If there’s any drama in the #EP14 election it’s going to be the battle for the last seat…

So, courtesy of Alex Kane, here’s the latest poll survey for the #EP14…

Adds: This was a survey of an expert panel of 220, not as I wrongly suggested a poll. So treat it as an intelligent guess rather than an opinion poll. Apologies.

Three things stand out for me:

  • One, the small shift between the SDLP has over the UUP which establishes a distance between that it is outside inside the margin of error.
  • Two, the disappointing showing for Anna Lo, who’s only on twice the figure NI21 is pulling in after less than a year.
  • Three, Allister’s lost vote seems to have disappeared right off the graph.

Two nationalist seats then? Maybe. But Attwood needs to pull in the upper range of the 3% margin of error. He’ll be looking for transfers from Sinn Fein’s poll topper and Anna Lo.

That lowish Alliance figure is in the same range as the 5.5% a less high profile Ian Parsley pulled in five years ago. She’d need to move up a few points more to give him a decent chance.

On the other hand, Nicholson may have the same surplus from Diane Dodds, but Allister looks like he’s slipped badly (13.66 to 7.8), so there won’t be as much to pick from him as last time.

It’s hard to comment on the smaller parties, since they all sit on a margin of error between six and zero.

Intriguingly there’s not sign of much effect from the flags debacle here.

The tiny shifts there are to be seen are marginal and reflect a long term weakening of the UUP position, with NI21 seemingly accounting for most of it three point loss.

When you think that nothing much has changed in these general patterns since 2007, we are on a plateau. The real story at the end of the day may be plummeting turnout.

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  • Anything in the story on sample size, when it was conducted etc and the undecided/won’t vote %?

  • Mc Slaggart

    “One, the small shift between the SDLP has over the UUP”

    As much as I like Alban Maginness and dislike Attwood I think the latter will get a much greater amount of transfers.

    His high profile on “Folks on the Hill” is bound to give him a few extra number 2 and 3 in the ballot box.

  • Mick Fealty

    Just asked Bill White on Twitter TD…

  • Gopher

    This is the first local government election in quite some time that has not been tied to Westminster or the Assembly so turnout is will be a big unponderable. It will be interesting if a local government election can motivate turnout for a European Election. Most vulnerable to a low turnout are the Three Stooges Alliance, UUP and SDLP. The new parties NI21 and Greens are less affected as their voters ain’t had the enthusiasm knocked out of them and are younger and likely have not voted before. Judging by the transfers from Alliance and Greens last Euro election NI21 and Greens will dent the Three Stooges first preferences.

    The story of the election is simply how many votes Ni21 will get. I would be happy to lay Attwood at 20/1 never mind 8/1

  • Mick Fealty

    I think these figures also present the SDLP with the opportunity to run an operation ‘Yes He Can’ in the last few weeks of the campaign, McS.

    Though how many ‘changers’ actually exist seems to me to the real question… That’s where I think differentials in turnout could be crucial… As ever with EP elections, there’s no discernable airwar going on, and groundwar is tough for all parties in the LE since no one even knows where most of the councils are going to be headquartered…

  • Jagdip

    When combined with last weekend’s MBL poll, the Shinners are expected to win four of the 14 seats in Ireland, with three for FG, two for FF, three to Independents and one each to the DUP and the SDLP. Whodhavtunk even a decade ago? Looks like their “la” has already “tiochaidhed”

    In NI, it looks as if this could be the turning point for the CNR vote with two out of the three winners from that grouping, and the remaining one from the PUL.Will PUL react by retreating into its “Happy Place”?

    The UUP may yet inch out the SDLP but it is the sign of things to come, if not now, then in 2019, regardless of any so-called unity pact.

    Paddy Power today has a different take on the outcome in NI with the third seat going to UUP (1/4), TUV (5/2) or SDLP (4/1) with Alliance down at 25/1.

  • Gopher

    The Belfast Telegraph has to sell newspapers the bookies have to keep the doors open, at 4/1 I know who is being robbed.

  • IJP


    This has all given us nerds some entertainment, but the truth is by Bill White’s own admission this isn’t even a poll!

    It is his projection (and frankly one man’s “projection” is another man’s “guess”) based on a survey of just 220.

    By his own admission at the events he runs, that is nothing like a reasonable sample size.

    It is ludicrous this is being covered at all really – but I salute Bill’s courage!!

  • HopefulPessimist

    The only current info is from 220 members of a panel used by the pollsters the rest is inferred from previous surveys in 2012 and 2013 and the trends they showed. As these surveys themselves where relatively small (just over a 1,000) with their own margins of error I would be very cautious of these figures. Could the Tele not afford a proper survey in the lead up to these double elections?

  • mjh

    We need to be very careful. This is NOT an opinion poll.

    The Telegraph website says that it is a PREDICTION which uses a mixture of:
    – two old Lucid Talk opinion polls conducted last year which asked about Assembly, not European, voting intentions;
    – feedback from a regular Lucid Talk panel of 200 people in the last two weeks;
    – and assumptions about such things as the campaigning strength of the various parties, and the application of patterns in previous elections to this one.

    I have three major concerns.

    There is no information about the panel, the questions that they were asked or the answers they gave. There is no indication that the panel is specifically weighted for the purposes of a political poll as opposed to for other types of polling. And the margin of error on a sample of 200 is actually bigger than the percentages the prediction makes for more than half of the candidates.

    Apart from them being so old as to be of historical interest only – using polls for the Assembly to predict the outcome of Euro election is simply bad practise. People vote differently in different types of election – even when they are held on the same day. And every opinion poll shows different levels of party support for Euro elections from the support it finds on the same day, from the same sample, for national or regional contests

    Although I have not had time to examine all of the assumptions, two have jumped out at me as being in need of serious explanation. Firstly the combined share of the vote for nationalist candidates. In recent European and Assembly elections this has fallen slightly. In the 2009 it was 42.2%, and in the last Assembly around 40.2%. The last two Lucid Talk Assembly polls had shown firstly at 41.1% and then at 39.9%. Yet this prediction shows the trend reversed – increasing for no obvious reason to 42.9%. Secondly the assumption that a quarter of NI21’s votes will go to the SDLP. Unless there is some evidence for this it is no more than a guess. A good guess or a bad guess? But still a guess.

    Without those two assumptions the story’s headline is nonsense.

  • mjh

    a quarter of NI21’s transfers – not votes

  • I agree with IJP. This is wishful thinking to get a story out of votes that have not even been cast yet.

    That 16.7% would be the SDLP’s best vote share since 2005.

    Paddy Power’s odds look about right to me.

  • 241934 john brennan

    And there is another reason why SDLP/Attwood will be an also ran. After yesterday’s ‘equal marriage’ vote many older Catholics will not bother voting at all – and this probably includes the half dozen bishops who collectively made their views known before yesterday’s vote – and were ignore by SDLP.

  • mjh

    Now that the long-awaited thread on Euro predictions is open. Here is mine.

    Actually it is very much a guess – not a prediction.

    First preference vote:
    SF 27.5%, DUP 26%, SDLP 14.5%, UUP 12.0%, Alliance 8%, TUV 5%, NI21 3%,
    Green 2%, UKIP 1.5%, Con 0.5%

    SF and DUP elected. Final count UUP 24%, SDLP 20%. UUP takes third seat without reaching quota.

  • RyanAdams


    First preference vote:
    SF 26%, DUP 22%, SDLP 15%, UUP 13%, Alliance 8%, TUV 8%, NI21 4%, Green 2%, UKIP 1.5%, Con 0.5%

    Only thing I’ve noticed this year is a lot of people overtly seem to want to give the DUP a boot up the backside.

  • Drumlins Rock

    will throw mine in too (pretending im not with a party! )

    SF 27, DUP 22, SDLP 15, UUP 15, Alliance 6, TUV 5, UKIP 4, NI21 3, Green 2, Con 1 !!

  • Charles_Gould

    My guess – rounded to nearest integer:

    SF 25 DUP 21 SDLP 16 UUP 15 TUV 9 Alliance 4 Green 3 NI21 3 UKIP 3 Con 1

  • Charles_Gould

    (I have given the “top two” a reduction relative to last time on the assumption that there is some “protest vote” against the two main parties of government, often seen in Euro votes across these islands).

  • Gopher

    I sort of agree with you, don’t see SF getting much past 24% but Dodds can’t do as poorly as last time and has been well schooled to obviate the Cecil Walker moments she was prone to, so I do see the DUP in and around the SF total, I see the more rational electorate kicking out at the UUP and SDLP for participating in the farce whether that is not voting or going somewhere else I don’t know but neither party has any love left with the wider electorate

  • Charles_Gould

    Gopher I am predicting that some people who switched on to DUP SF and to a lesser extent Alliance will be disillusioned and turn back to parties that they see as main alternatives ..

  • Charles_Gould

    Also I don’t see sf or dup candidates as strong.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I will be voting :

    1 Alliance
    2 Green
    3 NI21
    4 Conservative
    5 SDLP

    The chances are that the Greens, NI21 and Conservatives will be eliminated before Alliance, and Alliance will be eliminated before the SDLP. Attwood’s not the worst of them, and the prospect of two nationalist seats, while discouraging in terms of tribal politics, offers forth the tantalising prospect of explaining to unionism what happens when they spurn the centre and dive to the extremes.

  • weidm7

    About the analysis, the sample size wasn’t 220, neither was this a poll, it was an weighted aggregate of a number of different including LucidTalk’s panel of 220, which represents the Northern Irish population. While it remains to be seen how accurate this model is, other aggregates have been done with good success such as over at threehundredeight.com for Canada and electio2014.eu for europe.

    If anyone wants to see a piece I wrote analysing the aggregate results, here’s a link: http://waterfordinquirer.wordpress.com/2014/04/30/lucidtalk-european-election-analysis-status-qup-despite-unionist-vote-split/

  • 220 asked? Seriously? Absolutely valueless. Not untypical of BT to double page for impact. No wonder the paper is panning.

  • Charles_Gould

    CS do you really think there is any *point* in voting for those other parties – it seems a waste of time and effort on all parts. There is also the chance that your vote will not end up where you intend because of counting error. Better simply to vote for the SDLP. I agree on the quality of Alex Attwood’s candidature.

  • Crow

    Most likely outcome; SF home on the 1st, DUP and UUP limp in under quota on 6th, SDLP shy ~15K votes.

  • aquifer

    It is not a poll.

    I would not put it past the Telfast Bellylaugh to push Lo down the rankings to keep their Unionist nags in the running.

  • “Better simply to vote for the SDLP.”


    So is this the SDLP’s latest intellectual ploy with Alliance voters after failing to convince them that non-sectarian politics was a luxury that NI simply couldn’t afford as it would put off the dream of a united Ireland?

  • Gopher

    Charles I’m not sure the UUP can be seen as anything other than a failed entity. Anderson and Dodds are simply products of the party machine, basically Gerry and Peter in drag. The SDLP are seen as a home for conservative Catholics if you are one fine and dandy if your not you have choices. Lo has not endeared herself to potential voters and all five are part of the farce.

    So to paraphrase, there are enough morally challenged people to keep the DUP and SF around 24% each, there are not enough people who could be bothered to keep the SDLP and UUP in touch and Lo chased half her vote. Allister does not have the momentum and no DUP implosion this time round.

    The story of this election will be whether or not people will be bothered to vote for NI21

  • David Crookes

    OK, it’s not a poll. But it’s quare oul crack.

  • Larne man

    Tricky to call, so many imponderables, my feeling is:
    SF- 27%, DUP- 25, UUP- 15, SDLP- 15, TUV- 6, ALL- 6, Greens- 2, NI21- 2, UKIP/CON- 2.

  • Politico68

    I reckon after todays events – Sf 28, SDLP 14, DUP 24, UUP 12, TUV 3, AP 6, NI21 4, TUV 3.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Politico, strange how being arrested in connection with the brutal abduction, torture and murder of a innocent widowed mother causes you to increase the vote, quite sickening really.

  • Gingray

    Drumlins – surely it depends if you think he is innocent or guilty? If the former, then that might make you want to support him more. If the latter, then it might not?

    Of course some head the balls will ask why he is being arrested but leading unionists with dodgy pasts never have, and that also will drive up the SF vote.

    In the same way I suppose you could ask why Alliance votes will stay the same (or go down based on 2010/11) after the violence inflicted on them over the last few years, to the benefit of the UUP and DUP, who started it all with their leaflet campaign calling people onto the streets.

    Personally I think the net impact will be a decrease for SF but rather than the SDLP benefitting, nationalist turnout will be down. No idea how it will impact on unionist/other, perhaps as unionist voters are a little older it could increase their turnout?

    SF- 24%, DUP- 23%, UUP- 14%, SDLP- 16%, TUV- 7%, ALL- 6%, Greens- 4%, NI21- 4%, UKIP/CON- 2%.

  • Gopher

    I think Tina will hit double figures, a base of new and lapsed voters plus what she culls off the other parties.

  • Coll Ciotach

    I believe that Tina will do better than double figures, she will certainly get into the 100’s at least.

  • boondock

    In fairness to Bill white I don’t think his guesstimate will be far out. None of his figures are particularly outlandish despite what some have said here earlier. The only figure I would disagree with is the Alliance vote. I would have it around 8%. As for ni21 I wish them well, from 2 different sources they are getting around 3%, 5% maybe in a perfect storm but double figures is just crazy talk.

  • Newman

    Think you understate Boondock the impact of Anna Lo’s comments on colonialism etc…suggests that she does not really get the nuances of the problem which will be a concern in the soft unionist constituencies where Alliance will do well. Suspect she will get 5%

  • Charles_Gould

    I have put Alliance on 4 – assuming that in taking the move towards a more “nationalist” and/or pro-UI orientation that they lose more to NI21 etc than they gain from SDLP. But its hard to say – perhaps their research indicates they will pick up some more of the nationalist vote than I am giving them credit for.

  • boondock

    Not sure the colonialism comment will have that much of an effect. We were all told the flag debacle would result in a big hit for the Alliance but that has not been evident in any polls since. Any soft unionist votes lost will likely be offset by some soft nationalist gains. I guess we will all see soon enough.

  • The Belfast Telegraph poll is only Part 1 of the story and frankly I wouldnt waste much time on it.
    Iin fairness to Bill, I think they are an accurate reflection of what he found.
    The opinion polls only become problematic when they are handed over to a newspaper.
    Thus these figures will be treated by Belfast Telegraph as if handed down from Mount Sinai.
    I suspect we will see more headline grabbing statistics between now and Polling day.
    The typefaces (do they still do that???) are already set.
    “Alliance Surge” “Alliance Collapse”
    DUP Meltdown” “DUP Soar”

    And then the next week….”SF Surge as SDLP Collapse” or vice versa.
    And we will be giving these things credit.

  • FuturePhysicist

    I’m going to predict Diane Dodds left sweating as other unionists transfer to make Jim comes home safe.

  • IJP


    Your frankly bizarre obsession with the ludicrous notion Alliance “moved towards Nationalism” is actually a classic example of the sectarian political prism it exists to overcome.

    Alliance does not operate on “Nationalist-Unionist”, but on “Communal-Anticommunal”.

    Individual members have their constitutional aspirations, but they all agree that the constitutional position ain’t changing any time soon so is a redundant issue. Most ignore the question on that basis – Anna, speaking solely for herself, chose not to.

    Alliance does need to start picking up SDLP votes, but it won’t do that by “being more Nationalist”. Most SDLP voters share the aforementioned “Realist” constitutional position. The issue is persuading them to move away from the purely communal politics in which the SDLP engages.

  • Charles_Gould


    I refer to the main Alliance candidate who said that she wants a United Ireland that it makes more sense – that’s a move on to SDLP territory to me. You are making things too complicated.

  • mjh

    Those commentators who submitted a Euro prediction/guess may care to know the cumulative “Wisdom of Slugger”.

    Our poll consists of a sample of 7 totally atypical, self-selected persons; or as we prefer to term it – a carefully structured panel of political experts.

    5 of the contributions correctly added up to 100, a knowledge of advanced statistics which undoubtedly places our panel among the top 10% of international professional political punditry.

    And only one of our panel managed to vote twice for the same party – which demonstrates a degree of objectivity and impartiality rare in modern journalism.

    So here we go:
    SF 26.5%, DUP 23.3%, SDLP 15.1%, UUP 13.7%, Alliance 6.3%, TUV 6.1%, NI21 3.3%, Green 2.6%, UKIP 2.1%, Con 1.1%

    With such an authoritative result available it scarcely seems worth the bother of holding the actual election.

  • Charles_Gould

    I have a feeling that people are underestimating TUV’s share.

  • mjh


    TUV is certainly one of the hardest to guess.

    But look at this piece of evidence:

    In the 2009 Euro he took 13.7% of the vote, where the combined total for PUL parties was 49%.

    In 2011 in North Antrim, his home base, he took 11.7%, where the combined total for PUL parties was 71%. This would be equivalent to 8.1% if the PUL share had been the same 49% as in the Euros.

    So, if his popularity among unionist voters is above average in his home base (which it certainly should be) his support in 2011 was already below 8%. How much lower we have no way of knowing.

    Perhaps Jim is a little over-hyped in certain quarters?

  • Charles_Gould


    Very interesting calculations. Since then, keep in mind, he has had the profile of being in the Assembly, which has been high-profile and will have won admirers. In a Euro election — with its scope for the protest vote to come out — I have a hunch he will do better than the people here are predicting. That’s why I have him on 9%. But I might be wrong.