NATIONALIST VOTING: WE REVEAL OUR SURVEY RESULTS

Before we start, we should be clear, this is not any kind of scientific survey and thousands of people have not responded.  We wanted to get an insight from Nationalist voters as to why, so the figures tell us, they are not voting.

We asked five anonymous questions:

  1. Did you vote in the Northern Ireland Assembly elections in May?

  2. If yes, who did you give your number one preference to?

  3. If no, why not?

  4. What issues are Nationalist parties/National candidates not fulfilling, in your opinion?

  5. What could be done to persuade you to vote in the next Local Government/Assembly elections?

We got thirty responses – bearing in mind we shared this over our twitter and facebook profiles a few days after the election, this is not bad!  We advertised this specifically for Nationalists.

Here are our results

Did you vote in the Northern Ireland Assembly elections in May?

survey1

Oddly, the vast majority of our respondents did vote at the May 2016 Assembly elections.

If yes, who did you give your number one preference to?

survey2

Unsurprisingly, our respondents voted in the majority for Sinn Fein candidates, though then the results, from a small sample group as they are, are interesting.  Second to SF came the Green Party with 21.74%, followed in third by the SDLP on 17.39% and on exactly the same percentage, People Before Profit (why our graphic rounded this to 18% for SDLP we’ll never know).  Independent candidates were given first preference by 13.04% of our respondents, followed by Alliance on 4.35% – the Worker’s Party received no first preference votes from our respondents.

If no, why not?

The responses to question three were widely varying, with some food for thought for the future of Nationalist politics.

Some written answered referred to more than one issue, but it is clear that there is a range of issues on the Nationalist voters bases mind that are not being addressed satisfactorily.

Abortion, and the drive to make this more accessible by some quarters in the Nationalist political sphere was a major issue amongst our respondents.

The lack of progress with jobs or the economy also topped the list of reasons why some of our respondents wouldn’t vote.

Strangely, some other issues which might be embarrassing for some Nationalist political parties raised their head.  One respondent referred to the lack of ‘Unionist reciprocation’ when it came to initiatives in the peace process.  Another said they don’t ‘represent any of my interests’.

The pursual of integrated education was another issue why one of our respondents didn’t vote this May.  This was alongsided frustration with SF in particular in terms of addressing the problems in special education provision for young people.

The progression of a United Ireland came up once.

What issues are Nationalist parties/National candidates not fulfilling, in your opinion?

Question four is more generalised, and all but one of our respondents answered it, i.e those who did and did not vote.

survey3

Unsurprisingly, our respondents felt that the issue of the economy and jobs were not being addressed – 72.41% of them.

Infrastructure was next, with 58.62% of respondents indicating Nationalist politicians aren’t doing enough in terms of infrastructure.

The progression of a United Ireland came next, with 37.93% saying Nationalist politicians aren’t doing enough on this.

Oddly, in what is seen by many in the commentariat to be a largely Unionist issue, Nationalists feel their politicians aren’t addressing victims either – 20.69% of our respondents.  This may be some food for thought for some parties in particular if this was to be emulated in a larger survey.

We gave respondents the option to select one of those issues, and to input their own, and they sure did.

One respondent was very clear they felt that Nationalist politicians are addressing issues.

Two respondents felt abortion was not being addressed – one felt that the issue was being addressed too much, the other that it was not being addressed enough.

The other issues we expected to come up, did – Irish Language, Marching, Policing – but others did crop up.  Some respondents felt the disabled weren’t being adequately served, and another felt that politicians are ‘not speaking for the working person- more concerned about helping those on benefits.’

What could be done to persuade you to vote in the next Local Government/Assembly elections?

Of course this is the ‘big one’ that everyone wants to know.

The respondents are a progressive bunch, the majority of answers referred to ‘less tribalism’, ‘more policies, less personalities’, ‘end to the two-party system’.

One said if ‘Republican perfomance’ in councils, Leinster House and Stormont do not improve’, they will not vote at the next election.

The issue of the A5 came up a number of times, and Derry was specifically referred to in one response, in terms of delivery.

‘Stop obsessing about the border’ one respondent declared.

‘Reciprocation from Unionism’ was one which shocked us, but a fair point.

Two answers which we did not expect to see came up, and might give some in politics food for thought.

One respondent said that ‘More prominent Catholics in Unionism’ would make them, as a Nationalist, vote in the next election. Another referred to the need to ‘stop placating Unionism’.  Such is the broad nature of the opinions of some in the Nationalist community!

 

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