Northern Ireland news

Opinion poll shows sharp drop in DUP support

An opinion poll suggests support for the DUP has plummeted

SUPPORT of the DUP has ebbed significantly since 2017's assembly election, according to a new opinion poll.

Support for Arlene Foster's party has plunged to a 20-year low of 19 per cent – more than nine percentage points down on its vote share at the last Stormont election.

DUP voters appear to have migrated mostly to the TUV, which according to the survey has a record 10 per cent support among the electorate.

Carried out by LucidTalk between January 22-25 with the results published by the Belfast Telegraph, the survey shows support for Sinn Féin down almost four percentage points on 2017 at 24 per cent. However, if the results of the research were replicated in an assembly election, Michelle O'Neill would be first minister, with Mrs Foster and Alliance's Naomi Long battling for the deputy first minister's role.

According to the poll, which surveyed 2,295 people, Alliance is just one percentage point behind the DUP on 18 per cent, an increase of almost 9 per cent on its performance in 2017's assembly election.

While the survey indicates the fortunes of Stormont's 'big two' have dwindled to a lesser and greater degree since 2017, the two smaller unionist and nationalist parties have not enjoyed a commensurate boost in their support.

Support for the SDLP stands at 13 per cent – an increase of 1.1 percentage points on 2017 – while the Ulster Unionists are at 12 per cent, down almost one full percentage point.

Support for the Greens is 2 per cent (down 0.3) and 1 per cent (down 0.8) for People Before Profit.

Support for the smaller unionist and nationalist parties' leaders compared favourably with their larger rivals, however, with 44 per cent of people rating UUP leader Steve Aiken's performance as 'good/great', and 30 per cent saying the same of SDLP leader Colum Eastwood.

Just 21 per cent said Sinn Féin's northern leader was 'good/great' and 22 per cent made a similar assessment of the DUP leader.

Health minister Robin Swann received the most positive rating, with 75 per cent of respondents rating him 'good/great'. Conversly, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Tory colleague Secretary of State Brandon Lewis were both rated 'bad/awful' by 73 per cent of respondents.

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