Are you voting for the wrong political party?
Almost 14,000 people have taken the Belfast Telegraph’s online MyVote survey to discover which party is most closely aligned to their own views — with some surprising results.
Click here for the full results
Ahead of Thursday’s local government and European elections, we teamed up with Chambre Public Affairs and pollsters LucidTalk to question how voters pick parties — based on policies, not loyalties.
After almost six weeks, we can now reveal that Northern Ireland's fringe parties have come out in front. In first place was Traditional Unionist Voice — 14.6% of those who took our poll were most in tune with Jim Allister's party policies. This was followed by the Progressive Unionist Party, whose views were in line with 13.8%.
The Green Party’s policies were in line with almost 11% of those who took part, with the Ulster Unionists attracting 12%.
Stormont’s largest parties followed closely behind, with Sinn Fein and the DUP on 11.4% each.
The survey quizzed voters on local government reforms to determine which party they perhaps should be voting for, when not choosing parties based on orange and green arguments.
Almost two-thirds of nationalists found out that a unionist party was closest to their own views on bread and butter issues.
Will Chambre of Chambre Public Affairs said the survey had tried to highlight how voting behaviour could change if the electorate here made their choices based on social, environmental and economic policies.
Derek McCallan, chief executive of the NI Local Government Association, said he was “encouraged by the enthusiasm for effective local government as demonstrated in the survey”.
Bill White of pollsters LucidTalk said the survey produced some “interesting perceptions about local government”.
“However, one key point was re-confirmed — policies don’t always determine which party or candidate people end up voting for,” he said.
Click here for analysis from Bill White of LucidTalk
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Derek McCallan, chief executive of the Northern Ireland Local Government Association (NILGA)
"We are encouraged by the enthusiasm for effective local government as demonstrated in the survey. Councils are bedrocks in the community, and the poll shows that 78% of those who took part want to see even greater service provision by local councils to bring them in line with counterparts in neighbour jurisdictions.
"The electorate clearly believes that our councils should be allowed to deliver and co-ordinate more, sending a message that local people want more of a say, and want to be connected more, with the decisions taking place in all tiers of government. That’s an exciting culture change, one that inspires NILGA, in the run up to the biggest shake up in councils here in more than 40 years.
"It is positive to see that the great majority of people taking part in the survey are keen to see councils have a greater role in economic development, service delivery, planning and investment in infrastructure. On May 22 local people have a great opportunity to begin informing and defining a transformation in their communities.
"Every day, local councillors all over Northern Ireland work hard for the communities they represent. In turn, as the representative body for local councils, NILGA is looking to the future with the knowledge that people here want change not just in terms of councils, but wider reform of our various institutions. The new local councils is the first chapter of better decision taking for and with local people."
Will Chambré, managing director of Chambré Public Affairs
"As public affairs consultants we are aware of the significant changes taking place in local government. We believe the increased powers and re-organisation of our councils makes this the most important local government election in decades.
"We put together the MyVote survey because we simply wondered, if tribal politics were set to one side and the election decided on the social, environmental and economic policies that councils will now have control of, how many people are simply voting for the wrong party?
"Fascinatingly the results show that more than 38% selected a party they said they would never vote for, and if their choice based on policy decided the election, on May 22 we see a massive shift in the local government landscape. However something tells me that come election day we won’t see this shift, and most people’s first preference votes will still be decided along green and orange lines."