Belfast Telegraph

How did your town vote in Belfast Telegraph united Ireland border poll?

  • Poll shows interest, but is nothing more than fun says leading pollster
  • Click through the images to see how your town voted

By Jonny Bell

While the results of the Belfast Telegraph's online border poll may have appeared startling with an overwhelming majority voting for reunification, a leading Northern Ireland pollster has warned that they need to be seen for what they are - just a bit of fun.

Following numerous calls from Irish political leaders for a border poll, we decided to ask the readers of our website if it was time for such a vote.

More: Get ready for united Ireland poll Taoiseach Enda Kenny tells EU leaders

And thousands took up the call from right across Northern Ireland and beyond.

Towns and cities from across Northern Ireland - from Belfast to Derry and Armagh to Dungannon took part. Thousands also took part from London, Dublin, Glasgow, Birmingham and Edinburgh.

And you can see how they voted by clicking through our gallery above.

At the last count 47,540 votes were cast with 74% saying there should be a border poll.

And on the second question of what way people would vote 70% opted for a united Ireland.

Interestingly not as many voted in favour of a united Ireland as want a border poll. Indicating possibly that some want the questioned settled rather than a change to the current set up.

However, not all who voted on the first question answered the second. Also, and due to a glitch, some mobile users were able to vote more than once.

Bill White is managing director of Belfast polling and market research company LucidTalk. Regularly his company conduct polls to gauge public feeling on matters of interest.

Over the past six years LucidTalk has built up a panel of 3,300 people who contribute to the organisation's surveys. Their answers are then whittled down to 1,075 responses in order to get a representative sample comparable to the Northern Ireland population.

Bill said: "Common sense would tell you a poll on the border would not be a 70/30 split - you don't need a pollster to tell you that.

"This is a selective poll in that people are asked to take part and they do. There is no way of knowing their background; their jobs, ages, or communities.

"Therefore it's not representative and given results were continually published then that galvanises people to continue to vote, or organise interested groups to skew the results in their favour.

"So you can't say much other than a lot of people voted and this is the way they voted."

He continued: "For our polls we use 1,075 responses as that number can then be extrapolated out to represent the Northern Ireland population.

"We go to great lengths to ensure that it is a cross section of the Northern Ireland population - particularly from working class groups as those are the type of people that are less likely to take part in these types of polls the Telegraph run.

"Also we have robust measures in place to ensure the same person can't vote twice - which appears not to be the case in this online poll.

"So we are accurately able to project public feeling, to a degree. We were 1% out on the European referendum polling.

"Whereas here you will have people that spend large parts of the day online and if you were able to know who they were they would probably be young, better off people from urban areas.

"You're not getting the core DUP vote here. And if there were a border you would expect them to be out in force.

"While polls such as this show the interest in the subject, many see them for what they are, just a bit of fun."

In September LucidTalk will be conducting a survey on a border poll.

"That will hopefully give the true story," added Bill.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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