DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said new polls suggesting a majority in Northern Ireland would vote to remain part of the UK in a border poll showed clear support for his party’s stance against introduction of the NI protocol.
he polls for the Irish Times found that twice as many people from Northern Ireland would be more likely to vote to stay in the UK than to vote for a united Ireland.
But it also showed that there is a majority of more than four to one for unity in the republic.
The results are included in duplicate opinion polls conducted on both sides of the border for a new research project into North-South relations and political views on the island’s future.
The two polls were conducted in August and September among more than 1,000 voters, with half of all respondents in Northern Ireland saying they would vote against unity, including 21% from a Catholic background.
“A strong majority in Northern Ireland supports the Union,” said the DUP leader.
“That is why the DUP, together with our union colleagues, is strongly opposed to the protocol of subjugation of the union. We won’t let ourselves be pushed into retreat. The Government knows the future of the UK is at stake.”
Just 26% of respondents in Northern Ireland said they would vote for unity, with 19% saying they didn’t know how to vote and 5% saying they would not vote.
But UUP representative Phillip Smith said the poll numbers were “despite the DUP tactics, not because of them”.
“Can the DUP think strategically for once and not just about the next election? It’s about what’s popular in five or ten years,” he said.
“Despite what Northern Ireland’s critics say, there is still a great opportunity to solidify the Union by making NI work and appealing outside the grassroots. Winning the 20% ties is key. That requires strategy rather than tactics.”
TÜV welcomed the poll result, saying it was further evidence that any border poll would be much more than just the “sectarian heat count” some were predicting.
“This poll underscores the reality that those trying to reduce Northern Ireland politics to a sectarian head count will be disappointed when it comes to a border poll,” the party said.
“When push comes to shove, people value their NHS free at point of use and have no interest in paying £45-60. They value their personal tax allowance. And they appreciate the ties that hold the UK together.”
But supporters of a single election have said that if unionists are confident of victory, they should not be afraid to hold a referendum now. In response to the union parties, Sinn Fein councilor JJ Magee said: “Now that you are confident of winning a border poll, will you join me in calling for a referendum now?”
The polls showed that 78% of Protestant respondents in Northern Ireland were against unity, while 66% of those in the Republic said they would vote for unity, while only 16% were against and 13% “don’t know”.
However, majorities on both sides of the border were in favor of a unity referendum.
https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/politics/unity-polls-show-we-are-correct-not-to-back-down-over-protocol-says-dup-leader-42194737.html Unity polls show we are correct not to back down over protocol, says DUP leader