Belfast Telegraph

Revealed: Only one Northern Ireland constituency approves of election pacts

By Jonny Bell

Latest polling suggests that the electorate in only one of Northern Ireland's 18 constituencies approves of pacts in the forthcoming General Election.

Polling experts LucidTalk are running a series of tracker polls to gauge public opinion across a wide-range of issues in the run up to the June 8 poll.

Its panel of almost 8,000 people are asked a range of questions with the results boiled down to 2,080 responses to get a representative sample of Northern Ireland public opinion.

Read more: LucidTalk Westminster General Election seat predictor: The safe and the precarious

In its latest survey, which was conducted between April 29 and May 1, the panel was asked its opinion on pacts.

And - of the five key battlegrounds - only Fermanagh and South Tyrone voters supported the idea of an electoral pact. Tom Elliott re-took the seat for unionists following a pact with the DUP in 2015.

Among his constituents 60% approve of a pact.

In South, East and North Belfast more than 50% disagreed with pacts, while in Upper Bann it was marginally closer with 48% against the idea.

In the remaining 13 constituencies, 49% said they disagreed with pacts.

"The further west you go, the more in favour people are with pacts," said Bill White managing director of LucidTalk.

"It is a subtle decision for the parties. It may work for you, but it can also work against you.

"In East Belfast last time out, Naomi Long got 17,000 votes - probably because of the pact, people were annoyed and turned out to vote for her. She would probably have been closer to 14 or 15,000.

"Whereas Gavin Robinson, who did gain from the pact, might have won it anyway without. It's a big decision for those parties that do not run. Voting is a habit and if people stop voting for you it is much harder to get them to come back."

LucidTalk is a member of all recognised professional Polling and Market Research organisations, including the UK Market Research Society (UK-MRS), the British Polling Council (BPC), and ESOMAR (European Society of Market Research organisations).

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