An opinion poll carried out in the east of Northern Ireland shows that only 15% of voters believe the parties they supported have performed well since the last election.
It also showed that nearly eight out of 10 people would accept a 2% cut in public spending to pay the estimated £400m a year cost to our block grant of cutting corporation tax.
The poll, commissioned by the Conservative Party, involved telephone interviews with 12,000 people in an area covering Belfast, Lisburn, Mourne, Bangor/Holywood, Newtownards/Ballynahinch and Larne/Ballyclare.
The poll showed that 76% of voters in the area covered would consider voting Conservative or Labour if they had the chance. Opinion was fairly evenly spread between Protestants (78%) and Catholics (79%), but those outside the two main faith groups were less enthusiastic (68%).
Of those expressing an opinion nearly three-quarters (73%) wanted selection “at key stages” in the education system with 43% saying that it should take place at age 11 and the rest at age 14.
For Catholics, the figures were 42% and 27%. Despite opposition to selection by the Catholic Church, the SDLP and Sinn Fein, only 26% of Catholics favoured a comprehensive education system, slightly higher than the propor
tion of Protestants — 19%. Shared education was popular. Over half (53%) supported “integrated education for schools to share resources” with the idea more popular among Catholics (60%) than Protestants (50%).
The Catholic Church is opposed to a fully integrated system and wants to retain its own schools but favours sharing between schools, so it is hard to tell from the question whether most parishioners supported the Catholic Church’s approach or not.
Disappointingly for the Tories and Labour, only 9% wanted UK parties to contest elections here in their own right. However, 78% would like local parties to have either direct or loose links to UK parties.
- 15% of people who voted in 2011 rated their chosen party’s performance as good or excellent. For Protestants it was 8%
- 56% support academic selection in education
- 78% want local parties to link up with UK parties
- 38% of both Protestants and Catholics think that new political parties would help improve politics here