By Faha

Lord Ashcroft this week released an lgd-20111 (1)Brexit-The-Border-and-The-Union-Lord-Ashcroft-Polls-June-2018 on Brexit, the Border and the Union. 1,666 Northern Ireland voters were polled online from May 24th to May 28th. 3,294 voters in England, Scotland and Wales were polled May 29th to May 31st. 1,500 voters were polled in the Republic of Ireland from May 31st to June 5th.Clock ticking

There was one key question asked of the Northern Ireland voters:

“If there were a Referendum on Irish unification tomorrow, how would you vote?”

49% for Northern Ireland to Stay in the UK

44% for Northern Ireland to Leave the UK and join the Republic of Ireland

7% Don’t Know

The breakdown by religion was:

Catholic

5% for Northern Ireland to Stay in the UK

90% for Northern Ireland to Leave the UK and join the Republic of Ireland

5% Don’t Know

Protestant

86% for Northern Ireland to Stay in the UK

7% for Northern Ireland to Leave the UK and join the Republic of Ireland

7% Don’t Know

No Religion

40% for Northern Ireland to Stay in the UK

48% for Northern Ireland to Leave the UK and join the Republic of Ireland

12% Don’t Know

The breakdown by political party was

Sinn Fein

0% for Northern Ireland to Stay in the UK

98% for Northern Ireland to Leave the UK and join the Republic of Ireland

1% Don’t Know

SDLP

10% for Northern Ireland to Stay in the UK

78% for Northern Ireland to Leave the UK and join the Republic of Ireland

12% Don’t Know

Alliance

30% for Northern Ireland to Stay in the UK

42% for Northern Ireland to Leave the UK and join the Republic of Ireland

28% Don’t Know

UUP

90% for Northern Ireland to Stay in the UK

4% for Northern Ireland to Leave the UK and join the Republic of Ireland

5% Don’t Know

DUP

97% for Northern Ireland to Stay in the UK

1% for Northern Ireland to Leave the UK and join the Republic of Ireland

2% Don’t Know

The findings are almost identical to the Lucid Talk poll which was also conducted on exactly the same dates. The only main difference is that the Undecided are only 7% in the Lord Ashcroft poll versus 12.7% in the Lucid Talk poll. The lower Undecided resulted in an increase from 42% to 44% in those in favour of a United Ireland but it also increased support for staying in the UK from 45% to 49%. Another difference is that Lucid Talk had a slight plurality of those with No Religion who wished to stay in the UK whereas this group has a plurality for a United Ireland in the Lord Ashcroft poll.

The political party preferences are not surprising. It was noted in the focus groups that most Protestant Alliance voters preferred to stay in the UK or were Undecided so the support for a United Ireland among Alliance voters is mainly from their Catholic and No Religion voters.

For Republic of Ireland voters, 9% were not in favour of a United Ireland. 35% would like to see a United Ireland in the next few years. 56% were in favour of a United Ireland but believed it would not be practical or affordable in the next few years. Also 80% of voters would vote to Remain in the EU and 16% would vote to Leave if a Referendum on EU membership was held.

Voters in England, Scotland and Wales had the following views:

28% Northern Ireland should remain part of the UK

57% No opinion or it is up to the people of Northern Ireland to decide

8% Northern Ireland should no longer be a part of the UK.

The Lord Ashcroft poll had an over response from Catholic and No Religion voters as well as Alliance voters. They adjusted their sample to reflect their view of the demographics of Northern Ireland. However, their adjustment resulted in an over representation of Protestant voters. The percentage of Protestant voters was more than 10% higher than that of Catholic voters. The 2011 census showed only a 7% gap and in 2018 that is now only 5%. The 2017 Assembly election confirmed that it is only a 5% gap since the unionist vote was only 3.5% higher than the nationalist vote. Thus, if their weighting reflected the actual demographics of Northern Ireland the Remain in the UK vote would be 46% and the Leave the UK vote 47%.

As with the Lucid Talk poll it is possible to predict the outcome of a Border Poll based on the religion preferences in this poll and extrapolated to the 2019 demographics of Northern Ireland.

In 2019 the voting age demographics of the 16+ age groups among native voters will be:

Catholic             640,000

Protestant         683,000

Other/None         53,000

Based on the Lord Ashcroft poll preferences the vote would be with a 100% turnout.

United Ireland

Catholic              576,000

Protestant            47,810

Other/None         25,440

Total                    649,250

Remain in the UK

Catholic                 32,000

Protestant           587,380

Other/None          21,200

Total                     640,580

Undecided            86,170

With a 100% turnout of native voters there is a slight edge of 8,670 for a United Ireland (less than 1%). Clearly, the Undecided voters will decide the outcome.

There will also be 150,000 ethnic minority voters in 2019 of which 110,000 are from EU countries. Since support for remaining in the UK is near zero for these voters if they were to vote a United Ireland vote would win by 140,000. That would be a margin of 10%.

It is clear that the impending Brexit has resulted in a surge of support for a United Ireland. This is mainly from Catholics and those with No Religion but there has also been an increase in among Protestant voters.

By October of 2018, and certainly no later than December, the final nature of Brexit will be known.

 

Advertisements