Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Watch Out! – Dodgy Survey Suggests “Most Northern Ireland Catholics want to remain in UK”

with 4 comments

Elizabethan Fun - Opinion Poll shows there are 12 million republicans in Great Britain

This Irish News headline caught my eye on the way to work this morning – “Most Catholics Want to Stay in the UK : Poll”.

A table on page 7 suggests a huge swing against a United Ireland among Catholics between the years 1998 and 2010 –

support for “staying part of the UK” rose from 19 to 52 per cent, while “Reunify with the Rest of Ireland” slumped from 49 per cent to 33 per cent.

Readers of this site know that we respect polls based on credible scientific research – how does this poll stand up?

Very badly is the blunt answer.

At times like this you look for journalists who respect facts (even if you dislike their politics).

Liam Clarke fits the bill.

His story appears in the Belfast Telegraph under a headline we will argue is very misleading :

Most Northern Ireland Catholics want to remain in UK

Clarke gives us two damning slices of information allowing all serious observers to dismiss this poll as a fairytale

The survey threw up some curious answers on voting intentions. It found that DUP support was 18%, well below the 38% the party secured in last month’s Assembly elections.

By contrast the UUP scored 16% in both the poll and the actual election. On the nationalist side the SDLP, on 17%, was comfortably ahead of Sinn Fein’s 11%. In the election the roles were reversed with Sinn Fein scoring 29% and the SDLP 14%.

These numbers are nonsense, pure and simple.
Compare the dodgy opinion poll numbers to figures from recent Prodestan election results :
The second main ground for doubting the survey figures is the last paragraph of Liam Clarke’s story :
Fieldwork for the 2010 survey was carried out between October 1, 2010 and December 18, 2010. 1,205 adults were interviewed.
In any reliable poll we have read, the fieldwork is carried out over a two or three-day period.  Perhaps a qualified statistical expert can explain this one!
Liam Clarke’s full story is here :
We noticed a long thread about all of this over on the Cedar Lounge –
Ten out of Ten to this Paddy M comment :
In the main story Garibaldi asked :
is this all nonsense based on a poorly done survey?
Our answer is Yes!
Did you know? :
A reliable opinion poll shows there are 12 million republicans in Great Britain – and they know how to have a bit of fun!

Royal Wedding: The republican fun included tea and just a little protesting

Where do you go if you dislike monarchy, but aren’t a stranger to soap?

More Here :

Written by tomasoflatharta

Jun 17, 2011 at 8:38 pm

4 Responses

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  1. Prodestan? Seriously? Presumably calling the South Taigistan would be fine by you too?

    This particular survey may or may not be credible, but surveys have consistently shown that a relatively substantial part of the Catholic population of the North doesn’t want a united Ireland. This has little bearing on voting figures because the main parties get their vote on the basis of communalism rather than the details of programme.

    Mark P

    Jun 18, 2011 at 4:38 pm

  2. If the powers-that-be hold a referendum we will know the answer for sure.

    I doubt if the voting figures will vary much from the support given to the main parties – that is most SDLP and Sinn Féin voters will favour a United Ireland, and the Unionists plus the Alliance Party favour staying inside the United Kingdom – roughly a 60-40 split.

    As the result is a foregone conclusion, a referendum may not be held any time soon – and many who know they will be on the losing side may not bother to vote.

    Of course this at the moment is guess work – mine is as good or bad as anyone else’s.

    If the NI state organised a credible scientific opinion poll we could debate the issue with a little more certainty.

    The main destabilising factor these days is the reopened question – will Scotland remain within the state styling itself the United Kingdom?

    The Prodiban can calm down – the nationalists have accepted the Good Friday Agreement, thus agreeing to the principle of Unionist Consent.

    The opposite of Prodestan – I will have to think about that! Taigistan is not bad – Perhaps after the recent display of knee-bending and forelock tugging the ruling class and its toadies has performed for the USA President and the British Monarch, an even more insulting name could be conjured up. We could secularise it – Garretstan, Redmondstan, Kennystan – take pour pick.


    Jun 18, 2011 at 7:00 pm

  3. Let me get this straight:

    1) This poll must be flawed.
    2) All of the other polls which also point to a disparity between support for nationalist parties and support for a united Ireland must also be flawed.
    3) A referendum would produce results similar to nationalist party support. Unless it does not, in which case people must have stayed at home.
    4) Polls which consistently show a disparity between SNP support and support for Scottish independence are not relevant.

    I’m really not sure that any kind of rational discussion is possible on the basis of your seemingly nearly religious belief. As for the Prodestan stuff, it’s wildly inappropriate and will (I presume wrongly) give people the impression that you are a sectarian lunatic, just as use of a term like Taigistan would.

    Mark P

    Jun 19, 2011 at 2:06 pm

  4. A very similar discussion is here –

    readers can decide for themselves who has got it straight, and who has got it bent


    Jun 19, 2011 at 5:04 pm

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