When the history of democracy is written, statisticians will play a starring role. The numbers experts figured out that if you want to know what an entire population is thinking about the important political issues of the day, all you have to do is ask approximately 1,000 of them.
If that sample is carefully chosen, as it was in the Telegraph/LucidTalk poll, the answers given to questions on topical issues provide a fascinating insight into how the country's political heart is beating.
Opinion polling is useful in places such as Northern Ireland that have such history of deep division. Polls allow a direct link to the views of ordinary people without having to rely on politicians or activists to tell us what 'the people' or 'their people' think.
Polls allow us to put on earmuffs to block the voices of those who shout loudest and calmly inspect what everybody is thinking.
Opinion polls are infrequent in Northern Ireland, mainly because they are so expensive to conduct.
When polls are conducted in Northern Ireland they provide a much more nuanced picture of a landscape that is so often characterised as pitching one religion, identity and ideology against the other.
The simple Catholic/Irish/ pro-united Irelander versus Protestant/British/ unionist distinction is faced with the fact that over a quarter of respondents in academic polls typically identify as 'Northern Irish' and, as demonstrated in the LucidTalk poll, only a minority of Catholics desire a united Ireland.
The results of each of the LucidTalk poll questions has been well analysed during this week. However, one way to add further value is to link the responses in the LucidTalk poll to responses to related questions in other surveys.
For example the LucidTalk poll asks whether people would welcome parties from the Republic and from Britain to compete in elections here.
Only 40% would like elections limited to Northern Ireland parties. Although the LucidTalk poll did not ask if respondents would vote for these Irish and British parties, the results from an academic survey I commissioned in mid-2009 can shed light on this.
Respondents were asked to indicate on a 10-point scale their likelihood of voting for each British and Irish party. Almost one fifth gave a positive score (between six and 10 on the scale) for the Conservatives, 12% did so for Labour and the Lib Dems and 6-7% for Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Irish Labour party.
Striking differences between religions emerged with almost one third of Protestants giving a positive score to the Conservatives as against 5% of Catholics.
Only 1-3% of Protestants gave a positive score to any Irish party. Some 16% of Catholics gave a positive score to Fianna Fail and interestingly Catholics were more likely to support the British Labour party (15%) than the Irish Labour party (13%).
The fact that so many Northern Ireland respondents in the LucidTalk poll were open to non-Northern Ireland parties isn't exactly a vote of confidence in their own leaders.
In terms of satisfaction levels with the government the LucidTalk poll figures do look awful. However, this should be balanced against the general acceptance that emerged from the survey regarding the structure of government and the relatively low proportion demanding an Opposition. Voters are saying that they regard the type of inclusive government we have as the most appropriate type for this period of Northern Ireland's history, but that doesn't mean they have to be happy with the government.
Being miffed with politicians is also seen in responses to the question regarding the desired number of elected representatives. Eighty-six per cent wanted a reduction, with only 14% indicating that they wished to keep the numbers the same. The fact that the option of increasing the number of politicians wasn't even on offer in the survey question tells its own tale.
However, there's a case to be made for more rather than less politicians as this increases the talent pool from which dynamic and creative ministers and junior ministers are drawn.
Significantly reducing the numbers of elected representatives is likely to reduce the number of able ministers - perhaps fuelling yet more discontent and demands for further reductions in the numbers.
Until we have none at all, which is exactly what the 18% who said 'abolish Stormont' seem to want.
The political parties are happily assuming they are not going to be abolished and have in recent times been making inviting noises to voters from 'across the divide'.
In theory one might imagine that the two parties historically seen as moderate - SDLP and UUP - would be best placed to attract some Protestant and Catholic support respectively.
This is true for the SDLP but in the LucidTalk poll the DUP does twice as well as the UUP in terms of attracting Catholic support (7% compared to 3%). This is in line with other data which suggests that the UUP is being 'inflanked' by the DUP which is increasingly seeking to positions itself as a moderate and inclusive party.