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Survey: Majority say 'No' to Ireland border poll and 'Yes' to staying in UK

By Jonny Bell

Published 28/09/2016

Excluding the 'don't knows' 57% said they would not want a border poll.
Excluding the 'don't knows' 57% said they would not want a border poll.
Taking out the 'don't knows' 68% of respondents said they would vote to remain in the UK and 31% would vote for a united Ireland.

The majority of people in Northern Ireland would say they don't want a border poll and if there was one over two-thirds would vote for the status quo, that's according to a new opinion poll.

Belfast-based polling and market research company LucidTalk carried out a survey to gauge public opinion as part of its monthly 'tracker poll'. The results were published in Wednesday's Sun newspaper.

In the poll of how people would vote in June's EU referendum, they were within 1% of predicting the exact result.

For the September poll over 1,500 took part and in order to make it representative of the Northern Ireland population, 1,080 full responses were used as basis of the findings.

Results showed that 57.6% of people would say no to having a border poll with 42.4% saying yes. That is excluding those who said they don't know which way they would vote.

Based on the company's previous 2014 poll, that is a swing from 56.2% saying they wanted a vote on a united Ireland.

Bill White, managing director of LucidTalk said it was likely more unionists wanted a border poll at the "height" of the Scottish referendum campaign to reaffirm Northern Ireland's position within the Union. 

Detailed analysis of the latest poll show that an overwhelmingly 69.5% of Protestants taking the survey were against a border poll. While 73% of Catholics were for a vote.

And - excluding the 'don't knows' - if there was a border poll, 68% of respondents said they would vote to remain in the UK with 31% voting for a united Ireland.

More:

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The polling company also asked if the EU referendum was run again, what way would people vote. The September poll showed that only 1% would change their minds to remain in the event of a second vote.

It also asked what people thought of Northern Ireland's future after the UK leaves the EU.

Over half (55%) of respondents said they thought the future of Northern Ireland would be "not very positive" or "very bad", which corresponds exactly to those who voted to remain in the June referendum in the country.

On their own future and that of their families, 40% said they felt 'very good' or 'fairly good'.

The change in those now not wanting a border poll is being seen as factor of the June EU referendum result to leave and also the 2014 Scottish referendum campaign when the last survey was conducted on the question of a border poll.

On the matter of how people would vote in a border poll, the 27% voting for a united Ireland is a slight increase. In a 2013 poll 3.8% said they would vote for a united Ireland immediately with 22% wanting it in 20 years' time.

Mr White added: "This result is in line with previous polls and indeed other polls carried out by other poll companies.

"It does show the slow steady growth of support for a united Ireland - at 28% this is up a few percentage points compared to our previous polling on this issue back in 2013."

**Polliing was carried out between the 60 Hours from 11am September 21 to 11pm on September 23 2016.

The project targeted the established Northern Ireland (NI) LucidTalk Opinion Panel (3,041 members) which is balanced by gender, age-group, area of residence, and community background, in order to be demographically representative of Northern Ireland. 1,582 full responses were received, and a data auditing process was carried out to ensure all completed poll-surveys were genuine 'one-person, one-vote' responses, and also to collate a robust and accurate balanced NI representative sample. This resulted in 1,080 responses being considered in terms of the final results - the results presented in this report.

All data results have been weighted by gender and community background to reflect the demographic composition of Northern Ireland resulting in 1,080 responses being considered in terms of the final results. All data results produced are accurate to a margin of error of +/-3.0%, at 95% confidence.

LucidTalk is a member of all recognised professional Polling and Market Research organisations, including the UK Market Research Society (UK-MRS), the British Polling Council (BPC), and ESOMAR (European Society of Market Research organisations).

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