Belfast Telegraph

Suzanne Breen: Most Brexiteers stay the course... despite gloomy predictions

Suzanne Breen

By Suzanne Breen

The conventional wisdom is that a significant chunk of those who voted for Brexit in the 2016 referendum here regret it, given the predicted catastrophic effects on Northern Ireland.

The findings of a Belfast Telegraph survey don't support that impression. They show a change of heart among some Leave voters, but not as many as would be expected.

Eighty percent who voted for Brexit would do so again with 15% switching to Remain, according to the survey.

A total of 95% of those who voted to stay in the EU would vote the same way a second time with 3% changing their minds. Support for Remain was very strong among 25-34 year-olds at 72%.

This wasn't a scientific survey with a weighted sample. A total of 57% of the 3,882 people taking part voted Remain and 35% Leave in the 2016 referendum whereas the actual election result here was 52% to 48%.

Among respondents, Alliance voters were hugely over-represented. DUP voters were under-represented in the sample and Sinn Fein supporters particularly so.

Half of those questioned praised the contribution of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to the Brexit debate with 41% finding it unhelpful.

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Sinn Fein supporters were most likely to describe it as helpful (87%) followed by SDLP (80%) and Alliance (70%) voters.

SDLP supporters were the most enthusiastic about wanting a returning to power-sharing at Stormont (90%) followed by Alliance (89%) and Ulster Unionist (82%) voters. A total of 78% of Sinn Fein and 73% of DUP supporters also wanted devolution restored but only 33% of TUV voters did.

Support for reintroducing direct rule was 60% among unionists, 10% among nationalists and 30% among those who didn't identify as either.

Almost two-thirds of Leave voters wanted direct rule compared to just over a fifth of Remainers.

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