|45% said they would vote to stay in the UK, and 46% said they would choose to leave and join the Republic of Ireland – a lead of 51% to 49% for unification when we exclude don’t knows and those who say they would not vote. This is in fact a statistical tie and well within the margin of error. Such a result might also reflect the uncertainty and anxiety surrounding Brexit, the Irish border and its potential effect on life in the province, which could recede when the outcome is settled. Be that as it may, the result underlines what could be at stake in the quest for a workable Brexit solution on the island of Ireland.|
It goes without saying that the result is extremely tight and in itself this poll does not mean very much. That said, a poll showing a majority in NI, however slim, in favour of unification is significant and if this result turns our to the the first of a series of polls showing a similar swing to supporting unification then we could be about to enter a process that would ultimatly see a border poll held in NI. Clearly, the swing in support to unification is related to Brexit and as such it could disapate if a solution to Brexit is found. However, Brexit as an issue does not look likely to go away as a factor any time soon as the chaos it is causing to the British political system is only deepening.
Obviously one poll showing very narrow support for unification is not enough to trigger a border poll, but it does beg the question: what would be sufficient? The GFA is vague on this point, but if a trend of support for unification emerges then this is a question that will have to be answered in the not too distant future.
Our government has been heistant to say or do anything on the issue of unification in recent months and years for fear that it will negativly impact the Brexit process, however it would be of paramount importance for us to prepare should a trend of support for unification emerge in NI.