Sinn Féin set to be largest party in NI - poll

Friday 12 February 2010 14.46
Martin McGuinness - Could be next NI First Minister
Martin McGuinness - Could be next NI First Minister

A poll in today's Belfast Telegraph suggests that Sinn Féin could become the largest political party in Northern Ireland.

The poll of 1,080 adults was carried out by Inform Communications over a five-day period following last week's deal between the DUP and Sinn Féin at Hillsborough Castle.

Respondents were asked who they would vote for if an Assembly election was held tomorrow.

Of those intending to vote, 21% said they would most likely support Sinn Féin. The DUP was the second most popular party with 18%, leading the Ulster Unionist Party by 3%.

The SDLP had 13%, followed by the Alliance party at 7%.

The hard-line Traditional Unionist Voice party registered 6% support, with both the PUP and the Green Party on 3%.

The Belfast Telegraph poll indicated strong support within the unionist community for a pact between the DUP and the UUP, as 63% of Protestant respondents said that the UUP were wrong to dismiss an electoral link-up with the DUP.

Of those surveyed, 35% said recent political events had made them more likely not to vote.

A further 27% said they were now more likely to support a different party, while 14% gave no indication of their voting intentions.

The poll has triggered speculation of a future political crisis in Northern Ireland if Martin McGuinness becomes First Minister.

Even though the First Minister and Deputy First Minister are equal positions, many unionists have indicated that they would not serve in an Assembly headed by Mr McGuinness.