Northern Ireland would remain in the UK if unity referendum was held today, survey finds

Northern Ireland would remain in the UK if unity referendum was held today, survey finds

NORTHERN IRELAND would vote to remain within the UK if a border poll was held today, a new survey has found.

A special documentary, Spotlight: A Contested Centenary was aired last night by BBC NI to mark the upcoming centenary of the creation of Northern Ireland, which looked at the past, present and future of the six northern counties.

As part of the show, political leaders across Northern Ireland and beyond were interviewed as to their views on the future of the north, and both Boris Johnson and Micheál Martin said they do not expect a poll on Irish unity for some time.

Boris Johnson described himself as "a proud unionist" who would be celebrating the centenary of Northern Ireland, adding he doesn't envision a unity referendum for "a very, very long time to come".

Taoiseach Micheál Martin agreed that a border poll in the near future would be "very explosive and divisive" and said that, for now, the focus should be on creating a shared island where everyone's voices can be heard.

A cross-border poll commissioned by BBC NI for the programme, carried out by LucidTalks in the north and Ireland Thinks in the Republic, revealed that public opinion appeared to agree with these sentiments.

The poll surveyed 2,845 people in Northern Ireland and 1,088 in the Republic between 5 - 9 April, and asked if Northern Ireland should remain in the UK today.

Of those surveyed in Northern Ireland, 49% said they would choose to remain with the UK if a referendum was held today while 43% said they would choose to leave; 8% were unsure.

When asked in the Republic if Northern Ireland should remain in the UK today, 27% agreed they should remain with the UK, 51% said they should leave and 22% didn't know.

This means that, should the unity referendum be held today, Northern Ireland would choose to remain part of the United Kingdom.

According to Mark Devenport, who hosted last night's programme, polling shows that 50% of people under the age of 45 in Northern Ireland would like to see a United Ireland, compared to 43% who wish it to remain within the UK.

When asked 'Will Northern Ireland be part of the UK in 10 years?', those in the north replied: 55% Yes, 32% No, and 13% Don't know.

When asked the same question in the Republic, 59% said Yes, 26% said No and 15% didn't know.

However, when asked if Northern Ireland would still be a part of the UK in 25 years the results changed: in Northern Ireland, 37% said Yes, 51% said No and 12% said Don't know.

In the Republic, 26% said Yes, 54% said No and 20% didn't know-- meaning a majority of people on both sides of the border believe the six counties will no longer be part of the UK by the year 2046.

You can watch the documentary in full on the BBC iPlayer here.