Belfast Telegraph

Data our pollsters used to make their predictions

By Noel McAdam

Predicting elections is a risky business, and all this comes with the proverbial 'health warning' – we'll know of course how accurate it turns out to be after May 22.

In terms of our approach and methodology, the main input data to the projections are:

  • LucidTalk Northern Ireland-wide polls from May 2012, November 2012 and September 2013, which were related to political party preference at NI Assembly elections.

These individual poll results have been included in the modelling, along with the trends. The trends show how political party support has been growing, declining or remaining the same over the 2012 to 2013 period.

  • Interviews with the 220-member LucidTalk Opinion Panel (balanced to reflect NI society), carried out in April 2014.
  • Previous Belfast City Council election results including vote transfer patterns.

Various weighting factors have been applied to all the polling data and research to reflect the structure of the forthcoming Belfast City Council election, for example party machine strength, name-profile of candidates, specific area strengths – such as Alliance in East Belfast, Sinn Fein in West Belfast etc.

All of the above data, research and weighting factors were included within the LucidTalk computer models – which then forecast the possible results for each party at the Belfast City Council elections.

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