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Institute of Irish Studies Tracker & Attitudes Survey

The 3rd of 4 tracker and attitudes surveys has been delivered by the Institute of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool in association with the Irish News.

The panel survey was conducted between 11th and 26th March and was undertaken by SMR. The 3 groups unionist, nationalist and neither unionist or nationalist were of near equal size. There were 1000 respondents with and estimated margin of error of 3.1%. 

Main findings

The main findings include:

  • Sinn Fein remain set to be the largest party although the DUP are up slightly since February.
  • Two-thirds of nationalists believe that if ‘devolved politics worked better people would focus less on the constitutional question’.
  • 30% would vote for a united Ireland tomorrow which only rises to 33.4% regarding voting in 10-15 years.
  • Only a quarter would vote for a united Ireland if it meant paying higher taxes or for healthcare.
  • A quarter of Sinn Fein voters and nearly 30% of SDLP voters agreed that they would not vote if taxes were higher, and healthcare had to be paid for.
  • The majority wish for Assembly reform, especially regarding the designation unionist, nationalist and neither. Less than 10% disagreed that ‘if a policy is supported by 60% of all MLAs, that should be enough to demonstrate cross-community support in the Assembly’.
  • Nearly 80% agree that MLAs should not be paid if the Assembly does not return post-election.
  • Contrary to opinion the majority in each community believe that ‘Executive parties should jointly seek mitigations and easements from the EU regarding the Protocol’.
  • Half as many unionists (53.4% to 27.7%), nationalists (62.3% to 34.2%) and neithers (46.5% to 23.2%) agreed that the O’Neill, Foster and Givan delivered for society compared to Paisley, McGuinness and Robinson.
  • Fewer than half as many unionists (55.5% to 23.2%), nationalists (63.6% to 31.3%) and neithers (46.2% to 18.8%) agreed that O’Neill, Foster and Givan delivered reconciliation compared to Paisley, McGuinness and Robinson.
  • 14.4% of unionists will transfer to DUP.
  • 11.3% of nationalists will transfer to Sinn Fein.
  • A mere 1.1% and 3.5% of neithers would transfer to the DUP and Sinn Fein respectively.

In sum, Sinn Fein are on course to be the largest party. The share for parties other than DUP and Sinn Fein has generally grown and should lead to the two largest parties losing some seats or at least not gaining.

Overall, a younger generation is slowly moving away from constitutional parties.

Full survey

Download the full Institute of Irish Studies Irish News Poll March 2022

Read the Irish News article here.

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