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What nationality do people in Northern Ireland think they are?

Published 10/11/2015

'Northern Irish' has become a more popular definition
'Northern Irish' has become a more popular definition

We all know there's a difference of opinion in Northern Ireland regarding what nationality people consider themselves to be.

The options we would normally give in a poll question about this issue, would be British, Irish, or Other.

However recently 'Northern Irish' has become a more popular definition as to how people consider their nationality. Not only that, but some people like to call themselves 'British and Northern Irish', and 'Irish and Northern Irish', though these terms are stretching it a bit.

However, we thought we would include all these options for our nationality poll question in our recent BIG60 online poll:  'What Nationality are you, or what national group do you consider yourself belonging to'? You may have seen in previous reviews of our NI-Wide BIG60 (i.e. 60 Hours) online poll that we received a whopping 2,642 responses, and after data auditing we considered 2,517 in terms of the final results and analysis.

So what nationality do NI people consider themselves to be - here are the results from the total poll, balanced and weighted to be reflective of Northern Ireland as a whole:

FusionCharts (93).jpg  

Not surprisingly the results are pretty well spread, but it's noticeable that 'British and Northern Irish' is in the lead on 34.8%. 'British and Northern Irish' combined with 'British only' comes in at around 56%, with 'Irish and Northern Irish' combined with 'Irish only' coming in at around 26%. This approximately matches the current British and Irish national identity split, in NI, and also matches our polling regarding the border and support/non-support for a United Ireland. 

Here is what Unionist voters think about their own nationality:

FusionCharts (95).jpg  

This is a key result - A majority of Unionist voters 51.1%, when given the choice between 'British only' and 'British and Northern Irish' choose the latter. This may indicate that Unionists are perhaps getting the devolution mood more and more, or are perhaps increasingly distancing themselves from the pure 'British' brand?

Here is what NI nationalists/republicans (i.e. Sinn Fein and SDLP voters) think about their nationality: 

FusionCharts (94).jpg  

Not surprisingly the vast majority of NI nationalists/republicans consider themselves 'Irish' or 'Irish and Northern Irish'. However, it's noticeable that the pattern is the reverse of the Unionists in that the majority go for the 'Irish' only option, rather than 'Irish and Northern Irish'. However, 'Irish and Northern Irish' is still sizable at 28.3%.

Here is what NI Alliance Party and 'Others' think about their nationality:

FusionCharts (96).jpg  

No real surprises here with 'Northern Irish' and 'British and Northern Irish' making up nearly 60% of the total. This probably reflects that most of the Alliance party and Green party support comes from the East of NI were most of the Unionist support also resides. 

So some interesting patterns. Maybe there is a growing NI nationality emerging?   

Bill White is Managing Director of Belfast polling and market research company LucidTalk. You can follow LucidTalk on Twitter: @LucidTalk.

 

Methodology

Polling was carried out by Belfast based polling and market research company LucidTalk. The project was carried out online for a period of 60Hours from 10am Monday 19th October to 10pm Wednesday 21st October 2015. The project used a combination of participants from the established LucidTalk Opinion Panel (1,200 members) which is NI demographically representative and balanced by gender, age-group, area of residence, and community background. In addition respondents for this survey were also selected from among those who were either invited or volunteered to participate. In total 2,642 completed responses were received and after data auditing 2,517 completed responses were included in the data and results analysis. The data has been weighted by gender and community background to reflect the demographic composition of Northern Ireland. Because the sample is partly based on those who initially self-selected for participation rather than a probability sample, sampling error can be higher than a standard targeted sample poll.

In addition, all surveys and polls may be subject to sources of error, including, but not limited to sampling error, coverage error, and measurement error. All data results produced are accurate to a margin of error of +/-3.9%, at 95% confidence. All reported margins of sampling error will include the computed design effects for weighting.

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). The BPC are the primary UK professional body ensuring professional Polling and Market Research standards. All polling, research, sampling, methodologies used, market research projects and results and reports production are carried out to the professional standards laid down by the BPC.

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