Latest LucidTalk poll suggests FST is the only NI seat in serious contention…

Many of us did not expect the seismic change which occurred in March via a groundswell of anger with Arlene over RHI, but if the latest LucidTalk Poll is anything to go by then most of the talk of an imminent united Ireland should be taken with a large dose of salt.

It looks like there are some dynamic shifts in voter sentiment in places like Foyle and South Down, which Sinn Fein have been talking up but the percentages in both places still look like the SDLP is safe.

The UUP are losing some ground to the DUP in South Antrim with a drop to a 60% chance of keeping Danny Kinahan at Westminster (for the record, the same percentage as Gavin Robinson in East Belfast and Alasdair McDonnell in South).

LucidTalk suggests that only eight of the 18 seats are actually in play, and one of those is the much talked-about North Belfast were Nigel Dodds is given a 90% of winning the seat. T

The only seat where they think there’s a likely change is FST, which is SF moving up to 55% chance of taking the seat off the UUP. Of course, like all pollster’s LucidTalk can only model predictions based on past behaviours.

So it will only work until it doesn’t. In the meantime, beware of pundit selling dow

  • Deeman

    Amazing. In SD we do look upon you Antrim folk as a different species!

  • Croiteir

    that’s fine – so do we

  • Vince

    Thanks mjh that would be interesting. My own unscientific view is that there may be substantial tactical voting by SDLP voters for Kinahan (Roisin Lynch is a really good candidate, public spirited and cross-community but cannot win). Similarly will benefit from AP voters and David Ford not being on the ballot paper.

  • Reader

    mickfealty: I personally think it is anti democratic to have less seats even as the population gets larger. Reducing the number was a transparent matter of self interest.
    I’ve seen the argument in the first sentence before – always a bit hand-wavey. Surely, a referendum-on-everything or direct democracy is the end result of such thinking, being one representative per voter. Would that actually be better? Would a 108 member assembly actually be better than the 90 member Assembly we have now? (more expensive, certainly)

  • mickfealty

    Nooooooooo!!!! 🙂 Paul Evans piece on referendums makes a clear distinction between direct democracy and representative democracy (https://sluggerotoole.com/2010/12/13/why-referendums-should-be-banned/).

    It’s a matter of proportion. Bigger pop have less reps. I just fail the logic other than it comes out of an attitude that austerity in every is a moral good.

  • Jag

    Here’s a selection of constituencies from Paddy Power this morning with odds for the significant parties

    Belfast North DUP 1/3 SF 13/8
    Belfast East Alliance 4/6 DUP 1/1
    Belfast South SDLP 8/11 DUP 7/4
    FST SF 3/10 UUP 21/10
    South Down SF 4/6 SDLP 1/1

    Must say these odds are remarkably close, and wouldn’t be surprised if the second favorite actually took the seat in each of these five cases.

  • Vince

    Can see that. I am not a SF supporter but not being mischievous when I say that they may be running the wrong candidate.

  • Jag

    Just for the non-betting, joyless puritans, the above suggests

    Belfast North Nigel Dodds will comfortably beat John Finucane
    Belfast East Naomi Long will edge past Gavin Robinson
    Belfast South Alasdair McDonnell should be ahead of Emma Atomsized Pengelly
    FST Michelle Gildernew should romp home ahead of Tom Elliott
    South Down Chris “air corridors for economic policy flying pigs!” Hazzard should edge out Margaret Ritchie

  • The worm!

    Since when??????

    “The economy” ceased to be a valid “remain” argument quite a while ago.

    You really should catch up!

  • Zorin001

    Belfast East is razor thin on those odds as is South Down.

    I will get the acca calculator out to see what backing all 2nd favs will get me back on a fiver.

  • Deeman

    Possibly. Maybe they see Ennis has a lot of potential and much to offer at Stormont. I see she was in the negotiations with Brokenshire and DUP.

  • Deeman

    In terms of SD, I called it after the Assembly election, a SF win. Unionists will not vote Ritchie this time for fear of logging votes for a United Ireland. If the SF vote turnout, SF will take it from SDLP.

  • nilehenri

    curtains for dodds and robinson. fst back to nationalist and sb staying so. it won’t go unionist because the thought of having little pengelly’s husband anywhere near the controls makes the mind shudder and the electorate there are canny enough to see that.
    another surge in voting from the centre/those who previously did not vote will lead to a lot of surprises come june.

  • Jag

    Back of an envelope, if you had a £5 accumulator bet on the second favorites and each of the five came in, you would get only get around £30 in winnings plus your £5 stake. That tells you how relatively close these races are (surprised that FST is so wide really).

  • WindowLean

    Pinch of salt time. It’s important to remember that the odds a bookie offers do not reflect the likelihood of something happening, they reflect where the money is going.

  • WindowLean

    I just cannot see Finucane winning in N Belfast. Gildernew has a more than sporting chance of ousting DUP-lite Elliott, but it’s going to be close, as Mick F says…it always is in FST.

  • Jag

    “Bookie” is short for “book maker” WL, and where do you think that term came from?

    Bets do indeed affect odds, but no matter how much you bet that the sun won’t come up tomorrow, sun-coming-up will still be odds-on favorite.

    Bookies do frequently get it wrong though, so of course, take it with a pinch of salt, but unlike many other sources (which have inherent errors), bookies want to make a profit and there’s honesty in that.

  • WindowLean

    “Bets do indeed affect odds, but no matter how much you bet that the sun won’t come up tomorrow, sun-coming-up will still be odds-on favorite”

    Sorry Mick, going a bit off topic here! For a bet to be legal it must offer a possible outcome so a bet on the sun not rising tomorrow wouldn’t be accepted as that outcome is not possible. A bit like placing a bet on a race to have 10 finishers when there are only 9 runners. If a bookie opens a book on the flip of a coin, the “real” odds are even money. However if someone puts £100k on a head the bookie may lengthen the odds on a tail to try to attract money to cover his potential liability if it’s a head. So he may offer 2/1 on tail when the “real” likelihood of that happening is still 1/1…I think!

  • Kevin Breslin

    I wonder if Bradshaw may take second place from Little-Pengelly

  • Jag

    On the accuracy of opinion polls, the latest opinion poll today puts the Tories on 43% and Labour on 38%, a gap of 5%.This despite the killings in Manchester which typically provoke a surge in support for the securicrat Tories rather than liberal Labour.

    At the 2015 election, Tories had 36.9% and Labour 30.4%, a gap of 6.5%.

    With the momentum behind Labour, could Theresa May be about to fall flat on her powdery backside?

    Or, are opinion polls like those psychic ads in the back of Cosmopolitan and “just for entertainment purposes only”.

  • Obelisk

    I’d love to see both MPs lose but I see no evidence from the polling (and yes I know the polling can be untrustworthy these days but it is all we have to go on) that this is likely.

    So I would hope for the best in both constituencies, but I believe Dodds and Robinson will surely be back at Westminster in a month.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    She is not quite home on a boat yet ! I can see Unionism rallying into one united front to ensure at least 1 unionist MP returned from such a Belfast 3 constituency return !

  • T.E.Lawrence

    To be quite honest Vince it may not be a bad idea ! I for one do not want to see Belfast going down to 3 constituencies it is best at 4 as it currently stands which allows diversity !

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Come on Grannie – Get Over It ! or he might prepare a more hard hitting victory speech against Alliance this time round !

  • T.E.Lawrence

    No Chance ! Big Al still in trouble Kev ! Pengelly has a lot of momentum going into this ! Biggest campaign I have seen yet by the DUPers across SB ! They are also getting full throttle support from all shades of Loyalism in the constituency !

  • mjh

    I agree it will probably come down to whether Kinahan gets enough tactical votes. Last time Alliance dropped nearly 1,000 votes on their 2011 Assembly election total, and SDLP just over 400. Set that against Kinahan’s majority over the DUP of 949.

    The first problem for the UUP is that the DUP vote is almost certain to be higher this time. Then they only got 30.1% – their worst performance at any type of election in the constituency under the boundaries in place since 2010. Even this March they still managed to get 33.7%. That would have been enough to give them a 450 majority in 2015.

    Secondly, unlike 2015, the TUV and Conservatives are not standing. That should be a small net advantage to the DUP, who on previous form would expect to pick up about 150 to 200 more than the UUP.

    Thirdly, Kinahan will be facing the same SDLP and Alliance candidates as last time. Both were new to a constituency wide election, meaning that their parties were more vulnerable to losses from tactical voting. Since then the SDLP’s Roisin Lynch has had two more outings in Assembly elections in which she has held her share and increased her party’s vote. While Neil Kelly’s second Westminster run comes against a background of a substantial increase in the Alliance vote two months ago. So the tactical votes from SDLP and Alliance might be less plentiful this time.

    The UUP hopes must rest on a swing to them from the DUP, of which there is currently no evidence (in fact the Lucid Talk polls suggest the reverse); or a significant increase in tactical voting.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    So you don’t like Emma or Chris ?

  • For those interested, the indefatigable Faha, has his predictions and analysis now up over at Bangordup Central: https://bangordub.wordpress.com/2017/05/26/westminster-2017-faha-predicts/

  • Sean79

    Robinson will win East Belfast with something to spare, when Naomi Long won there in 2010 the uvf vote got her over the line, not only will she not get that vote but it’ll go to Robinson. He was great value a few weeks ago at 6/5. SF will win FST and could win S.Down.

  • Zorin001

    “Sorry Mick, going a bit off topic here! For a bet to be legal it must offer a possible outcome so a bet on the sun not rising tomorrow wouldn’t be accepted as that outcome is not possible.”

    Tell that to almighty Ra! (not the Gerry affiliated one)

  • Vince

    Thanks mjh. I might be wrong but I get a sense that there will be a growth in tactical voting here – perhaps a combination of factors, Brexit, collapsed Assembly, desire from some not to reward DUP/SF with further endorsement. I am not a UUP voter but if I lived in S Antrim, in the secrecy of the polling booth, I would vote for Kinahan. Suspect that a lot of others will do the same. DUP may however benefit from not having W McCrea on ballot paper.

  • Jag

    Just having some fun TE! At the brouhaha when it was suggested (without proof) that Emma only became double-barrelled to put alphabetical distance between herself and Ruth Patterson.

    And who will ever forget Chris Hazzard’s interview with Nolan a couple of years ago. I have the podcast which still makes me piddle a bit. Here’s part of it. Haven’t heard a dicky about “air corridors” since!

    https://audioboom.com/posts/3131588-part-two-bbcnolan-general-election-interviews-sinn-fein-s-chris-hazzard-ge2015

  • T.E.Lawrence

    I liked it Jag ! It brought a smile to my face on both the names !

  • Granni Trixie

    I feel confident that if he does win this time if he has Learnt by his mistake he will be going out of his way to be like a wee pussy cat (in a hide behind the sofa moment)..

  • T.E.Lawrence

    If he wants I will write his victory speech just to wind up the ginge further !

  • mjh

    Well, at least we’ll know soon enough Vince.

  • Kevin Breslin

    They have had support from all shades of loyalism since the PUP pulled out of the area.

    I’m not going to lose the head if Pengelley gets in, her Brexophila risks her being the South Belfast MP that costs Queen’s University Belfast and the Ulster University major access to a pool of talent. She will not last long, just like in the Assembly.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/brexit-latest-news-brain-drain-theresa-may-highly-skilled-eu-workers-engineers-scientists-technology-a7753736.html

  • Kevin Breslin

    I actually have an Emma Little-Pengelly leaflet … There are far more mentions about Unionism than about what she will actually do for South Belfast or Northern Ireland.

    Some of her claims when it comes to her experience are also dubious. Yes she is a qualified barrister an ex-SPAD and Junior Minister, but there are other things that I’m going to have to fact check.

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/emmalittleni/?ppe=1

  • Kevin Breslin

    Labour can be quite authoritarian when they want to be. Maybe it’s not really ideological but rallying against the incumbent.

    UK Polling Report says that current polling puts the Tories short of a majority by 5 seats.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Come on Kev ! She has you guys and gals in the SDLP in SB worried which is understandable ! I would also be worried too ?

  • Jimmy

    South Belfast will come down to the last few days. It depends whether Alliance, Grenn and SF decide to vote tactical or not. There are a lot of people who are in that band in South Belfast. I just have a feeling that it is not going to happen and Emma Little Pengelly will scape in.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    The PUP in SB for the last 2 months have went on a major electoral registration campaign in the Loyalist Districts of the constituency ! Why would they do that for ????

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Don’t be cheering up the DUP any further on that result ? Paisley Junior will think Xmas has come early !

  • Kevin Breslin
  • Kevin Breslin

    And who was the last PUP South Belfast Assembly and Westminster candidates?

  • Kevin Breslin
  • Granni Trixie

    Good man/woman.

  • Vince

    Thanks again mjh. Your considered analysis and number crunching here is greatly appreciated – far more useful than the gut instincts, bias and party politicking that is far too prevalent on this site and elsewhere. Please keep it up for the other contests.

  • Vince

    It is – but a reduction in number of seats is NOT required. I feel that equalizing the number of ELECTORS also misses the point. It should equalize for the population in the constituency (those too young to vote should be and will be an important part of an MPs workload). Mick’s point is also correct – reducing reps in an era of ongoing population growth makes no sense, particularly when we are losing a layer of democracy re: Europe.

  • mjh

    Yes, Brendan. The pattern is truly astonishing. Since the boundaries were last revised shortly before the 2010 Westminster election the numbers of people voting in the constituency has been remarkably consistent. Rounded to the nearest hundred they were:
    2010: 42,800
    2011: 42,600
    2015: 43,000
    2016: 41,600

    Then, suddenly,
    2017: 49,900

    Then look at the SF vote – equally remarkably consistent.
    2010: 12,200
    2011: 12,900
    2105: 12,200
    2016: 12,800
    A consistent 12,200 for SF in Assembly elections – with an apparent defection of around 700 to Margaret Ritchie at Westminster elections.

    Then, suddenly
    2017: 19,100

    Around 7,400 extra voters – of whom about 6,900 were SF.

    But, of course, such astonishing changes don’t just happen. They are evidence of an incredible level of planning, organisation and prioritisation of resources by SF.

    Now here’s the thing. SF only ran two candidates. The election of both of them was never in the slightest doubt. So why not put much of that effort and manpower into another constituency, for example North Belfast, where it might just have had some chance of producing an extra MLA?

    Evidence of SF longer-term thinking. They had no reason to expect a Westminster election until 2020, but they put the work in well ahead. So you can bet that South Down is at the top of their priority list right now. They are happy to talk up their chances of taking North or South Belfast, where their actual chances are little and slim respectively. In comparison they are displaying a disarming modesty about their very real chances in South Down.

    There is no reason to believe that the organisation which delivered all those extra votes two months ago won’t do so again in two weeks’ time. They will probably drop the 700 personal votes to Margaret Ritchie that they normally do. They may lose a few of their extra 6,900 on the same basis. That could take them down to 18,400 or two or three hundred fewer.

    So 18,000 or a little above would seem to be the likely low point for SF. While the SDLP managed 18,100 in 2015.

    If FST is “on a knife’s edge”, the blade South Down is sitting on may be even sharper.

  • Vince

    Think they need Eastwood, Mallon, Hanna and Durkan on the media over the last 10 days of the campaign. There are very narrow margins between success & failure for them, as there was in March.

  • Vince

    Mick, given the various fires burning in our Health Service, the eye-wateringly awful waiting list figures and that it is only eclipsed by Brexit (apparently) in the minds of the electorate, is there any chance of you stimulating discussion by getting someone to do a post on it (at least one!). Thanks for considering.

  • grumpy oul man

    Funny how they go ballistic about corbyn meeting McGuinness a terrorist but quite happily take support from the loyalists.

  • Brendan Heading

    I’d agree that Unionists may not feel motivated to tactically vote for the SDLP as they might otherwise be.

  • Brendan Heading

    Hazzard certainly seems confident and I can’t think of a criticism, outwith some of the decisions on taxis and bus lanes lately.

    The issue is not Hazzard’s personal appeal or lack thereof. I think all those SF voters last March cast their vote as a kind of protest irrespective of whom is on the ticket. The only question is whether or not that protest vote will come out again. If it does, Ritchie is gone.

  • Brendan Heading

    that’s all fair and very informed commentary.

    I am not entirely sure about the planning. SF made a gamble when they pulled out of the executive. A lot of commentators suggested they’d lose seats, especially in North Belfast as you mentioned.

    The strategy in South Down probably reflects a desire to try to avoid provoking Unionist tactical votes. This appears to be something similar to the DUP strategy in South Belfast, keeping the profile low so that tactical voting is minimized which should allow them to win.

  • Brendan Heading

    I don’t doubt that this is true. But there is no evidence in the electoral results that Catholic DUP voters are statistically significant in any way. The trend across Ireland is running in the opposite direction.

  • How many interviewed in a) total poll b) individual constituencies. Or are these punts.

  • Tochais Siorai

    You’re accas won’t be accepted, Zorin. Singles. Related Contingency rule.

  • Tochais Siorai

    Spot on – but 11/10 would probably be enough to attract punters to balance the book. 2/1 would have them breaking the doors down!

  • Tochais Siorai

    There’s another aspect to political betting in that a contestant may bet on themselves to shorten the odds and make it seem that their chances are better that they are, thus creating momentum for their campaign.

  • nilehenri

    the unionist pool gets smaller while all other parties can only grow.
    those who previously might not have aligned themselves with sf’s point of view are taking a different, more mature view of the party since the passing of marty.
    the choice of candidate is excellent.
    no-one wants dodds, the objective of this election is getting him out. we got mccausland last year, we’ll get dodds this year, and with a bit of luck poots or wells will be in the next round of cuts.
    the centre has been extremely activated by recent events, and the tide is strongly leftward leaning.

  • nilehenri

    the only thing going for her is that she is dup. absolutely nothing more. i cannot see the smart electorate of sb allowing that one to sneak by them. they’ll stay with sdlp or change, but not for her. she had her chance and she blew it.

  • nilehenri

    they have no message other than bleating in unison with the ukip and the loony fringe of the tories. they may apeal to the more base among us but recent voter patterns showed us the rough lie of the land. those who came out a few months ago will come out again and the unionist parties are going to take a hammering for the simple reason that their message is totally off-key.
    the sense of being patronised is infuriating, while many people have moved on from the brexit thing, assuming that it is a won thing and being foolish enough to entrust their future to theresa may. all this goes in favour of all other parties, but against the dup. i believe we’re about to witness another election earthquake.

  • Just goes to show what a boundary change can do. DUP can take 3 of 4 belfast seats in theory in 2017. Would be a battle to get 1 of the 3 new seats.

  • mickfealty

    There’s very big numbers needed for that though Brendan.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Do you see her losing votes from Jonathan Bell’s total. (Would’ve been interesting if he became MP in hindsight).

  • nilehenri

    i think that province-wide there will be a lot of shocks, and it won’t be so much a case of voting to get our man in, rather voting to get their man out. dodds and robinson are goners.

  • nilehenri

    i think a huge section of the population have woken up to the dup and finally realise that unionist norn irn is little more than a junket that has finally run its course.
    i think as the overall pool decreases their voters will move out to either extreme of the unionist rainbow, i can see the ukip brigade going to tuv for example, with the more affluent and morally outraged moving to the uup.
    the last few years haven’t been kind to unionism, and unless they seriously up their game i can’t see that trend reversing. the problem is that they have absolutely nothing left to offer save their chants.