Latest results of Irish Institute General Election Survey

A graph showing voting intention with Sinn Fein at the top

Findings published in the Irish News and Financial Times from the University’s Institute of Irish Studies show that Sinn Féin looks on course for a record number of seats in the next Westminster election.

Polling conducted in Northern Ireland between 26 October and 3 November 2023 gives Sinn Féin 31% of the vote, some six points ahead of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which is expected to see a significant drop in support to around 25% of the vote.

If the outcome of the latest survey was mirrored at the polls it would represent the loss of almost one-third of the DUP’s vote since its 2017 highpoint of 36%.

The Alliance Party would maintain its place as the region’s third biggest party with a 15% share of the vote, the polling indicates, but would drop two points compared to 2019.

The Northern Ireland Assembly has not sat for more than a year. It was dissolved in February 2022 following the resignation of DUP First Minister Paul Givan in protest at the introduction of the Northern Ireland Protocol – part of a Brexit agreement between the British government and the European Union designed to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland.

The lack of a functioning Assembly, has, according to the survey, caused voters to turn away from the DUP and projects the worst DUP result in a General Election for more than a decade.

Professor Peter Shirlow, Director at the Institute of Irish Studies, said: “What comes out very clearly in our survey — and this is the first time I’ve seen this — is that people who are pro-union are stating that they will think about Irish unity if the assembly doesn’t come back. Unionist behaviour has driven away sectors of [its] electorate.

“Unionism needs to read the room. Significant majorities of unionists support the restoration of the Assembly, that its return will challenge societal needs and that access to both the EU and UK markets is vital to the economy.”

You can read the full report and survey findings here.

You can read Professor Shirlow’s article about the survey results in the Irish News here.