A large majority of voters favour a united Ireland in the long term, but just 20 per cent describe it as “very important” and a “priority”, the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll has found.
By contrast, 52 per cent of people say a united Ireland is “not very important” to them, but they “would like to see it someday”.
The poll results suggest that support for Irish unity is broad – 62 per cent say they would vote in favour, with just 16 per cent opposed and 13 per cent saying they don’t know. Eight per cent say they would not vote.
But when asked about the timeline for a referendum on unity, just 15 per cent of voters said they wanted to see it now, while 13 per cent said “never” and 16 per cent responded that they would like to see a vote more than 10 years into the future.
The most popular timeline for a referendum – nominated by 42 per cent of respondents – was for a vote to take place “in the next 10 years”.
Voters were also asked how important a united Ireland was to them. Just a fifth (20 per cent) agreed it was “very important, it is a priority for me”. Almost a quarter (24 per cent) said it was “not at all important”.
By far the most popular response was “not very important but I would like to see it someday” which was chosen by 52 per cent of all respondents.
Sinn Féin supporters
Despite the party’s commitment to Irish unity, this view is also the most popular among Sinn Féin supporters, with just under half (47 per cent) of those who say they will vote for the party agreeing with it. Thirty-six per cent of Sinn Féin supporters describe a united Ireland as “very important”.
It comes as Sinn Féin stretched its lead over Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil in the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI opinion poll, which saw the party’s popularity rise to a record level.
Support for Mary Lou McDonald’s party rose by three points to 35 per cent since the last poll in October, putting it 15 points ahead of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, with both at 20 per cent.
It is by far the best poll result for Sinn Féin, and its biggest lead over its rivals, in the entire Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI series. The party’s support has grown by 10 percentage points since the last election.
Fianna Fáil has been steady at 20 per cent in the last three polls, while support for Fine Gael has fallen in every Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll for over a year now, from 37 per cent in June of last year to 20 per cent now.
The poll was conducted among 1,200 adults at 120 sampling points across all constituencies on December 5th-8th. Respondents were interviewed at their own homes. The accuracy is estimated at plus or minus 2.8 per cent.