Just one in three people in Britain hopes Northern Ireland would vote to remain in UK

Posted By: April 03, 2019

Just one in three people in Britain hopes Northern Ireland would vote to remain in UKJust one in three people in Britain hopes Northern Ireland would vote to remain in the UK

A new poll also finds that a similar number of British people think Brexit makes a united Ireland more likely in the next ten years

Gerry Moriarty. Irish Times. Dublin. Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Just over one in three people in Britain hope that Northern Ireland remains in the United Kingdom, according to a new poll.

The research by Ipsos MORI for King’s College London found that more Leave than Remain voters would want the North to stay in the Union. It also found that almost one in three voters think Brexit makes it more likely that there will be a united Ireland in the next decade.

The survey conducted online in February with 1,084 adults aged 16-75 across Britain, asked how people would prefer Northern Ireland to vote if it were to hold a referendum on its future.

Only 36 percent said they would like Northern Ireland to choose to stay in the United Kingdom while 18 percent preferred it leaving and joining up with the Republic. A further 36 percent said they did not mind either way while 9 percent did not have an opinion.

A 2014 Populus poll that asked how people hoped Scotland would vote in its independence referendum found 54 percent wanted Scotland to vote to remain part of the UK while 17 percent hoped it would vote for independence and 29 percent said they had no strong view.

‘Never been there’

Commenting on the poll Roger Mortimore, professor of public opinion and political analysis at King’s College London, said: “When Scotland voted on whether to become independent in 2014, there was a clear majority among the public in the rest of the UK that hoped it would choose to stay.

“But many fewer Britons, it seems, would mind if Northern Ireland decided to leave the union. Most have never been there, and most have no clear view on how it will be affected by Brexit.”

British Conservative party supporters (51 percent) were most likely to hope that Northern Ireland would vote to remain in the UK, compared to 35 percent of Labour supporters and 31 percent of Liberal Democrats.

The poll found that those who voted for Britain to Remain in the EU in the 2016 referendum were more likely (23 percent) to want Northern Ireland to leave the UK and join the Republic than are those who voted Leave (15 percent).

The research also found that 32 percent think that Brexit will make it more likely that the North and Republic unite over the next 10 years, with 6 percent thinking it makes it less likely. A majority think it will make no difference or do not know.

Close to two in five (39 percent) predict Brexit will have a negative effect on the Northern Irish economy over the next 10 years or so with 33 percent forecasting a similar impact on the Republic’s economy. Close to one in three (31 percent) fear that Brexit risks triggering a new wave of terrorism in the North.