Sunday 18 February 2018

Two-thirds would vote for a united Ireland - poll

Leo Varadkar. Photo: Tom Burke
Leo Varadkar. Photo: Tom Burke
John Downing

John Downing

Two out of three voters would back a united Ireland if a border poll was held.

That is among the findings of the latest political survey, published yesterday by bookmakers Paddy Power, which had commissioned pollsters Red C.

The survey also found that four out of 10 people believe that Taoiseach Enda Kenny should resign before the Budget is presented in October.

It showed Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar as most favoured (37pc) among all voters, irrespective of party allegiance, to succeed Mr Kenny.

In second place is the Housing Minister Simon Coveney, on 25pc, with Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald third on 12pc.

Overall, the poll brings some good news for the Government. Public confidence in it is up and more people now believe that it can last more than a year.

Even the significant number who think Mr Kenny should resign soon is down 10pc on a similar survey in early May.

The poll still puts Fianna Fáil - which is backing the minority hybrid Coalition from outside government - in top spot as the most popular party. It is almost neck and neck with Fine Gael, which is leading the Coalition.

Some 56pc have confidence in the Government - up 8pc from the last comparable survey in May; 63pc believe the Government can last for at least a year - a 9pc rise in the same period.

The published party rankings are: Fianna Fáil 28pc (down 1pc); Fine Gael 27pc (up 1pc); Sinn Féin 15pc (up 2pc); Independents 10pc (up 3pc); Labour 3pc (down 2pc); Independent Alliance is on 5pc and unchanged since it decided to participate in the Cabinet.

In the leader satisfaction ratings, Fianna Fáil's Micheál Martin jumps significantly by 13 points compared with last May, to 55pc. Mr Kenny sees a lesser increase in satisfaction, 7pc, putting him on 42pc.


Sinn Féin's leader Gerry Adams sees a slight 4pc increase to 28pc, but he is significantly behind both Mr Martin and Mr Kenny.

Labour's new leader Brendan Howlin is on 24pc but has had little time or chance to prove himself. Nevertheless, his ranking among Labour supporters is just 37pc.

The survey shows that 65pc would vote in favour of a united Ireland if a referendum was held tomorrow. A similar poll conducted by Red C in 2010 for the 'Sunday Times' showed support at 57pc, so there has been an 8pc increase in six years.

However, no questions were asked this time about higher taxation to fund reunification. This often throws up a different result, with lower support.

Support for unity is lower in Dublin at 56pc, but high across most regions and age groups, especially those aged 55-64 and with working-class voters.

Irish Independent

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