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Mr Nesbitt said his party’s canvassing team felt the publication of the “out-of-date” survey had “provoked a dramatic mood-swing on the doorstep”.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

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty