Majority believe NI will leave UK within 25 years

The results of the new poll highlight the views of people both sides of the Irish border as Northern Ireland prepares to mark the centenary of its foundation
Majority believe NI will leave UK within 25 years

There was strong support for a united Ireland south of the border, with 51% for and just 27% against the prospect. 

A majority of people in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland believe Northern Ireland will have left the UK within 25 years.

However, if a border poll took place today, 49% of people in NI would vote to remain in the UK, while 43% would back a United Ireland. Some 8% were undecided.

The results of the new poll, commissioned by BBC NI's Spotlight programme, highlight the views of people both sides of the Irish border as Northern Ireland prepares to mark the centenary of its foundation.

The Lucid Talk poll was conducted in Northern Ireland over April 5 to 7 and had a sample size of 2,845 and a 2.5% margin of error.

A parallel poll took place south of the border by Lucid Talk/Ireland Thinks with a sample size of 1,008 with a 2.5% margin of error.

There was strong support for a united Ireland south of the border, with 51% for and just 27% against the prospect. 

A separate poll commissioned by European Movement Ireland and carried out during the week beginning 19 March found a majority of Irish people do not believe a united Ireland will be achieved within ten years.

The poll, which had a sample size of 1,000, found that 43% disagreed with the statement that there would be a united Ireland within ten years, while 32% agreed. A quarter of those polled said they were unsure.

Northern Ireland Protocol

The poll also asked people for their views on the Northern Ireland Protocol which governs post-Brexit trading arrangements between the North and the rest of the UK.

In Northern Ireland, people's views were split. Some 48% want the Protocol scrapped while 46% believe it should be retained.

In the Republic, those surveyed were overwhelmingly in favour of the Protocol with just 10% saying it should be scrapped.

In an interview with BBC NI’s Spotlight programme, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said his government was currently working on “sandpapering” the Protocol to address some of the issues.

Mr Johnson said he did not envision a border poll for a very, very long time to come."

Long term future 

Pollsters also asked people on both sides of the border about the future of Northern Ireland and its place in the UK.

In Northern Ireland, a majority of people (55%) feel they will still be part of the UK in the next ten years, with a third (32%) believing a united Ireland would be achieved by then.

Asked the same question, those in the Republic felt similarly, with 59% stating they believe Northern Ireland will be a part of the UK in 10 years while just 26% believe a united Ireland would be achieved in a decade’s time.

However, when asked whether they believed they will be a part of the UK in 25 years time, just 37% said they believe it will be.

The PSNI use a water cannon on youths on the Springfield road, during unrest in Belfast. 
The PSNI use a water cannon on youths on the Springfield road, during unrest in Belfast. 

In the Republic, only 26% believe Northern Ireland will still be part of the UK in 25 years.

The poll, which took place at a time in which violence had returned to parts of the North, also asked whether people believed violence could return to the region.

In Northern Ireland, 76% said yes. In the Republic, 87% feared a potential return to conflict.

Marking the centenary 

The survey also asked people if they believed the formation of Northern Ireland 100 years ago is an achievement that should be celebrated this year.

In the North, 40% believe it is an achievement and should be celebrated.

In the Republic, celebrating the formation of Northern Ireland was extremely unpopular with just 12% agreeing with the proposition.

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Commemorating 100 years since the War of Independence