Mini exit poll in East Belfast suggests strong DUP and Alliance vote

Wesley Ramsay, who voted DUP last year, but switched to  UUP this time, partly because of RHI and partly because the DUP is living in the past on gay and other issues. Elmgrove Primary School in East Belfast on March 2 2017. By Ben Lowry
Wesley Ramsay, who voted DUP last year, but switched to UUP this time, partly because of RHI and partly because the DUP is living in the past on gay and other issues. Elmgrove Primary School in East Belfast on March 2 2017. By Ben Lowry

These are the results from my small exit poll at Elmgrove Primary School in East Belfast today.

The findings suggest that the DUP vote has held up well in the constituency, but Alliance has also performed very strongly, perhaps proportionately a bit better.

Brian Hamilton, who voted Ulster Unionist last year, but switched to DUP to stop "the republican agenda". He did not like Mike Nesbitt's transfer to SDLP suggestion. Elmgrove Primary School in East Belfast on March 2 2017. By Ben Lowry

Brian Hamilton, who voted Ulster Unionist last year, but switched to DUP to stop "the republican agenda". He did not like Mike Nesbitt's transfer to SDLP suggestion. Elmgrove Primary School in East Belfast on March 2 2017. By Ben Lowry

This is of course only one polling station in one constituency so the figures have to be treated with extreme caution. It is akin to an early election tally from only one box at a count.

But even so the findings are not meaningless because Elmgrove tends to vote similarly to the constituency as a whole, albeit slightly more unionist than average. It seems safe to say that the DUP vote has not collapsed in East Belfast.

Everyone was asked their first preference party (note the pictures accompanying this story were taken today).

The results I got are as follows:

Edmond and Evangelista Matonhodze, originally from Zimbabwe, voted DUP because it is a Christian party opposed to abortion and homosexuality. Elmgrove Primary School in East Belfast on March 2 2017. By Ben Lowry

Edmond and Evangelista Matonhodze, originally from Zimbabwe, voted DUP because it is a Christian party opposed to abortion and homosexuality. Elmgrove Primary School in East Belfast on March 2 2017. By Ben Lowry

DUP 66

Alliance 60

PUP 17

UUP 16

TUV 7

Green 6

SDLP 4

Sinn Fein 2

Lab 1

Total 179

Won’t say 119

This is actually quite similar to the constituency-wide result last year. If you take the same number of votes (179) that I got in my survey today, and then divide that number pro rata to how the seat overall voted last year, then you would expect the following result: DUP 66; Alliance 51; UUP 19; PUP 9; Green 11; TUV 4

This is of course is very similar to my exit poll.

The position of the Ulster Unionists does not seem to have changed much. The PUP’s John Kyle seems to be up a bit, but this is an area where he has good support. Likewise the TUV tends to do a bitter better than average here. The Greens seem to be down a bit this year.

The exit poll was carried out late this afternoon and early this evening. It was the largest number of people I have ever encountered who would not say how they voted, but this might well be related to the fact that it was wet and cold.

In my 2015 Westminster exit poll I got the following results. In brackets is the result it would have been if Elmgrove had precisely followed the seat as a whole that year. As you can see, the exit poll and the overall finding ratios are similar, which reiterates that Elmgrove tends to be a good bellweather.

In my 2015 Westminster exit poll I found:

Gavin Robinson DUP 131 (123)

Naomi Long All 102 (107)

Neil Wilson Conservative 10

Ross Brown Green 6

Won’t say 55

In 2016 East Belfast first preferences in the whole seat were:

DUP 13,643 36.7%

All 10,659 28.7%

UUP 4,146 11.1%

Green 2,183 5.9%

PUP 1,782 4.8%

Independent 1,099; TUV 887; SF 947; Ukip 631; Lab 517; Con 477; SDLP 141; Lab 78

In my 2010 Westminster exit poll I found:

Peter Robinson 53

Naomi Long 52

Trevor Ringland (UUP-Tory) 23

David Vance (TUV) 22

Won’t say 42