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Poll: Alliance on the rise as unionists lose ground in voting intentions survey

If an Assembly election was held tomorrow, which party would get your first preference vote?

Overall the voting figures are close to the last Assembly elections on May 5, 2011.

The Alliance Party has increased its vote and the UUP is the most noticeable loser, though its vote has not collapsed and the figures suggest it can hold its European seat.

The poll suggests a marginal decrease in the votes of most of the unionist parties.

This may reflect the fact that two new pro-Union groupings, NI21 and Ukip, have entered the fray since the last election.

Both gained MLAs as a result of splits in the UUP but the decline in the UUP vote may reflect this.

Overall the figures for the five Executive parties, with the 2011 vote in brackets, are DUP 29.3% (30%), Sinn Fein 26.1% (26.9%), UUP 10.8% (13.2%), SDLP 13.8% (14.2%) and Alliance 10.2% (7.7%). Forty-five per cent of Alliance support is concentrated in South and East Belfast.

Smaller parties which did not stand everywhere last time include the Greens (1.3%), Ukip (1.6%), NI21 (4.7%) and TUV (2.2%). This is a creditable start for NI21, the new party started by Basil McCrea and John McCallister.

But the only areas they broke into double percentage points were in Mr McCallister and Mr McCrea's home constituencies of South Down and Lagan Valley where they got 15.6% support.

The next electoral test comes in May 2014 at the European election and there may be shadow elections to 11 new local authorities.



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