The results of the 2012 Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey (NILT) – published today – offer challenging insights into the changing nature of Northern Ireland politics and society.
The NILT Survey is an annual survey conducted by ARK at the University of Ulster andQUB.It records public attitudes to a wide range of social issues.
Headline findings from the 2012 survey include:
In one respect, the findings see an intensification of traditional identities, while at the same time this polarisation is not translated into political preferences.
Dr Duncan Morrow of the University of Ulster, said: ‘These results confirm that that the hybrid nature of Northern Ireland as a shared space sharply and persistently divided over questions of national identity is unchanged.
“However, this does not translate into a similar division over constitutional status, where there is little evidence of any strong desire for Irish unity at present.
“At the same time, there is evidence that events over many years have caused a significant rise in the proportion of people describing themselves as neither nationalist nor unionist among both Catholics and Protestants and a measurable alienation from the United Kingdom among Catholics in 2012.
Professor Rick Wilford of QUB added that, "Without further data, it is impossible to definitively diagnose the underlying dynamics. However it appears that recent political events in Northern Ireland may have alienated some Catholics from emergent preference for the United Kingdom without yet persuading many that a United Ireland provides a desirable destination."
The NILT Survey is an annual survey conducted by ARK at Queen’s University and the University of Ulster. It records public attitudes to a wide range of social issues. The 2012 Survey was completed by 1,204 adults across Northern Ireland and it contained a number of questions relating to identity and constitutional preferences.
Notes to editors:
The 2012 NILT Survey explored attitudes to autism, community relations, minority ethnic groups, migrant workers and asylum seekers, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues, and political attitudes. Full results are available atwww.ark.ac.uk/nilt