I understand the political climate in Northern Ireland is very different, with there being no overlap in parties and frequently very different priorities in the public mind. It is not clear to me why this translates to such a different handing of Northern Ireland in data drive polling sites. Is there a particular reason for this?

I have been following the polling about this election, and up until today I have been referencing 3 MRP polling providers and one aggregator. Three of the 4, The Telegraph, More in Common and the polling aggregator New Statesman conspicuously leave Northern Ireland off their maps completely, and YouGov just displays it as grey. None discuss the polling there at all as far as I can see.

The first poll I have seen that actually includes a prediction of Northern Ireland came out today, but it leaves me with more questions than answers. Why include so little data for Northern Ireland? Surely the 2019 vote percentages can be found from Wikipedia? They must have a predicted vote to get a change of a seat, why do they not tell us? It kind of seems so specific and pointless that there must be a specific and good reason for it. Is there, and if so what is it?

Polling predictions for UK General election 2024

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    Neither the conservative party nor the labour party field candidates in the constituencies in NI, so those seats only influence the formation of the government when no party has an absolute majority
    – Caleth
    Commented Jun 27 at 12:39
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    @Caleth I think I address that point in the very first sentence? Is it not clear? Why would that mean they do not include the vote percentages for example?
    – User65535
    Commented Jun 27 at 13:04
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    The poll you link to does go into Northern Ireland in more detail on a separate page: electoralcalculus.co.uk/northernireland.html
    – CDJB
    Commented Jun 27 at 13:20
  • So they excluded the numbers even though they had them on the next page? That makes even less sense to me.
    – User65535
    Commented Jun 27 at 13:23
  • @User65535 if you look at the line below the numbers, the predictions are "based on opinion polls from 08 Jun 2024 to 10 Jun 2024, sampling 3,634 people", so seem to be made from separate polls.
    – ccprog
    Commented Jun 27 at 13:41

1 Answer 1


Northern Ireland politics is pretty much separate from the politics of Great Britain.

Opinion polls are not synchronised, because you can't use the same poll questions for NI and GB, and the two sets of voters respond to very different political events. It's just easier to handle them separately.

Unless there's a hung or nearly hung parliament, the NI results aren't relevant to the formation of a government in Westminster, so the media companies that pay for most polls have no motive to pay for polling there. The reasons for this include:

  • It's quite small - only 18 seats.
  • One of the larger parties there, Sinn Féin, refuses to attend the Westminster parliament, regarding it as illegitimate. Enough of the population agrees with them that they win several seats at each election.
  • The unionist parties there extract a high price for their support, as Theresa May discovered after the 2017 election, and are generally difficult to deal with. GB politicians are optimists, and prefer to hope they won't have to make deals with the unionist parties. That's much easier than courting them.

Getting involved with the politics of NI is challenging for anyone from GB, because it's extremely easy to give offence to one or more NI groups, and there's little to be gained. So it's left as a separate place.

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    Don't forget money! Excluding situations like 2015 the NI Westminster vote is meaningless to the result and thus "uninteresting" to the media companies who tend to pay for political polls. These things don't happen for free or the goodness of anyone's heart.
    – origimbo
    Commented Jun 27 at 20:55
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    @origimbo: Good point, added. Commented Jun 27 at 22:52
  • Re: "The NI results aren't relevant to the formation of a government in Westminster, unless there's a hung or nearly hung parliament": Is that just because it's so small -- only 18 constituencies?
    – ruakh
    Commented Jun 27 at 23:37
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    @ruakh: That and the fact that one of the major parties in NI (Sinn Féin) is abstentionist (i.e. they run on a platform of "if elected, I will not show up or otherwise participate in lawmaking" - and they win several constituencies on that platform every election cycle, which just goes to show how idiosyncratic the politics of this region are).
    – Kevin
    Commented Jun 28 at 3:36
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    @ruakh A hung parliament is exactly what happened in 2017, and the Tories 'bought' the support of the DUP with a 'confidence and supply' arrangement en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservative%E2%80%93DUP_agreement Commented Jun 28 at 19:50

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