Welcome to LucidTalk

LucidTalk is a new dynamic innovative company based in Northern Ireland that specialises in conducting and supplying high quality Opinion Polling, Market Research, and Marketing/Sales services, for both the public and private sectors, throughout Northern Ireland, Ireland, and the UK.

LucidTalk uses the latest polling & research technologies with predictive methodologies, to ensure the highest accuracy in every polling & research project we take on.

  • Recent News

      You may have noted Alex Kane’s column stating he would not be voting at the forthcoming European and Council elections. He also said that if turnout was lower than 50% it would be ‘a good thing’, as it may have an impact on local politics. Alex is a shrewd operator, but he could also make a good pollster as he’s following the key rule – don’t stick your neck out too far with predictions. He’s certainly not taking any risks with this assertion, as if the Euro/Council poll turnout gets anyway near 50% it will be an achievement, taking into account the Euro 2009 election had only a 43% turnout.  

      I also noted Sam McBride’s commentary in the Newsletter about election turnouts. He mentioned that in the US they are often below 40%, and this doesn’t impact US politics that much. He’s correct, in that the Americans vote for everything including Sheriffs, and Court judges etc., and that’s where the low turnouts come in. The UK also has only 30-40% turnouts in local elections. As such, you can’t really say that if the forthcoming poll on May 22nd is below 50% then it will affect the flow of politics in Northern Ireland. Why? – Because the May 22nd elections are Euro and Council elections and are not flagship elections.  

      All modern countries and western democracies have a flagship election i.e. a main election – The election when they show to the world that they’re a modern thriving democracy. It’s the turnout in a countries flagship or main election that counts, and gives that country (or region) democratic legitimacy. In the US it’s the election of their president, in the UK it’s the Westminster election, and in Northern Ireland it’s our Assembly election. In the US presidential and UK Westminster elections the turnout has always been 60% to over 70 %. At the last US presidential election the turnout was estimated at around 65% of the ‘voter electorate population’, which was a remarkable achievement taking into account many people had to queue at polling stations! Admittedly it’s hard to get an accurate turnout figure in US elections because of their complicated registration procedures, which vary from state to state – but it’s always been well over 50% in their presidential elections. These flagship elections are where Alex Kane’s point comes true – If the US Presidential election, or Westminster election turnout, fell below 50%, then it would be a very serious situation for both those countries, and would almost certainly lead to large changes in their democratic structures. 

      In Northern Ireland our flagship election is the NI Assembly election, with the last election in 2011 having a dangerously low turnout of 54.7%. It’s significant to note that this was a drop from the 62.3% turnout in 2007, which was a drop from 63.1% in 2003, and 69.9% in 1998. The next Assembly election will take place in 2016, and a similar drop again would mean a turnout below that magical 50%. This could destabilise the whole assembly and wider peace-process structures. This wouldn’t happen immediately, but the democratic legitimacy of the assembly would be gone, and I would predict that within 2-3 years of the 2016 election the Assembly would collapse, or else would have to be completely reformed.   

      So why are less and less people voting? There are various reasons for this – Indeed Sam McBride made another comment, that he recently heard a Stormont Minister (and I’ve a good idea who this is) saying that non-voting ‘could be interpreted as apathy arising from contentment’. That Minister is wrong – The polling research shows that a key reason people are not voting, is not because they’re particularly content, it’s because they believe that whoever they vote for, or whatever party get’s elected, it won’t make any difference to their own (often not contented) lives. How someone can say that non-voting people are mostly content, in a region where we’ve had a huge economic recession, NI youth employment is 1 in 4, large No’s of people are on the minimum wage, and a region that’s had the largest housing slump in the UK and significant No’s of people are in negative equity, is beyond me. This comment perhaps shows how out-of-touch the folks on the hill really are. 

      One thing is clear though – The trend in Northern Ireland elections, and in all western democracies, is towards lower turnouts. For most elections, including this year on May 22nd, this won’t really matter. However the trick is to keep your flagship election turnout (in our case the NI Assembly election) well above 50%, which will then give the whole NI government structures legitimacy. However, our politicians should note that the signs aren’t good, and the trends aren’t hopeful, for the next Assembly election in 2016.

      There was extensive coverage all last week in the Belfast Telegraph of the exclusive Belfast Telegraph – LucidTalk NI-Wide Young People’s poll.

      As with all poll projects, the objective with the Belfast Telegraph ‘youth poll’ was to obtain a balanced view of Northern Ireland opinion, on this occasion within the 16-24 year-old age-group. To do this we endeavoured to ensure our opinion sample was balance across community (i.e. religious), social background, location, and gender. This approach allowed us to obtain an accurate and representative view of what the young people of Northern Ireland are really thinking about a range of current issues including politics, jobs, and their vision of the future.

      Results, analysis, and commentary, of some of the key poll questions and issues can be found here:

      Are Community Barriers coming down?
      What young people think of our politicians
      Different Protestant and Catholic views
      Young Protestants are disillusioned

      Next Week – beginning on Monday 7th April, the Belfast Telegraph will be publishing the results of their LucidTalk Northern Ireland – Wide Youth poll, along with full comment and analysis. The objective of the LucidTalk - Belfast Telegraph ‘youth poll’ was to obtain a balanced view of Northern Ireland opinion, on this occasion within the 16-24 year-old age-group. To achieve this, the LucidTalk opinion sample was balanced across community (i.e. religious), social background, location, and gender. This approach allowed the collation of a representative view of what the young people of Northern Ireland are really thinking about a range of current issues including politics, jobs, and their vision of the future.

      In particular, the poll-project involved the direct ‘live’ participation of several youth groups, clubs, and associations across Northern Ireland, which allowed the members of these clubs and associations to ‘vote’ directly in the poll-project, via the LucidTalk ‘on-the-road’ polling station. This direct participation by the Youth organisations is great fun for the young people, as they complete the survey confidentially, seal it, and then place it in the LucidTalk Ballot Boxes, giving the feeling to the young people that they are taking part in a genuine democratic process, and that their views will really count.     

      As well as the ‘direct contact’ youth association program, the LucidTalk poll-project included telephone and direct individual interviews. This combination of contact channels ensured that the widest possible range of views and opinions were collated, resulting in the most accurate possible data sample to be obtained, and the most accurate possible reflection of the current views of the young people of Northern Ireland. 

      Some interesting trends have emerged, with many questions when analysed by religious background, showing key differences in attitudes between Protestants and Catholics. With poll results, one key way the pollsters work out trends and compare results between polls, is to work out + or – ‘ratings’ for the various questions. As an example, if we take the ‘How often would you meet someone from the other tradition’ question, we see this shows a +23 rating overall, showing that most young people (not all) feel they meet someone from the other tradition fairly often. It should be noted that + 23, is a reasonable positive score, but it is not overwhelming, and could not be described as excellent. However, if we analyse this question by religion (i.e. how our poll respondents defined their religion) we find that Catholics felt they met someone from the ‘other tradition’ more than Protestants by a factor of 6 to 4, and Protestants felt they didn’t meet someone from the ‘other tradition’ that often, by a factor of 2 to 1!   The ‘rating scores’ for all applicable questions will be reported in the Belfast Telegraph all next week. So keep a look out, as they provide interesting reading, and throw up some key questions about the future of Northern Ireland.

      Full results, along with the detailed poll-project methodology, will be published on the LucidTalk web site week beginning 14th April.