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From http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/politics/the-border-vote-a-trend-stretching-back-44-years-16172970.html :



The poll's results on voting and the border are convincing.

This trend they illustrate goes at least as far back as Richard Rose’s surveys of political opinion in Northern Ireland in 1968. Since then it has been clear that a substantial chunk of the Catholic population do not actually want a united Ireland.

It has been of the order of 20% to 40% in the past and it has varied with circumstances.

People wonder why, if this is true, 80%-90% of Catholics who vote are voting for parties who favour a united Ireland.

I believe that it is about the politics of communal representation rather than Irish unity.

People want to vote for politicians who share their background and instincts and the party's position on the border is less of an issue.

Historically, pro-Union Catholics have been repelled by the trappings of political unionism like the Orange Order and do not feel inclined to vote for parties that are obsessed with them.

This poll does show that there is, as there has always been, cross-community voting.

Dr Nicholas Whyte runs the NI Election website

[A bit shorter than I would have liked, but 250 words is a pretty tough limit.]

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
steepholm
Jun. 16th, 2012 09:09 am (UTC)
That's very interesting - thanks!
alexmc
Jun. 16th, 2012 09:48 am (UTC)
I was a bit annoyed at the emphasis on a trend - but no data at all to back that up. We only got to see the current figures.

It is still interesting though and thanks for writing it.
nwhyte
Jun. 16th, 2012 11:26 am (UTC)
Indeed, "trend" is entirely the wrong word; an object lesson in the consequences of hasty composition.
del_c
Jun. 16th, 2012 06:41 pm (UTC)
I noticed the same thing, and also that the text talked about opinions re the border compared to voting behaviour, but the chart showed opinions re the border compared to religious affiliation, forcing the reader to assume near 100% correlation between voting behaviour and religious affiliation. Unnecessarily so, as far as I can tell, since the polling org does appear to have gathered information on voter intentions, although they don't make it easy to find.

At the least, a brief line such as "voting across the divide was tentative, with 7% of Catholic voters willing to back the DUP and 3% of Protestant voters for Sinn Féin" would have set the scene (statement pulled from the pollster's site). I do accept that words were limited, and the newspaper's readers know these things.

Furthermore, and Cato-like, I believe that multiple 3D pie charts should be destroyed.
andrewducker
Jun. 16th, 2012 01:18 pm (UTC)
If there was a referendum on it tomorrow, are there any counties in NI which would decide to join The Republic?
nwhyte
Jun. 16th, 2012 01:26 pm (UTC)
Impossible to tell. Most likely Fermanagh, Tyrone, Armagh; but of course the vote is not tallied by the ancient county boundaries anyway.
andrewducker
Jun. 16th, 2012 01:39 pm (UTC)
Interesting. I was mostly intrigued as to whether opinion had shifted in some of the areas.

If there was a referendum, are people proposing that it would be all or nothing for the whole of NI, or would areas be able to decide to switch sides? Or are the specifics of any poll vague at this point?
nwhyte
Jun. 17th, 2012 03:51 pm (UTC)
Under Section 1 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (and indeed earlier enactments) it is a single vote for the whole of NI. "County option" was actually proposed by the British government in 1914 but got lost in other pressing business of the time. It was again proposed by Asquith in 1920 and Sinn Fein in 1921 but did not get anywhere.

Plebiscites offering local choices on questions like this have a very poor reputation historically.
andrewducker
Jun. 17th, 2012 06:50 pm (UTC)
I can definitely see it causing problems, managing things locally.

I've heard people from the North of England talking about Scottish Independence from a "Can we come too?" point of view - another question which would be...interesting to find solutions to.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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