The people of Northern Ireland have spoken. But we won’t know what they’ve said for a few more hours, because it takes takes so long to count the ballots and allocate seats under the STV electoral system that they don’t even bother opening the boxes on the night. That happens at 8am for verification, followed by the count proper.
If you haven’t already, you can read my analysis and things to look for.
What we know so far is that turnout overall has been high, but not evenly – nationalist areas and those where the cross-community Alliance Party is strong have had better turnout than unionist areas, and middle class areas are outperforming relative to working class areas. In other words, not good for the DUP, which would be in line with the polling evidence.
But we will soon have a further clue from LucidTalk’s on-the-day poll. To repeat the usual warning this is NOT an exit poll, but a conventional poll fielded on the day of the vote.
For those the need a reminder, the difference is that on-the-day polling can pick up those changing their mind at the last moment, undecided voters breaking heavily one way or people admitting that they didn’t make it to the polling booth, but otherwise has all of the usual challenges of getting a representative sample. True exit polls stop every nth person coming out of carefully selected polling stations, so are a probability survey of people who have definitely voted.
Elsewhere, Ian Warren has written a very interesting response to John Curtice’s paper on Labour and Brexit. I have to say I’m with Ian on this one – there is no route to a remotely good result for Labour that doesn’t involve at least some Leave votes. And if Labour ever want to govern again, it needs to think about what its coalition might look like, and it’s not going to look like a bigger version of the Lib Dems. More thoughts on that on Wednesday’s Polling Matters.
There were also four by-elections yesterday. Two of them won’t count until today, and one was a Conservative hold. The interesting one was Kersal (Salford) which saw a Conservative gain from Lab on a 10% swing. That could be explained away by the intervention of an independent, however it’s noteworthy that the independent was a prominent member of the very substantial Jewish community in that ward and his gains appeared to coming from Labour. That does seem to have been a pattern since last years’s antisemitism scandal…