Three times as many DUP voters prioritise health ahead of the protocol – latest survey
LITTLE more than one-in-10 DUP voters regard the protocol as the issue that concerns them most, with both health and the economy seen as a much greater priority.
The latest Institute of Irish Studies-University of Liverpool/The Irish News survey shows 12.1 per cent of those who intend to give Sir Jeffrey Donaldson's party their first preference vote are exercised by the post-Brexit trade arrangements, which have prompted a number of high-profile, unionist-led protests throughout the election campaign.
The protocol is seen as important by 6.7 per cent of all those surveyed and a higher than average 10.4 per cent of Ulster Unionist voters.
However, health is seen as the most important issue by supporters of all parties, scoring an overall 36.5 per cent, ahead of the economy at 28 per cent. The greatest proportion of Ulster Unionist voters prioritise health (46.1 per cent), while it ranks as important to a below average 28.9 per cent of their DUP counterparts.
Constitutional issues barely register among those surveyed, with only 2.3 per cent of DUP voters seeing them as important and 1.6 per cent of Sinn Féin voters thinking likewise. Overall, just 1 per cent of those surveyed prioritised the constitutional question.
Covid recovery (6.9 per cent) ranks as the third most important issue among all voters after the economy and health, with almost one-in-10 DUP voters (9.8 per cent) believing it is a priority, compared to just 2.5 per cent of Sinn Féin supporters.
An above average proportion of Sinn Féin voters prioritise housing (6.7 per cent) compared to 1.5 per cent of their DUP counterparts, while the issue is regarded as the most important by 4.5 per cent of those surveyed.
Education is regarded as important by 3.1 per cent of all respondents, with DUP (5.2) and UUP (3.5) voters ranking it above average.
Employment matters for nationalists, with 5.9 per cent of Sinn Féin voters and 5.2 per cent of their SDLP counterparts ranking it as important, whereas the average among all parties' supporters is 4 per cent.
Notably, 5 per cent of Sinn Féin voters prioritise gender issues, while they are effectively disregarded by the supporters of other parties.