North and South project aims to present unbiased information on unification question

Surveys examine state of public opinion in the Republic and Northern Ireland


Beginning today, and continuing over the coming days and weeks, The Irish Times will publish the findings of a major research project into attitudes in the Republic and Northern Ireland to a possible future united Ireland and related issues.

The North and South series is a collaboration between The Irish Times and ARINS, itself a joint research project of the Royal Irish Academy (RIA) 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. It is jointly funded by The Irish Times and ARINS, which is dedicated to Analysing and Researching Ireland North and South. This is the second year of the project and it is intended to continue in the future.

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 surveys also examine the views of people in both the Republic and Northern Ireland on possible future constitutional arrangements in a united Ireland, and attitudes to the possible symbols and emblems of a new unified state.


The questionnaire for the surveys was designed by John Garry, Brendan O’Leary, Jamie Pow, the ARINS public opinion committee, and Pat Leahy of The Irish Times. The research was conducted by Ipsos in Northern Ireland and separately by Ipsos B & in the Republic. Both surveys were conducted among a representative sample of more than 1,000 people across all constituencies in each jurisdiction. Fieldwork was conducted in respondents’ homes. The accuracy level is estimated to be +/-3.1 per cent. Once the series is concluded, the data will be made publicly available.

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 an honorary member of the RIA. Jamie Pow is a lecturer in political science at Queen’s.

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy is Political Editor of The Irish Times