DUP politicians returned home happy from the Platinum Jubilee celebrations across Northern Ireland.
As Boris Johnson was booed by royal supporters in London, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson’s party reported a much warmer reception for its representatives at events on this side of the Irish Sea.
While its political opponents are united in fury at the DUP for blocking a government being formed at Stormont, the party isn’t overly concerned.
It’s the home crowd, not outsiders, that it is currently focused on pleasing.
LucidTalk’s poll for the Belfast Telegraph will confirm to Sir Jeffrey Donaldson what he, his MLAs and MPs have heard on the ground.
Unionist voters support the DUP’s stance on not entering an Executive until the issues with the Northern Ireland Protocol are resolved.
Three-quarters said there should be no movement until the protocol is scrapped or undergoes “significant change”.
Some 92% of DUP and 99% of TUV voters held that view, but only 33% of UUP supporters did. Two-thirds of Ulster Unionists want Donaldson’s party to return to government now.
Sir Jeffrey won’t worry about such voters as he sees them far removed from his party’s traditional base — they will never be wooed. It’s the 66,000 people who opted for the TUV in the May election whom he is intent on keeping happy in the short-term anyway.
The DUP doesn’t view last month’s Stormont contest as a disaster.
Apart from Mervyn Storey, there were no surprise losses.
“Sinn Fein did very well,” says a party source.
“But if you’d offered me 25 seats on the eve of the election, I’d have bitten your hand off to take that.”
The hostility the party experienced from loyalist grassroots — particularly at those early anti-protocol rallies — has withered away.
“We’re in a very good place with the unionist community at the moment,” says one elected representative.
“When people think we’ve made mistakes, they’re never shy about telling us. There was none of that at any of the street parties or other events last week.
“People are content with the strategy the party is taking.”
Donaldson’s decision not to even nominate an Assembly Speaker has helped reassure many previously sceptical that the DUP is serious in its opposition to the protocol.
But the party knows the road ahead is littered with landmines. It cannot afford to take any more chances by putting trust in the Tories again, and having that trust betrayed.
DUP voters will not forgive another mistake. The precarious position the Prime Minister is in as he battles for survival brings even more instability to the protocol discussions.
The binning of the protocol is a political pipe dream. Ultimately, Donaldson will have to accept some sort of compromise, and go out and sell it.
The moment he does so is the moment he will shatter the relative unionist unity that currently exists.
Sir Jeffrey’s “significant changes” to the protocol will unlikely be seen as such by Jim Allister.
The TUV leader will be waiting to pounce the moment he sees DUP resolve weakening.
He will forensically tear apart any deal that falls short of the virtual annihilation of the “iniquitous protocol”.
But there are problems for the DUP beyond the TUV. Just 7% of unionist voters said Sir Jeffrey’s party should immediately enter a power-sharing Executive because the protocol isn’t as important as other issues like the cost-of-living crisis and the health service.
With good weather and summer stretching ahead, people are perhaps less focused on Stormont tackling these problems.
But that mood, even among the DUP base, could well start to change come autumn.
As the days shorten, the harsh health and economic realities will loom larger.
If Donaldson is still blocking a government as winter approaches, the public mood could be markedly different from that at last week’s sun-soaked street parties.