Just under half of people want Northern Ireland to remain part of the UK, according to a new poll.
The LucidTalk poll for the Sunday Times and the Belfast Telegraph found that 48 per cent of respondents wanted the union to remain intact.
It also showed that 41 per cent wanted Northern Ireland to join the Republic, while 11 per cent said they were undecided.
The score for the rest of the UK fell by just one percentage point when the same question was asked this time last year.
But unity with the Republic bordered on a slim majority when respondents were asked if they want a united Ireland either now or in the next five to 15 years.
It found that 42 percent said they would and another 10 percent said they would or could support the association over the next 15 to 20 years.
The pro-union result was 44 per cent, while the ‘tie’ or ‘no opinion’ result fell to just 4 per cent.
Support for the Union is highest in the oldest age group analysed, with 54 per cent backing it, while just 35 per cent of 18-24 year olds say they would vote to remain in the UK.
But for those in favor of cutting the ties, it was the youngest who took part in the poll where support for leaving the UK was highest, as 57 per cent of 18-24 year olds supported a united supported Ireland.
The same survey also showed that a growing number of young people now identify as Northern Irish and not just British or Irish.
Around 50 per cent of people aged 65 and over self-identified as British, compared to just 14 per cent of people aged 18 to 24.
It was 31 percent among 25 to 44 year olds and 61 percent among 45 to 64 year olds.
Overall, 37 per cent of respondents said they were British, compared to 30 per cent who considered themselves Irish and 18 per cent who said they were Northern Irish.
About 9 per cent said they were both British and Northern Irish and 3 per cent considered themselves Irish and Northern Irish.
In the poll, 36 percent of people also said they believe a border poll should take place within the next five years.
Another 29 percent said there should be a referendum, but not for the next five years, while 31 percent said there should never be such a vote, while 4 percent had no opinion or didn’t know.
Broken down by political affiliation, those with no party preference were the strongest supporters of the union, with 65 percent in favor, 24 percent against and 11 percent saying they didn’t know or were undecided.
Those who said they had voted for either Alliance, Green or others were asked about their position on the Union and 26 per cent said they would remain in the UK, 31 per cent preferred unity and 43 per cent said they knew not or not sure.
When it was put to SDLP voters, 71 per cent said they would vote for a united Ireland and 8 per cent supported remaining in the UK, but 21 per cent said they were undecided.
The preferences of the other parties have not been analyzed as the results are either near total support for the Union or a united Ireland.
But Michelle O’Neill, the leader of Sinn Féin in the north, said during the National Assembly campaign that she doesn’t think most people wake up in the morning thinking about a referendum.
When a number of polls of Northern Ireland’s constitutional position were averaged, the pro-union result was 48 per cent, the UK response was 37 per cent and the ‘don’t know/not sure’ result was 15 per cent.
The LucidTalk survey was conducted between August 12th and 15th with 3,235 respondents.
https://www.independent.ie/news/fewer-than-half-of-people-surveyed-support-northern-ireland-remaining-part-of-the-united-kingdom-41926482.html Less than half of respondents support Northern Ireland remaining in the UK