General Election

DUP will lose to SDLP in South Belfast but beat Sinn Féin in North Belfast, poll suggests

The SDLP's Claire Hanna is predicted to win in South Belfast. Picture by Cliff Donaldson

THE DUP will hold on to its North Belfast seat but lose to the SDLP in South Belfast, according to a new poll.

The LucidTalk tracker poll predicts that DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds will hold off a challenge from Sinn Féin's John Finucane while the SDLP's Claire Hanna is predicted to clinch South Belfast - the seat held by the DUP's Emma Little Pengelly since 2017.

Sinn Féin is predicted to lose the Foyle seat Elisha McCallion narrowly won in 2017.

The LucidTalk poll puts SDLP leader Colum Eastwood slightly ahead of Ms McCallion in the key battleground - partly due to tactical voting from unionists.

However, the margins in the North Belfast and Foyle constituencies are so narrow that the predictions could prove incorrect once voters go to the polls on Thursday.

The poll suggests the DUP will retain 10 seats by losing South Belfast and gaining North Down - the seat formerly held by independent unionist Sylvia Hermon.

Polling shows the DUP's Alex Easton is just ahead of the Alliance's Stephen Farry in the constituency.

In the key Fermanagh and South Tyrone constituency, where the DUP decided not to stand in favour of an election pact with the Ulster Unionists, Sinn Féin is expected to win.

According to the poll, Sinn Féin's Michelle Gildernew will comfortably regain the seat she took from Ulster Unionist rival Tom Elliott in 2017.

The SDLP, which lost all its MPs at the last election, is predicted to gain two seats overall - Foyle and South Belfast.

Sinn Féin is predicted to lose one seat - Foyle - bringing its total down to six.

In East Belfast, the DUP's Gavin Robinson has a 53 per cent chance of retaining the seat - ahead of Alliance leader and MEP Naomi Long.

However, the poll shows Mr Robinson's popularity in the constituency has dropped since the last general election in 2017.

The DUP is expected to remain the largest party, with a 28 per cent vote share.

Sinn Féin is due to continue as the second largest party on 24 per cent, ahead of Alliance on 15 per cent, the SDLP on 12 per cent and Ulster Unionists on 10 per cent.

The poll also found that constitutional issues continue to dominate.

Of those polled, 71 per cent of unionists were primarily concerned with the north remaining within the UK.

Around 73 per cent of nationalist voters were most concerned with a united Ireland.

A majority of unionist and nationalist voters want to remain with the European Union, the poll showed.

Around 41 per cent of unionists and 74 per cent of nationalists want to stay within the bloc.

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General Election