Current Affairs Politics

Poll: Majority Support In The North Of Ireland For Reunification

Regional data from the latest poll by Lord Ashcroft, the former Conservative Party deputy chairperson turned polling guru in Britain, has revealed a narrow majority in favour of reunification in the north of Ireland when undecided voters and non-voters are excluded. According to the research conducted among 1,542 adults in the Six Counties interviewed online between the 30th of August and the 2nd of September, when asked the question “If there was a border poll tomorrow, how would you vote?”, the answer was:

For Northern Ireland to leave the UK and join the Republic of Ireland?

Yes 46%

No 45%

Removing Don’t Knows and Non-Voters that works out as,

Yes 51%

No 49%

These figures are well within the margin of error and shouldn’t be taken as proof of a definitive majority in the Six Counties in favour of ending partition. But the breakdown of numbers in the age groups within the survey paint a far starker picture for the pro-union camp with clear and unambiguous majorities for national reintegration in the under-44 age categories (a massive 60% in the case of 18-24 year olds). While so much of the political future is dependant on the outcome of Brexit, there is little doubt that a generational pro-unity consensus is beginning to emerge among the electorate in the north-east of the country.

9 comments on “Poll: Majority Support In The North Of Ireland For Reunification

  1. One of the most interesting polls in a long time. As you say, not definitive by a long way, but indicative of very real change.

    • I agree. It’s the stats in the age categories that tell it all. Political unionism in its broadest sense has lost the middle-aged and younger vote. Even if a centrist pro-union bloc prevails for some time, unionist politics will never be the same again. It can’t afford to be unless the DUPs and UUPs of northern unionism are determined to adhere to a not an inch mentality. In which case nationalism’s growth will be accelerated through the worsening of zero-sum politics.

      • The odd thing is the way the DUP has handled Brexit, because it runs completely contrary to the sheer weight of developing dynamics. I’ve been unable to work out what it is about, unless it is simply ‘better continuing the status quo, or improving it (from their point of view) for a decade, whatever about the medium and long term implications’. It’s completely counterproductive. Definitely agree – the worsening mood music from political unionism only adds momentum to nationalism/Republicanism.

        • There is talk of the DUP being open to a “soft backstop”. But that seems to be focused on a limited application of highly specific all-island regulations. Not a real backstop as such. BINO? Backstop In Name Only?

          We live in an age of nightmarish acronyms. And I’ve just added a new one! 😄

        • Scared of the changing demographics in Northern Ireland, the main reason the DUP backed Brexit was because they saw a chance in it to totally de-fang the Good Friday Agreement vis-a-vis the possibility of a border poll. When looking at the current position that the party finds itself in, one does well to remember that the brains of the outfit (Peter Robinson) is now gone. For all of his faults, and there were too many to mention here, Robinson was a very, very shrewd tactician, long-sighted and, when he needed to be, very pragmatic. Foster is none of those things. She’s way out of her depth intellectually, and driven by whatever euphemism for bigotry you care to use. Dodds is smart, but also led by his base emotions rather than his brain. Many of the bright (then) young things that Robinson brought into the party have also now gone.
          As soon as the referendum result was announced, Robinson would have studied the breakdown across the NI constituencies and realised that extreme caution was needed as many unionists had voted Remain. He would have hedged his bets, left the door open for jumping ship as soon as things began to go badly – which, of course, they did. In short, he would long ago have disentangled the DUP from the Tory government. From the outset, Arlene and Nigel have done the complete opposite. The party has become all but welded to the most extreme Tory positions on Brexit, and couldn’t disentangle itself now even if it wanted to. Ergo, they now have no bargaining power and are completely at the mercy of Johnston and Cummings (the latter is reported to have said he wouldn’t care if NI sank into the sea). Along the way they have alienated a large section of the young people from the unionist community who, when forced to make a choice, have chosen the EU over the UK. Not to mention alienating many unionist-leaning farmers and business people who have made the same choice. Keep an eye on these polls. Even if Brexit is sorted in some fashion, I fully expect the numbers of pro-European, erstwhile unionists expressing a preference for a united Ireland to rise.

  2. So more Unionists want to join a United Ireland than Nationalists want to stay in the United Kingdom. Where have all the unicorns gone?

    • Perhaps they vanished with the referendum result. Peter Donaghy (Salmon of Data) on Slugger O’Toole has a post today pointing to the clear uptick for Irish unity in polls since 2016 with a marked increase in 2017 as the implications of Brexit set in. I agree entirely with ASF, you wouldn’t want to bet the house on unity for quite a while to come but Brexit has detached a small but not insignificant portion of pro union voters (some within Alliance and the GP) from their previous position. Now the question is will they eventually return? I think a managed soft Brexit as close to the current status quo might allow them to – but given the course of Brexit the potential outcomes of a hard Brexit throw it all up in the air. If the Yellowhammer report is even just adjacent to the actual outcomes I would not think it unlikely sentiment for unity might increase again. Notably the DUP are throwing out some softer rhetoric this week about a no-deal Brexit (ie they’re agin it etc). Be interesting if that has any weight to it.

  3. Scottish oil might just have gone up a tad in value post the Saudi fire.

    The world still need oil, it’s use ain’t going away any time soon and now 25% of the worlds oil is at risk.

    Thank fu*k we are poorer for having oil reserves.

    .

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