Political news

TUV 'one man band' neck-and-neck with SDLP says poll

Jim Allister's TUV is neck-and-neck with the SDLP, according to Lucid Talk. Picture by Hugh Russell

JIM Allister's 'one man band' is neck-and-neck with SDLP in the polls, according to a new survey.

Support for Colum Eastwood's party has stayed static in as many months, leaving it on a 7 per cent share of the popular vote alongside the TUV.

Sinn Féin remains Stormont's largest party by some distance, with 31 per cent of first preference votes, down marginally on its previous rating.

The DUP saw its vote share slip by two points to 25 per cent, – whereas the TUV enjoyed a corresponding two point increase, compared to November.

A LucidTalk poll for the Belfast Telegraph four months ahead of the local government elections shows Alliance support unchanged on 15 per cent, maintaining its position as the north’s third largest party.

The Green Party is down one point to just 1 per cent with People Before Profit unchanged on 1 per cent.

The anti-abortion republican party Aontú is up one point to 2 per cent.

While the Ulster Unionist Party is up one point to 10 per cent, leader Doug Beattie has suffered a significant drop in popularity.

With 28 per cent of respondents saying Mr Beattie is doing a good job, compared to 37 per cent in November, the former soldier comes in just one point ahead of Jim Allister (27 per cent).

Michelle O’Neill is the most popular party leader with 41 per cent of voters saying she is doing a good or great job, while Alliance's Naomi Long comes in second place on 37 per cent, and the SDLP's Colum Eastwood in third on 33 per cent.

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson remains the most unpopular local party leader with just 25 per cent of people viewing him positively.

Dealing with the health crisis is seen as the most important issue by voters (38 per cent), followed by sorting the protocol (25 per cent), restoring Stormont (17 per cent), tackling the cost of living crisis (16 per cent), and housing (2 per cent).

Tánaiste Micheál Martin is the least disliked political leader from outside the north, and although Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar has been portrayed as a unionist hate figure, unionist voters view Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris more negatively than the taoiseach.

Some 3,662 people took part in the online poll conducted from January 20 to 23.

* This article was amended on January 31 2023