Support for the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has slumped to a record low of 16% just weeks after the election of its new controversial right-wing leader Edwin Poots, according to a new poll. 

Sinn Féin is now by far the most popular party in Northern Ireland, enjoying 25% and a 9% lead over their political rivals. The nationalist party currently looks in prime position to become the leading party in next year's Assembly elections, paving the way for Michelle O'Neill to become the first nationalist First Minister of Northern Ireland.

The Lucid Talk poll was conducted for the Belfast Telegraph and found that the DUP and the Alliance Party are now level at 16% each. Meanwhile, the Ulster Unionist Party has risen to 14%, overtaking the SDLP, which has fallen one point to 11%. 

The Traditional Unionist Voice has additionally risen to 11%, potentially indicating fractured support among unionist parties. 

The poll will make grim reading for the DUP and its new leader Edwin Poots. 

The party enjoyed 31% support during the Westminster elections in 2019 but plummeted to a record low of 19% just four months ago in a Belfast Telegraph poll. It has now sunk to a record low of 16%, essentially halving the support it received two years ago. 

Meanwhile, Poots has faced scrutiny over his personal views since being elected successor to Arlene Foster on May 14 and has seen his personal support plummet among DUP voters. 

The new DUP leader believes that the earth is just 6,000 years old and previously banned blood donations from gay people, stating that people who engaged in "high-risk sexual behavior" should not be allowed to donate blood. 

He faced further criticism in 2016 when he claimed that newly-elected DUP leader Arlene Foster's most important job was as a "wife, mother and daughter". 

The new poll found that Poots is three times less popular than Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, his rival for the DUP leadership. 

A total of 64% of participants said that they would back Donaldson in a vote for the DUP leadership, while only 21% said that they would vote for Poots. 

Poots was ranked as the worst-performing party leader in Northern Ireland, placing behind Arlene Foster, the outgoing DUP leader. 

He was rated bad or awful by 62% of those surveyed, compared to Arlene Foster's 50% and Michelle O'Neill's 49%. 

The online poll was carried out between May 14 and May 17, directly after Poots was elected DUP leader. A total of 3,072 people were surveyed and the poll was weighted to reflect the population of Northern Ireland. 

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