Lucid Talk Poll

Press statement issued on behalf of the Labour Party in Northern Ireland (LPNI) giving the results of a Lucid Talk poll on the support for the Labour Party fighting elections here

We polled people on the Labour Party standing candidates in Northern Ireland.

32 per cent of people said that LPNI should contest elections in Northern Ireland.

This is a significant response – in a busy political field, a third of the NI electorate still demand something different: a party that puts people before outdated, tunnel-visioned communal sectarianism and will transform Northern Ireland into a place that works for all of us (See Figure 1).

Figure 1:  Do you think the Labour Party should contest elections in Northern Ireland?”

The poll also asked how they would vote if LPNI stood candidates. An incredible 38 per cent stated they would give us a preference, with around 6 per cent giving us a first preference. Just under two in every five people is a significant result in our PR system (see Figure 2).

Figure 2:  Would you give Labour Party candidates a first, second or lower, or no preference?

The UK Labour Party NEC is carrying out a Review into registering LPNI as a political party in Northern Ireland and standing Labour candidates here.

It’s clear from the data that we draw support across every region in Northern Ireland and from all communities. Nationalists are broadly more in favour than Unionists, busting the myth we would only appeal to Unionists. But our simultaneous ability to gain support from Unionists makes us uniquely placed to win votes in working class Unionist areas where parties like the SDLP just aren’t competitive. We are the party for everyone.

The evidence speaks for itself. It’s abundantly clear that there is huge potential for a non-sectarian, mainstream left-wing party to do well here in Northern Ireland. To break open the Nationalist-Unionist politics of the past and deliver real change for Northern Ireland.  It’s high time UK Labour stopped acting as a brake on political progress and allowed LPNI to stand in elections.

The recent Northern Ireland Assembly elections sent a clear message that people are tired of the stale, divisive politics of the past and are looking for something different.

The growth of Other parties is welcome but there is still a democratic deficit at the heart of NI politics – one that the Labour Party could, and should, fill.

  • Northern Ireland has the highest trade union density in the UK. Over 40,000 trade union members pay a political levy – largely to the UK Labour Party – and yet are denied political representation by the party.
  • Labour Party members in Northern Ireland pay the same fees yet are denied the same rights of membership.
  • Huge parts of the NI electorate who want cross-community, economically left, socially liberal politics are denied influence in either reserved or devolved areas. They’re tired of parties that pitch only to one community or the other, use fear and division as recruitment strategies, fixate on the constitutional question or designate as Other but do not have the interests of ordinary working class people at their heart.

Welcoming the above results, the following stated:

  • Henry Patterson, Emeritus Professor, Ulster University:

“The Lucid Talk poll gives a major boost to the radical and democratic case for the Labour Party standing candidates in Northern Ireland. Almost a quarter of a century on from the Good Friday Agreement we have ample and depressing evidence of the failure of communal politics. The increasing size of the section of the electorate that defines itself as ‘other’ is evidence of the desire for change. However, only Labour can go beyond a niche ‘progressivism’ with no serious economic content that has little appeal to working class communities. If Sir Keir Starmer is serious about Labour being a party for the whole of the UK, he needs to end the ban on Labour candidates in Northern Ireland.”

  • Prof. Graham Walker, QUB:

“These poll results indicate that a sizeable swathe of the NorthernIreland electorate would wish to have the opportunity to vote for a party that could realistically win power at Westminster, and a party pledged to redress the glaring inequalities in society. The findings also indicate that there is significant support across the traditional divide in Northern Ireland over the constitutional question for the principle of Labour standing candidates.

It also struck me that the relatively strong support given by ‘strongly Unionist’ respondents might suggest that a sizeable number of working-class Unionists feel let down and inadequately represented by traditional Unionist parties.”

  • Prof. Liam Kennedy, Emeritus Professor QUB:

“Faced with the most severe cost of living crisis in a generation, more and more people are turning or returning to the Labour Party. Astonishingly, this is not possible in Northern Ireland where the Labour Party does not allow candidates to stand under its banner. This is a denial of a fundamental principle of democracy, having the right to vote for one’s party of choice.”