Brexit would boost support for united Ireland, poll finds
If UK left EU, 52% in North would vote for unity, survey of 1,200 people reveals
In the event of Brexit with a hard Border, 56 per cent in the North said they would vote for unity. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA
The poll carried out for Our Future Our Choice, a campaign group of young people calling for a “people’s vote” on the final Brexit deal, found that 52 per cent of people in Northern Ireland would vote for a united Ireland if the United Kingdom quits the EU.
The online poll of 1,199 people from Northern Ireland was conducted by Deltapoll between August 27th and August 30th.
One of the questions posed was this: “Imagine now that the UK decided to leave the EU. Under these circumstances how would you vote in a referendum on the constitutional arrangements of the island of Ireland?”
More than half – 52 per cent – said they would vote for a united Ireland, while 39 per cent said they would vote for Northern Ireland to remain part of the UK.
The poll also found that more would vote for a united Ireland in the event of a hard Border. In such circumstances, 56 per cent said they would vote for unity in a Border poll while 40 per cent responded they would vote to remain in the UK.
A total of 94 per cent of those surveyed from a “nationalist heritage” said they would vote for unity in the event of Brexit. However, that nationalist figure dropped to 73 per cent if the UK did not leave the EU.
Among people who described themselves as neither from a nationalist nor a unionist heritage support for a united Ireland dropped from 59 per cent to 23 per cent if the UK stayed in the EU.
“This result confirms what everybody already knows in their heart, that if we leave the EU, people will vote for a united Ireland,” said Doire Finn (23), a spokeswoman for Our Future Our Choice Northern Ireland.
“Arlene Foster and the DUP’s stance on Brexit has advanced the nationalist cause further than 40 years of IRA violence ever managed,” she added.
“But her supporters have a chance to defend unionism by calling for the DUP leadership to support a people’s vote on the final Brexit deal,” said Ms Finn.
The campaign group held a similar poll in Scotland of 1,022 respondents. There 47 per cent said they would vote for Scottish independence in a future referendum if the UK left the EU as planned while 43 per cent said they would vote to stay in the UK. But if Brexit was stopped, 47 per cent said they would vote for Scotland to stay in the UK and 43 per cent said they would vote for independence.