The latest Belfast Telegraph, LucidTalk opinion poll suggest a major overhaul of the Northern Ireland political landscape in the event of an Assembly election.
Support for the DUP has plummeted to just 16% while Sinn Fein has secured a significant 9% lead over its partner in government putting Michelle O'Neill in the frame as potentially Northern Ireland's First Minister after the next Assembly election.
Support for the DUP has halved since the Westminster election 18 months ago with the TUV, and now the Ulster Unionists under Doug Beattie, growing in popularity.
The poll puts Sinn Fein on 25%, with the DUP and Alliance neck-and-neck on 16%. On 14%, the Ulster Unionists have overtaken the SDLP (12%), with Jim Allister’s TUV continuing to grow on 11%.
The DUP was on an all-time low on 19% in our poll four months ago, but it has now fallen another three points. Some 29% of its voters at the last Assembly election now say they will vote TUV; 10% UUP; and 4% Alliance.
In comparison to Mr Poots’ party, support for Sinn Fein has risen. Securing 23% in 2019, it climbed to 24% in January and is now on 25%. On 16%, Alliance is level with the DUP, but that’s still down from 18% four months ago, indicating that the liberal stance of the new UUP leader is hurting Naomi Long’s party.
The online poll of 3,072 people was carried out from 14-17 May. It was weighted to reflect the Northern Ireland population. The survey opened immediately after Mr Poots became DUP leader, and when Mr Beattie was the only declared candidate for the UUP’s top job.
Despite their recent troubles Sinn Fein's popularity shows no signs of declining, with the party on course to emerge triumphant following next year's Assembly election.
The most interesting results to come out of the LucidTalk (LT) Spring 2021 NI ‘Tracker’ poll are what NI thinks of the leader changes at the top of the DUP and UUP. What do the NI public think of the two new unionist leaders? Will these new leaders impact the projected poll-scores for their parties, and how do they compare to the other major NI political leaders?