By-elections, by their very nature and scarcity, are meant to be interesting. Indeed, for those of us who are political anoraks they are also meant to be fun! And for the electorate it’s meant to be an opportunity when they can pass an earlier-than-expected judgment on how the political parties have been performing.
Now that the dust has settled on the Mid-Ulster by-election (7th March 2013) it’s time for a closer look at the facts and figures.
Hopefully you will have seen our East Belfast constituency poll last week, and as with all polls this has generated its fair share of comments and opinions. On practical point we've been asked about is how we decide what political parties to include, or not include, in the poll. With political polling there's always the argument as to where to draw the line in terms of how many political parties should be included in any poll. Already I've had questions as to why certain political parties weren't included in our East Belfast poll. Let's clear this point up - The accepted standard as advised by the professional polling organisations is to include all the parties that are currently represented in main local legislature, in this case the NI Assembly, and we did this.
UPPER BANN AND SOUTH BELFAST ARE THE BIG CHANGES
So we've now got the final results from our April Opinion Panel Poll, and the last before the general election on 7th May. If you've been following our monthly polls since January you will know that our Northern Ireland (NI) Opinion Panel has 440 participants and is carefully constructed to provide an accurate representation of Northern Ireland opinion - via gender, area of residence, age-group, community background, socio-economic group, and employment group. The opinion panel has a pool of approximately 1,200 members who regularly take part in LucidTalk poll projects, and for this project a representative sample of 440 opinions has been collated.