Sinn Féin extends lead over DUP ahead of May elections

Sinn Féin extends lead over DUP ahead of May elections

SINN FÉIN has extended its lead ahead of the DUP before the 5 May Assembly election, a news survey by the Institute of Irish Studies-University of Liverpool/The Irish News has shown.

The opinion poll shows that since the last survey conducted in February, the party has widened its gap and currently stands on 27% of first preference votes.

The DUP finds itself almost seven points behind at 20.2%, followed by Alliance at 14.6%, Other, UUP and SDLP.

Based on the survey, Sinn Féin would find itself receiving close to 28% share of the popular vote which it received in 2017.

The number of those undecided on who to vote for still remains significant at 17.2%  though it represents a 1.5% drop on the previous survey.

Institute of Irish Studies director Professor Peter Shirlow said that while support for the DUP had lifted "slightly", it looked very much like Sinn Féin would be Stormont's largest party.

"The DUP may be aided by the decline in support for the TUV and the significant share of unionists yet to decide," he said.

"The SDLP and UUP are pretty much were they were 2017, while Alliance seems to be holding the 2017-19 electoral surge – these three parties need to transfer between each other to ensure seats are gained or at least not lost."

He also said young people are seeking an electoral home that is not divisive of constitutional politics."

"They are the community from which to capture votes – the ones who are those most likely to state that politics is too sectarian and tied to the past," he said.