Support for the DUP has risen in the past year while Sinn Fein remains the top party in Northern Ireland, a new poll has suggested.
A LucidTalk poll for the Belfast Telegraph puts support for Sinn Fein at 29%, ahead of the DUP on 25%, Alliance on 13%, UUP on 11% and the SDLP on 7%.
Jim Allister’s TUV is on 7% while the Green Party is on 2%, Aontu on 2%, People Before Profit on 1% and 3% for others and independents.
The findings are in line with the 29% of the first preference votes which Sinn Fein received in last year’s Assembly election while it suggests a rise for the DUP from 21.3% in last year’s vote.
Asked which of the party leaders are doing a good job, respondents to the poll favoured Sinn Fein vice president Michelle O’Neill with 82%, followed by Alliance leader Naomi Long at 64%, SDLP leader Colum Eastwood and UUP leader Doug Beattie each at 44%, and DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson and Mr Allister each at 2%.
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% 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.
Sir Jeffrey 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 24, 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% at 95% confidence.