New survey shows local voters would want to stay in UK – but ‘undecideds’ could swing it

A NEW survey has suggested that if a border poll was held tomorrow it would likely fail, with more people saying they want to remain in the UK than leave.

However, with over 10 percent of those surveyed stating they had still to make up their minds, the result could go either way.

The survey, carried out Lord Ashcroft Polls, asked over 3,300 voters their views on a potential border poll. The results were that 49 percent would vote to stay in the UK, 41 percent would choose a united Ireland, while ten percent were undecided.


Businessman and politician Lord Ashcroft, who carried out the poll, said: “Two years ago, my polling found a wafer-thin majority among Northern Ireland’s voters for unification with the Republic.

“My latest research shows a clear swing back towards remaining in the United Kingdom – an echo of the fall in support in recent months for Scottish independence. But as I also found in my survey of over 3,000 voters and focus group discussions throughout the province, it is the nationalists who feel things are heading their way.”

As well as the ten percent of those as yet undecided, more than a quarter of those surveyed, 27 percent, said they could change their minds on how to vote, with 16 percent stating they had already changed their mind more than once.

The survey also asked voters what issues mattered to them when it came to making up their minds, beyond the constitutional question.

“Voters as a whole were more likely to think that food and energy prices, housing costs, tax rates and unemployment (but also business investment) would be higher in a united Ireland than that they would be lower,” said Lord Ashcroft. “Public spending and welfare benefits were thought more likely to be lower than higher.”

“By a small margin, voters thought equality and ‘parity of esteem’ for different communities would be better in a united Ireland rather than worse – though 78% of unionists thought the opposite. Overall, more thought the standard of living for most people was more likely to be worse in a united Ireland than better.

“In focus group discussions it was clear that these considerations weighed heavily with many voters. Those who liked the idea of Irish unity in principle often mentioned the cost of living and healthcare charges as balancing factors.”


The Lord Ashcroft poll comes not long after a similar survey by the Irish Times showed a large majority of voters in the South would be in favour of a united Ireland, but were opposed to a the creation of a new national flag and anthem.

Southern voters would also be against higher taxes and cuts to public spending to facilitate unification.

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