The latest survey of voter opinions in the north-east of the country continues the trend of recent months, reflecting increased levels of support for a reunited Ireland in polls from the UK-administered region. Unfortunately, much of that support is still dependent on the outcome of the United Kingdom’s chaotic withdrawal talks with the European Union. If strong ties with the EU are maintained for the Six Counties a majority of northern voters, nominally nationalist, unionist and nonaligned, appear content to maintain the structures of partition for the foreseeable future. However, if Britain crashes out of Europe, and a “hard border” is consequently reimposed around its legacy colony on this island-nation, then local support for unification rises dramatically.
The new “Northern Ireland Poll” was commissioned by two anti-Brexit groups in the UK, Our Future Our Choice (OFOC) and Best for Britain (BFB), and was carried out by London’s Deltapoll company using an online sample of 1,199 adults aged 18 years and over between the 24th and 28th of August 2018. You can read the full results here but I was struck by some of the statistics stemming from the questions below. It would be interesting to see the detailed gender breakdown in the survey given that female voters are traditionally considered to be quite cautious in their views, favouring the status quo over dramatic change. Perhaps in this case the long-term upheaval caused by Brexit is being balanced against the short-term upheaval caused by reunification?
Q1 VOTE AT GE2017 QUESTION 1 Talking to people about the General Election on June 8th 2017 we have found that a lot of people didn’t manage to vote. How about you? – did you manage to vote in the General Election last year. IF YES – Which party did you vote for in the General Election on June 8th 2017?
YES – Sinn Fein (SF) 21% [Total] 22% [Female] 19% [Male]
Q2 YOUR HERITAGE QUESTION 2 Generally speaking do you consider yourself to come from a Nationalist or Unionist heritage?
Nationalist: 42% [Total] 44% [Female] 39% [Male]
Q3 EU REFERENDUM 2016 QUESTION 3 In the Referendum on the 23rd of June 2016 on whether the UK should remain in or leave the European Union which way did you vote? – or did you not vote?
Voted to REMAIN in the EU: 41% [Total] 48% [Female] 35% [Male]
Q4 EU REFERENDUM TOMORROW QUESTION 4 Imagine that the referendum on the 23rd of June 2016 on whether the UK should remain in or leave the European Union DID NOT take place but instead is taking place for the first time tomorrow. If the referendum was being held for the first time tomorrow – How would you vote?
I would vote to REMAIN in the EU: 60% [Total] 69% [Female] 50% [Male]
Q5 EU NI CONSTITUTIONAL POSITION QUESTION 5 Imagine now that the UK decided to REMAIN IN the EU. Under these circumstances how would you vote in a referendum on the constitutional arrangements of the island of Ireland?
I would vote for a United Ireland outside of the UK: 35% [Total] 37% [Female] 33% [Male]
Q6 EU NI CONSTITUTIONAL POSITION QUESTION 6 Imagine now that the UK decided to LEAVE the EU. Under these circumstances how would you vote in a referendum on the constitutional arrangements of the island of Ireland?
I would vote for a United Ireland outside of the UK: 52% [Total] 61% [Female] 44% [Male]
Q7 EU TYPE OF NI BORDER QUESTION 7 Imagine now that as part of the UK leaving the EU there is a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Under these circumstances how would you vote in a referendum on the constitutional arrangements of the island of Ireland?
I would vote for a United Ireland outside of the UK: 56% [Total] 67% [Female] 45% [Male]
Some stats worth pondering. Especially as they seem to have increased the levels of paranoia – and conspiratorial conjecture – among the unionist-leaning press in the north.
I think we have here proof positive that at least in NI both Brexit and Unionism are an older (white) male thing.
The differences between gender as well as age (which I kind of expected) is remarkable.
Isn’t it? I haven’t seen the stats on the gender split in the poll so I’m left wondering.
But the general rule of thumb for politics is that female voters are more cautious and hesitant about big changes. Hence the focus on women by the anti-independence groups in Scotland during the referendum campaign and the later focus on men by the Brexit campaign in the UK as a whole.
If this is more than a statistical blip or anomaly SF and nationalists in general should be wooing this constituency.