VIDEO: Voting in East Belfast

The sharply divided loyalties in East Belfast were apparent all day today.

Streams of voters turned up at Elmgrove Primary School to cast their votes, many of them voicing passionate support for either Naomi Long of Alliance or Gavin Robinson, the DUP man who is hoping to follow her as MP.

Victor and Margaret Mitchell, who voted DUP, outside Elmgrove Primary school. 'Pic by Ben Lowry

Victor and Margaret Mitchell, who voted DUP, outside Elmgrove Primary school. 'Pic by Ben Lowry

The News Letter carried out an exit poll at Elmgrove in 2010, which gave the first indication of the scale of support for Ms Long that enabled her to defeat Peter Robinson.

We found 53 votes for Mr Robinson, 52 for Ms Long, and 23 for Trevor Ringland (Ucunf), which is much closer than would have been expected.

Our exit poll from today is here.

Among today’s voters, Stuart McQuitty, who supported Alliance, said: “I don’t want the DUP in, I would have voted Green but they have no chance.”

Philip Hammond, who voted Alliance, outside Elmgrove Primary school.'Pic by Ben Lowry

Philip Hammond, who voted Alliance, outside Elmgrove Primary school.'Pic by Ben Lowry

But Victor and Margaret Mitchell had no hesitation voting DUP.

“We always voted DUP,” said Mr Mitchell. “They keep us in the UK.”

Philip Hammond, a composer whose music was performed in front of President Bill Clinton at the Waterfront Hall, voted Alliance, as he did five years ago: “I’m totally against the pact, that [the Ulster Unionists] would actually join forces with bigots in order to put down someone like Naomi, I cannot understand why they would do that.

“It’s just anti everything I stand for.”

But Reginald Dickson voted DUP for Gavin Robinson, as he did in 2010 when he backed Peter Robinson.

He was annoyed at Naomi Long’s support for ending the daily flying of the Union flag from Belfast City Hall.

“It is our culture, and we’ve always had red white and blue. Everything is trying to being taken for us,” he said.

Brian and Lynne Norwood both voted Alliance, having voted Conservative and Ulster Unionist (Ucunf) last time.

“I did not want Peter Robinson telling us who we should be voting for, I did not like the pact.”

Elizabeth Campbell, who has worked on Christian missions in Africa, was won over to vote DUP when Gavin Robinson canvassed her home, but she had warm words for both Mr Robinson and Ms Long.

“I saw Christianity in both of them,” she told the News Letter.