By Rebecca Black, PA
Support for the DUP has risen in the past year while Sinn Féin remains the top party in Northern Ireland, a new poll has suggested.
A LucidTalk poll for the Belfast Telegraph puts support for Sinn Féin at 29 per cent, ahead of the DUP on 25 per cent, Alliance on 13 per cent, UUP on 11 per cent and the SDLP on 7 per cent.
Jim Allister’s TUV is on 7 per cent while the Green Party is on 2 per cent, Aontú on 2 per cent, People Before Profit on 1 per cent and 3 per cent for others and independents.
The findings are in line with the 29 per cent of the first preference votes which Sinn Féin received in last year’s Assembly election while it suggests a rise for the DUP from 21.3 per cent in last year’s vote.
The latest polls show that @duponline are closing the gap & building support in our continuing opposition to the protocol. As in May 2022 our objectives & stance before and after the election will remain and we are looking for a strengthened mandate to finish the job. #VoteDUP… pic.twitter.com/FiTWHhEPzU
— Jeffrey Donaldson MP (@J_Donaldson_MP) May 1, 2023
Asked which of the party leaders are doing a good job, respondents to the poll favoured Sinn Féin vice president Michelle O’Neill with 82 per cent, followed by Alliance leader Naomi Long at 64 per cent, SDLP leader Colum Eastwood and UUP leader Doug Beattie each at 44 per cent, and DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson and Mr Allister each at 2 per cent.
The poll comes as the DUP continues to refuse to participate in devolved government at Stormont, pressing the UK Government to address concerns around the Northern Ireland Protocol.
It also found 62 per cent of unionists believe the DUP should not re-enter the executive until the protocol is removed completely, even if this means the permanent closure of Stormont.
Mr Donaldson responded to the findings by saying they show that his party is “closing the gap and building support in our continuing opposition to the protocol”.
“As in May 2022, our objectives & stance before and after the election will remain, and we are looking for a strengthened mandate to finish the job,” he tweeted.
The poll was carried out online from 1pm on April 21 to 10pm on April 24th, using an opinion panel of 14,670 members across Northern Ireland.
Some 3,557 full responses were received which were then authenticated, audited and weighted to a 1,020 response data-set.
LucidTalk, a member of the British Polling Council, said the results are accurate to within an error of plus/minus 2.3 per cent at 95 per cent confidence.