they had been balanced better. On this poll it would almost certainly go DUP.

  • Charles_Gould


    Any revival of PUP fortunes in East Belfast, where activists have been busy?

  • Mick Fealty

    Maybe CG, but it is not a case of one or the other. It has to be both.

    SF are dropping the wealth tax because the conditions they are facing in the south dictate they drop the socialist trappings of the Democratic Programme of 1919 (

    To gain power in the south they may already be getting in line with the very conservative, post revolutionary instincts that GA was decrying earlier this year.

    In South Down and Foyle the SDLP have an alliance of the middle and working class. They simply could not sustain a majority position in either place without both.

  • mjh

    Charles Gould

    This poll does not give a figure for PUP. So any PUP supporters would have had to either pick one of the parties named by the pollsters, or select ‘Other’.

    I do, however, notice that the poll shows TUV on 2.2% and UKIP on 1.6%. Their combined total of 3.8% is the same as the combined vote in 2011 for TUV, UKIP, PUP, BNP and Dawn Purvis. Make what you will of that coincidence.

  • Charles_Gould

    “To gain power in the south they may already be getting in line with the very conservative, post revolutionary instincts that GA was decrying earlier this year. ”

    Indeed. Thing is that a Wealth Tax isn’t especially radical. The Institute for Fiscal Studies points out that it is “non-distortionary” (in the sense that it does not change behaviour, as houses cannot move); the Lib Dems support such a thing too. That SF are dropping it really shows what they are up to: maneuvers to the right.

    “In South Down and Foyle the SDLP have an alliance of the middle and working class. They simply could not sustain a majority position in either place without both.”

    There is a definitional issue – who counts as working class? Owen Jones has argued that the definition needs to be widened to include a lot more service and public sector workers than the traditional notion of urban factory workers; but in any case the left does need support from middle class to further labour politics.

    I didn’t mean to say that the SDLP is predominantly or nearly all working class, rather that they do have a lot of working class support broadly defined.

  • Mick Fealty


    NI21 for Strangford? You giving an unnamed candidate Mike’s seat?

  • sean treacy

    Charles ,sf have NOT DROPPED the wealth tax.This misunderstanding stems from an Irish Times story which assumed they had dropped it because it was not mentioned in a submission.The reason it was not mentioned in that particular submission was that submission was only for costed proposals. Gerry Adams, Pearse Doherty and several other senior figures have insisted that a wealth tax will be in next election manifesto.Even a cursory glance at last weeks sinn fein or an phoblacht websites would have confirmed this for you

  • Mick Fealty

    It was dropped from the party’s budget submission, which as you say the party always has properly costed on Dept of Finance figures. That’s what prompted the IT to write that story. Why do you think it wasn’t costed?

  • IJP


    Great analysis! Spot on on every point, I think.

  • aquifer

    “If this were anywhere else, we’d be looking at that big figure for none of the above and speculating perhaps that the game could be up for grabs.”

    Abolutely. All those ABC1s who might like less tax, pro-choice women who would come out to vote for that.

    All we need is politicians who can take a position.

    Basil could be the man to do this and flush the others out, and his 4 point something is a great start.

    With Stormont approval at 9 percent there is a danger of an outbreak of real politics around here.

  • Red Lion

    From memory Dawn Purvis fairly closely missed out on being elected in East Belfast last time out as an independent. I voted for her.

    A real shame, she would have been a much needed alternative voice at Stormont. I’d love to see her have a crack at East Belfast again under a NI21 banner. I think her outlooks would fit in well

  • mjh

    Hi Mick

    The drop in the UUP vote indicated by this poll would take the UUP in Strangford down from 1.4 of a quota to about 1.1. So the second seat would be toast.

    I favour NI21 to take it based on the following assumptions:
    1) Transfer paterns remain similar to 2011
    2) The poll indicates an Alliance surplus of about 0.25 of a quota. A small part will this will not transfer, but the rest will split with no more than 40% going to the SDLP. (It would probably be less given the nature of the constituency.)

    This would take the SDLP to a maximum of about 0.8 of a quota after all transfers.

    3) I have allocated the NI21 votes among the constituencies based on the shares of votes for the UUP and Alliance in 2011 (A little under 30% of UUP votes in Belfast and surrounding constituencies and 20% in others. 11% of Alliance votes.) Both the UUP and Alliance were relatively strong in this constituency, so NI21 gets allocated 0.5 of a quota.

    4) On the poll figures there is a combined total of 0.5 of a quota available from the DUP, UUP, UKIP and TUV and I am assuming that most of this will make its way to NI21.

    This would take NI21 to a maximum of 1 quota.

    So on my estimates NI21 are more likely. But it could be the SDLP.

  • Charles_Gould

    “I think her outlooks would fit in well”

    Not sure. She is left of centre economically and wants to abolish academic selection and give women the right to choose.

  • sean treacy

    Mick and Charles, From last weeks An phoblacht website. SF finance spokesperson has explained that every year for the last number of years,the budget submission has been entirely costed by the Dept of Finance with the exception of one measure-the wealth tax.This is a measure the Dept refuses to cost.It is also one that they attack every year because it is as they say uncosted. THE WEALTH TAX is in our budget plan this year.It is in it up top;as always and in its usual format; [ the spokesperson quoted is Pearse Doherty]

  • paulG


    The addition of Catholic/Nationalist wards to Strangford was expected to guarantee the SDLP a seat. A very poor SDLP turnout in last time is unlikely to be repeated next time – It is surely their No.1 target seat.

    NI21 could bring out a lot of new or lapsed voters as well, so I’d give them a fighting chance but I think they’d need a very popular personality to win it.

  • paulG

    Interesting that Sinn Fein score disproportionately higher with Atheists (would surprise some) while the Alliance score disprortionately less with them (surprised me).

    Also the UUP support is primarily from 2% of Catholics and 8% of Protestants. Catholics now make up almost 20% of what’s left of UUP supporters. Major Gorman types I suppose.

    A little reminisent of the Belgian and Norwegian Viking SS Battalions being some of the last defenders in Berlin – nowhere else to go, but wait for the end.

  • Mick Fealty




    Isn’t their second seat already gone UKIP?

  • mjh

    Yes Mick

    I should have made clearer that my comparisons were with the Assembly Election in 2011.

    On this poll Nesbitt would keep his seat for the UUP, but the second seat won by McNarry – now of UKIP – would go.

    The poll does not give any hope to McNarry of winning based on his new party ticket. And neither the size of his first preference vote in 2011, nor the transfers to and from him in 2011 and 2007 suggest any significant personal vote. Indeed in 2007 he could only attract a derisory 55.6% of the transfers when his UUP collegue, Carson, was eliminated.

  • mjh


    You could be proved right about the SDLP turnout. But I wonder why they should be able to achieve a better turn out in 2016 than in 2011? After all it was a top SDLP target seat then.

    I’m not a great fan of the idea that NI21 will be able to bring disenchanted voters to the polls on any significant scale. I have seen no evidence that the non-voting population holds radically different opinions from their voting neigbours. Maybe they do, but where is the evidence?

    Also getting the more apathetic voter to the polls is a very expensive, labour intensive and time consumming business. I doubt if any party has the resources for that type of operation.

  • paulG


    You would think that the local honchos in the SDLP would have been tasked and trusted to deliver the seat in 2011. Following their abject failure one would imagine that the head honchos would have come in and looked for some accountability and will put a new man/woman in place to direct the 2016 election bid. – But then this is the SDLP so perhaps not.

    So you reckon NI21’s talk of re-engaging the electorate is hot air and it’s going to come down to stealing voters from the other parties – you’re probably right.

  • mjh


    Not “hot air” because I don’t at all doubt their sincerity. But I believe that it is a fundamental strategic mistake on their part.

  • paulG

    If half of the Alliance vote is in S & E Belfast, does that suggest that they’re not getting the numbers they need in N Down, S & E. Antrim and Lagan Valley ?

    Is there any more information on the percentages for the parties at Constituency level ?

  • ..stealing voters from the other parties..

    What a weird concept. Voters belong to a Party and if someone else persuades them to vote for them, then they are stealing someone else’s rightful property.

  • mjh


    It is impossible to get reliable information on party support in individual constituencies from this (or any other) poll.

    Although there is data available at constituency level, my comment at the beginning of this thread attempts to explain why it is of no use for determining party support at constituency level. The Bel Tel’s claim to make interpretations for South and East Belfast isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.

  • paulG

    Mister Joe,

    A temptress may only steal your heart, but with politicians they’ll start with your vote and before you know it, the Sherriff will be knocking on your door for anything that’s not nailed down.


    It’s all pie in the sky anyway, but it some ways, the less precise the figures, the more intriguing they are.

  • mjh


    Brilliant That really did make me laugh out loud.

  • South Belfast Hack

    Any explanation as to why the PUP don’t feature at all?

  • Mick Fealty

    The only revelatory figure is the disengaged. If you factor that out, the party figures don’t substantial change from 2007.

    But there is a slightly larger proportional discount on the SDLP figure over that of SF: ie, everyone’s supporters are feeling it, but the SDLP’s middle ground voters seem to be more affected by it than Sinn Fein’s.+

  • Mick Fealty


    The Coalition that Ervine built and Purvis was able to maintain broke when she left the party.

  • paulG

    As intended mjh, though it occurs it me now that it may contain more bitter truth for many former Fianna Fail voters, than I had realised.

  • paulG

    So, about as many Protestants are voting Sinn Fein as either TUV or UKIP – maybe Jim drove them to it!

    Not many Unicorns voting for DUP but maybe 3 % of them planning to vote for UKIP or NI21.

  • I tried to explain on another thread why the DUP especially would not get “Catholic” votes. It seems that a few will although these polls always exclude a final question – “Have you lied to us?”. I wonder would the liars answer such a question truthfully or would they go on lying.

  • RyanAdams

    I wouldn’t be writing John McCallister off in South Down just yet.

    He certainly has a loud enough profile in comparison with the other incumbents of the seat (Catriona, where art thou?). He’ll be up against two co-optees on the nationalist side, and Margaret Richie won’t be around this time to pull in a huge personal vote to get them anywhere near a third seat.

    As for SF, their South Down problems don’t look like ending anytime soon. The fall out of the Micky Coogan affair may harm them in the Ballynahinch/Drumaness area that is still within South Down, and consolidating the weak north part of the constituency was key to them aiming for the third seat.

    My feeling is John is well enough established here now and the nationalist ticket weak enough to ensure there is no change.

  • Red Lion

    John McCallister has a half decent chance but it will be tight though

    How much of his 4,400 votes last time were a personal vote and how much were solid UUP?

    He should be transfer-friendly, will any of the large SDLP following feel they will transfer to John, and would they do so at the expense of a further SDLP or SF endorsement?

    What will the 800 Alliance votes do? Support a realistic chance of John getting as an attractive middle ground alternative to sticking with an Alliance vote which isn’t going to impact?

    I’m going to say he’ll get in, just, and he and the NI21’s will need a strong campaign

  • Dixie Elliott

    Here’s a piece just released by Derry Sinn Fein calling for people to get on the electoral register…

    “Sinn Féin have shown the differences we can make when we have the mandate. The RUC as we know it is gone and never to return, along with the Orange State, The Orange Order can no longer dictate where they walk when they want!

    Unionism wants to change this and are currently registering in a big way!

    Keep Sinn Féin marching towards Unity and play your part, Register & Vote Sinn Fein!!…”

    Wrong Derry SF, the RUC are still part of the PSNI as was recently proven:


    This line is proof that SF and the DUP might be sitting together in Stormont but they need sectarian division to stay there…

    “Unionism wants to change this and are currently registering in a big way! ”

    Meaning….Man the barracades and ballot boxes they’re coming for us!!

  • mjh


    Very good point about Margaret Ritchie’s personal vote. I did not consider that when analysing the results of the Bel Tel poll.

    If the SDLP were to lose 50% of the voters who gave their first preference to MR then SF would be breathing down their neck with 2.25 quotas to the SDLP’s 2.3. Effectively the SDLP third seat could go either way.

    However it is clear from those figures that if SDLP lose a seat it will be gained by SF.

    In order for John McCallister to take a seat he has to do so at the expense of the UUP.

    Even if you make some very optimistic assumptions, that he gets:
    1. 20% of the Alliance 1st preference vote
    2. half of Margaret Ritchie’s voters who transfered to UUP last time, as 1st preference votes
    3. 70% of Alliance transfers which went to UUP last time
    4. 25% of Alliance non-transferred vote
    5. 50% of Green transfers which went to UUP last time
    6. 25% of Green non-transferred vote
    7. 30% of UKIP transfers which went to UUP last time
    8. 25% of UKIP non-transferred vote
    9. 15% of DUP transfers

    He would still need to get more than half of the 2011 UUP votes in order to beat the UUP candidate.

  • mjh

    Sorry. Please amend.

    “If the SDLP were to lose 50% of the voters who gave their first preference to Margaret Ritchie and their second to another party, then SF would be breathing down their neck…”

  • RyanAdams


    I believe John can get more than half of the 2011 UUP vote. He organically grew it in % against tough boundary decisions that saw most write his off in 2011.

    Departing from the UUP certainly won’t make him any more transfer repellent in an SDLP dominated constituency.

    SDLP/unionist Turnout would really need to dip in South Down for a third seat to become viable for SF. Their ticket is just too weak. Ruane is established in Warrenpoint, but Hazard has the task of consolidating the middle, and the North end of the constituency is always slim pickings for SF. Potentially slimmer after the Coogan affair, and that was a very public fall out. I think it’s fair to say there is too much internal politics at play inside the activist structures in South Down.

  • Queen_Maeves_Revenge

    That 51% of the managerial/professional AB class don’t intend voting is quite startling from a Southern perspective. It does seem that the NI21 party is starting to eat into the traditional UUP vote but not as they would have hoped from Catholics apathetic or opposed to a United Ireland.

  • mjh


    I respect what you say, and I have little doubt that McCallister has a personal vote which could be grown by the stand he has taken and by the greater exposure he has been getting.

    But, I have not so far found any example where the data shows a personal vote for a candidate as big as McCallister would need to take over 50% of the UUP vote.

    And although he may have outperformed his party compared to 2007 in the Assembly Elections, he only secured 10.6% share, whereas Nick Whyte’s analysis over on Ark shows the UUP taking 13.2% of the Local Government vote at the same time. To be in a position to take 50% of the UUP vote he should have been performing well ahead of his party.

    But it is unwise to say “Never, never, never”.

    Re SF, very interesting observations. But if they managed to perform as they did against such internal problems, what is the opportunity for them if they get their act together over the next three years? I’ve little doubt their HQ sees the opportunity and expect a battle royal between SF and SDLP in 2016.

  • Seamuscamp

    MJH got it right in the very first comment. Even if the lead question was framed less ambivalently (a big “if”), and if we assume the sample is a reasonable reflection of the NI population of voting age, and if there is no hidden bias of non-responders, the BTels’s comment about individual socio-economic classes or about individual constituencies is statistically invalid. It’s about as scientifically valid as homeopathy or chiromancy.

    Should we be surprised at shouty headlines in a newspaper? Where is the “news” in an item which says “not much change”? As RFTS demonstrated (9.01 on 17th Sept), there appears to be very little / no movement in first preference voting intentions (the poll doesn’t relate to overall voting intention), except for Alliance, UUP and TUV. Even the surge for Alliance could largely be accounted for by the degree of confidence in the poll.