They may say ‘it’s only a poll’, but it’s the latest in a series of wake-up calls for the DUP. Alarm bells continue to ring, and by May the party could be waking up to the prospect of handing the position of First Minister to Sinn Fein.
That’s the stark reality that is showing no signs of disappearing.
The future is coming hard and fast at breakneck speed.
Do they press on ahead, slam on the brakes or take evasive action?
Today we publish the latest poll from LucidTalk. The DUP is in the spotlight and there are not many weeks to turn things around, if as expected the Assembly elections take place in early May.
Sir Jeffrey Donaldson stands as the most unpopular local party leader in Northern Ireland by a considerable margin, but there are small crumbs of comfort he can take from today’s numbers.
At 17%, he will see plenty of scope to improve that figure come election day in particular with obvious doubts over the TUV’s capacity to match their opinion poll numbers when it really matters.
There appears to be some backing for Sir Jeffrey’s threat to walk out of Stormont if the Irish Sea border is not dealt with.
Almost two-thirds of unionist voters say the DUP should collapse the institutions if there is no progress on “scrapping” the protocol, with the only disagreement over how long to give the EU and UK governments to resolve the issue.
Will that be the spur the DUP needs to carry out the threat?
Or are those figures a reflection of a lack of faith in Stormont itself as much as admiration for Sir Jeffrey’s stance?
It’s clear the voting public want their representatives to do better with just 13% saying the Executive is doing a good or great job.
And 57% say it’s either bad or awful.
Faith in politics is fading, and at a time when politicians are going to ask for our votes.
There’s a fair bit of work to be done if they’re to get that confidence back and some interesting doorstep conversations in the weeks ahead.