Today sees the publication of the latest instalment of North and South – a collaboration between The Irish Times and ARINS [Analysing and Researching Ireland North and South], which is a joint research project of the Royal Irish Academy and the Keough-Naughton Centre for Irish Studies at the University of Notre Dame.
The project consists of two major in-depth opinion polls conducted simultaneously in Northern Ireland and the Republic and also a series of focus groups which aimed to tease out the issues in moderated discussions. It is jointly funded by The Irish Times and ARINS. Previous results were published in December.
The aim of the project is to provide independent and unbiased information on the state of public opinion in both jurisdictions on the constitutional future of the island, on what influences the views of people, how they might change in the future and what a united Ireland – if it were ever to happen – might look like. The survey and focus groups also examine the state of relations between people in the two parts of the island.
The questionnaire for the surveys and focus groups were drawn up after extensive discussions between The Irish Times and Prof Brendan O’Leary of the University of Pennsylvania and Prof John Garry of Queen’s University Belfast, as well as other academics associated with the ARINS project. The research was conducted by Ipsos Northern Ireland in the North and separately by Ipsos in Dublin in the Republic. The quantitative survey was conducted among more than 1,000 voters each in both jurisdictions.
The results of the surveys and focus groups have been analysed by The Irish Times and by Prof O’Leary and Prof Garry. When that process is complete the data will be made publicly available. It is intended that the series will be repeated in future years.
John Garry is professor of political behaviour, and director of the Democracy Unit, at Queen’s University Belfast.
Brendan O’Leary is Lauder professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania, and honorary professor of political science at Queen’s University Belfast.
- Read all our pieces in the series to date here North and South - The Irish Times