Belfast Telegraph

Online poll results: How vital to NI's future do you think the current political institutions are?

By Bill White

Hopefully you will have seen our earlier review on Tuesday regarding the recent 'Big90' online poll, which achieved a whopping 2,143 responses.

 After the poll closed, as part of our procedures, we carried out a thorough audit to detect possible 'double votes'.

This process resulted in 211 responses being rejected, leaving a total of 1,932 accepted responses. As we said in our first report, unfortunately there were undoubtedly genuine one-person responses within that 211 that got discarded, but we believe it's better to err on the side of rigour.

Just to say again that as a first level of security our systems were set-up as 'One Device - One Vote' i.e. One Vote/Survey per device (PC, laptop, tablet etc.) - if a second 'vote' was attempted from the same PC device it immediately displayed a message that it was blocked. However, our systems also tracked e.g. IP addresses, pseudo email addresses etc., and rejected any possible 'multiple votes'. 

All collated data was then weighted (by gender and community background) in order to produce a representative view of NI Opinion. As this was an 'open invitation' survey-poll there is/are higher error factors with these projects, in comparison with our official 'targeted sample' polling projects. However, we're sure the 'trend-results' are still informative, if taken as an approximate view of current public opinion in NI. 

In our first review we looked mostly at the Unionists and what they thought about the current political situation. Now we look at what Alliance, Nationalists/Republicans , and Others, think.

So what were the key trends for Non-Unionists? Here are the results from the first question: Broadly speaking - What do you think of the Ulster Unionist Party's (UUP) decision to leave the NI Executive? - we show here the results for this question from Non-Unionists i.e. those who said they voted Sinn Fein, SDLP, Alliance, Green, or Others, at this year's UK General Election in May : 

FusionCharts (28).jpg

So nearly 60% of this group thought the UUP's decision was a 'Broadly not good' or 'Bad' decision. 12% were neutral, with 29% thinking it an 'Excellent' or 'Broadly Good' decision.

However there were some NI Conservative, PUP,  and NI21 supporters within 'Others', who may have agreed with the UUP decision.  

In terms of the question: Broadly speaking - How valuable to NI, and how vital to NI's future, do you think the current NI Political Institutions are? Here are the results for Nationalists/Republicans, Alliance, Green, and Others answering this question:

FusionCharts (29).jpg

As can be seen nearly 70% of non-unionists think the institutions are 'Very Important' or 'Somewhat Important', compared to only 48% of Unionists who think this.

Just to finish off our Big90 online poll results coverage we thought it would be useful to look at the make-up of those who supported the UUP's decision to leave the NI Executive. So taking those who said the UUP's decision to leave the NI Executive was 'Excellent' or 'Broadly Good' here's how these same people voted at the UK General Election in May:

FusionCharts (31).jpg

Not surprisingly we find that 37% of those who think the UUP's decision to leave the NI Executive as 'Excellent' or 'Broadly Good' voted UUP in May - but 21% of this same group had voted DUP. I.e. Over 1 in 5 of those who think the UUP's decision to leave the NI Executive was 'Excellent' or 'Broadly Good' are DUP supporters (or were DUP voters at the general election in May). There is a technical point here in that the UUP and DUP had an elections pact in certain seats at the general election which may have skewed the above results to an extent - however it doesn't take away from the broad trend i.e. that a number of DUP supporters think that the UUP decision was the correct one.

Well that concludes our Big90 online poll review, and obviously the political situation has moved on a bit since our poll took place! As such, and to get the next updated view of NI Opinion, watch out for the first of what we hope will be regular quarterly NI-Wide online polls. Our first Quarterly Poll is scheduled for: 10am Monday 12th October - 12noon Wednesday 14th October i.e. 50 Hours - hence we're calling it the 'LTQuarterly50'! We will be asking about NI politics, health, lifestyle, economy, education, etc. So if you have any views about poll questions, then we'd like to hear from you - please send any ideas/suggestions to   

Bill White is Managing Director of Belfast polling and market research company LucidTalk, polling partners to the Belfast Telegraph. You can follow LucidTalk on Twitter: @LucidTalk. 

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