I wrote a blog yesterday about David McWilliams’s take on the prospect of a united Ireland. I also comment on the poll which appeared mid-way through his piece in the Belfast Telegraph. Some people have assumed the poll was part of McWilliams’s article. I don’t.

And I don’t understand why the Belfast Telegraph hasn’t (i) made clear how the poll was conducted, by whom, etc; and (ii) made the poll its front-page story. Because it runs counter to all the accepted wisdom on the topic. The DUP are said to have persuaded Theresa May to allow a border poll only when “the people” here want one. If this poll is even near to accurate, the time is now.

What does the poll say? Well I’ll give you the link and you can see for yourself. Meanwhile here are a few figures.

The poll shows the percentage of people who think there should be a border poll, and how they would vote if there was one. It shows the numbers voting one way or another in different areas.

So how about this:


BELFAST: Should there be a border poll?

YES : 7190

NO: 5934


If there was a poll, what way would you vote?






And Portadown:

Should there be a border poll?

YES: 256

NO: 98

If there was a poll, what way would you vote?






Should there be a borer poll?

YES: 212

NO: 161


If there was a poll, what way would you vote?




Overall figures: NO CHANGE: 30%

                               UNITED IRELAND 70%


Pretty breath-taking, what? My own belief is that this is some sort of prank. But the Belfast Telegraph has never struck me as a pranky paper – more turgid, actually. But the fact is it has printed the results of this poll and hasn’t told us who did or much about it, except that 47,500 people took part.  Odd or what? Maybe somebody from the Bel Tel will come on here and explain it all to us. Because it’s a poll that’s in urgent need of explanation. As I say, I think it’s a prank. If it’s not, they should start dusting off the polling centres today.












  1. Dr Michael Hfuhruhurr June 27, 2017 at 8:33 am #

    I have seen this poll before, it was quite a few years ago. I think it was off the back of the ‘Fleg’ debacle at City Hall.

    The only polls that can be trusted are the ones on election day. Polls are only created to influence opinion, not gauge it.

    Is just a tool to generate debate and sell news papers, Its simply political peer pressure at its best!

  2. Scott Rutherford June 27, 2017 at 8:49 am #

    I might be wrong but I believe this is the poll that allows the same person to vote several times.

    Also without knowing who voted or weighting the poll proportionally to the demographics of the population then it’s far from reliable.

    If your needing expert opinion on the matter I suggest you contact Lucid Talk via their twitter feed Jude. They’ll point you on the right direction.

    • Ryan June 28, 2017 at 11:31 am #

      ” might be wrong but I believe this is the poll that allows the same person to vote several times.”

      Its not one of those polls Scott, I know because I voted in the same poll when it was active. I spoke to Unionist commentator Alex Kane about the poll at the time and he suggested the same what you have, so I tried voting again and again but could not.

  3. Michael June 27, 2017 at 8:50 am #

    The BT frequently runs polls and this one I’ve seen before with similar results.
    I’ve also noticed that if they run a poll and the outcome is favourable to their beliefs they’ll then run a story about that soon after. However if the outcome to a poll is less than favourable they’ll either ignore it or theyll dismiss it as a bit of fun.

  4. Mark Petticrew June 27, 2017 at 9:07 am #

    I would apply a major health warning to this poll’s findings Jude, as it appears to be another one of the Belfast Telegraph’s unscientific online polls, not done by a professional polling outfit such as Ipsos MORI and LucidTalk.

    For instance, a similar Bel Tel poll in January 2017 declared that PBP had 15% support across the north, and so enthused was Gerry Carroll by said poll that he publicised it on his Facebook page, saying “we shouldn’t underestimate the enormous disillusionment out there”.

    However, in that same month of January, LucidTalk carried out a poll which found PBP to be on a much lesser figure of 2.7%, and one needs only to look at the results of the following Assembly election in March to see who was the more accurate.

  5. michael c June 27, 2017 at 11:33 am #

    Lucid Talk is not accurate either.They question some sort of panel and factor in previous election results.For instance their polling figures prior to westminster were way off with regards to the DUP.

    • giordanobruno June 27, 2017 at 12:29 pm #

      I agree all polls need to be taken with a pinch of salt.
      But at least LucidTalk provide a methodology and how they obtained their data can be checked on their website.
      This poll does not give us any detail and it appears to be as rigorous as the
      ‘what is the best movie of all time?’ type polling that the media like to bore us with.
      But we tend to gratefully receive anything that confirms our worldview I suppose

    • Mark Petticrew June 27, 2017 at 1:26 pm #

      In their opinion polling of the parties on 27 February before the 2017 Assembly election, the LucidTalk findings were the following: DUP (26.3%); Sinn Féin (25.3%); SDLP (12.2%); UUP (13.9%); Alliance (9.4%); Green (3.4%); TUV (4.4%); PBP (2.4%). In the actual Assembly election on 2 March that followed, the share of the vote for each party was: DUP (28.1%); Sinn Féin (27.9%); SDLP (11.9%); UUP (12.9%); Alliance (9.1%); Green (2.3%); TUV (2.6%); PBP (1.8%). In this instance, the pre-poll findings from LucidTalk correlated with the results of the March election within the stated 3% margin of error, and so I think it is therefore unfair to describe LucidTalk as an inaccurate pollster.

      Regards the 2017 Westminster election, LucidTalk have stated that the polling for it was carried out as a “broad NI-wide party vote question”, resulting in respondents choosing their natural party as if it were an Assembly election, as they did in the aforementioned February poll. This, they said, “corrupted the data” – the DUP’s pre-poll figure on 6 June (28.9%) being in notable contrast to the party’s actual share of the vote on the 8 June election day (36%) – and they have now come to the conclusion that it is “impossible” to do a broad NI-wide poll as part of a Westminster election due to “(a) pacts in seats, (b) parties voluntarily withdrawing in particular seats, and (c) the dynamic of FPTP which drives many voters to go for one of the ‘big names’ who are perceived to have a realistic chance of winning the seat, rather than the party they naturally support at an Assembly election”.