Portadown Times gets pinged for not disclosing provenance of DUP commissioned poll in Upper Bann

And as the week closes, here’s an interesting wee bit of business for the UUP leader Mike Nesbitt in Upper Bann…

The Portadown Times published results from what it said was an “independent” poll ahead of May’s general election.
But it failed to acknowledge that the survey had actually been commissioned by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

Mr Nesbitt said the article “appears to have skewed” the election result. The article suggested that the gap in support between the DUP and Sinn Féin had narrowed.

The results put the DUP candidate David Simpson in first place with 30.7% of the vote, with Sinn Féin in second place on 28.1%. The Ulster Unionist candidate, Jo-Anne Dobson, was third in the poll, with 25% of the vote.

In the end, Ms Dobson came in in a comfortable second place, and only just over two thousand votes behind Simpson:

The Independent Press Standards Office (IPSO) upheld Mr Nesbitt’s complaint that the newspaper’s description of the poll as “independent” had misled readers.

IPSO said the Portadown Times had also failed to inform readers that the poll had been conducted six weeks before it was published.

Mr Nesbitt said his party’s canvassing team felt the publication of the “out-of-date” survey had “provoked a dramatic mood-swing on the doorstep”.

He added, rather mischievously…

“I have no doubt David Simpson will do the decent thing and call a by-election, so the people of Upper Bann can vote without the artificial shadow of fear hanging over their ballot papers,”

Which roughly translates as “I have no doubt that he won’t do anything of the sort, but then we’ll have a great story on the doorsteps next time round…”

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  • Catcher in the Rye

    I wonder where Nesbitt gets off thinking the DUP are going to voluntarily gift him a seat.

  • mickfealty

    To be fair, I did try to translate that one… 🙂

  • chrisjones2

    It was far better when Newton Emerson ran it


  • Robin Keogh

    As if we needed any more proof but this is an example of the fear currently gripping the Unionist Political class and their media associates

  • Chingford Man

    Or not.

  • Sharpie

    Or maybe it is.

  • Zig70

    The only people who believe the independent polls in partisan newspaper are the ones who want the results to be true.

  • mickfealty

    Personally this was one of those stories I inwardly noted at the time but refused to give it any air since it came with little or no provenance (I’ve been burnt by that before). I do remember it getting some air on Twitter mostly from SF supporters desperate to get their candidate a boost.

    The PT is generally pro incumbent. They backed Trimble till he lost his seat, now it’s Simpson. The DUP have been using this trick ever since they had to swallow the St Andrews shift from largest party in the largest designation get FM.

    I don’t think it’s going to work again in Upper Bann where the UUP are very well organised.

  • Kevin Breslin

    As you said “Country before Party” Mike, happy to play the fear game against Justin McNulty, Naomi Long and Michelle Gildernew, so very little sympathy when your party is on the receiving end.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Gutter politics supported by gutter press. It’s Portadown and its environs for goodness sake. Hardly the most forward thinking part of NI.

  • Nevin

    Robin, it’s really more about desire; nationalists and unionists wish to have their aspirations given a higher profile in the constitutional tussle; they don’t want a prod/taig as top dog. Fear, on the other hand, is to be found in loyalist and republican paramilitary ‘civic justice and policing’.