The majority of voters in mainland Britain would be happy to see Northern Ireland leave the UK if it meant the rest of the country would get a favourable Brexit.
Only 18% of the population would prefer Northern Ireland to stay in the UK over getting their preferred Brexit option.
The figures come from a YouGov survey which saw the pollsters ask English, Welsh and Scottish voters a series of questions about Northern Ireland and Brexit.
The answers were presented with respondents who voted to Remain in the EU separated from those who voted to Leave.
While voters who wished to remain a part of the EU were more interested in Northern Ireland’s needs than Leave voters, both were happy for the North to join the Republic in a united Ireland.
One key question was the rather blunt ‘How much do you care about things that happen in Northern Ireland?’
In total, 51% responded that cared ‘a fair amount’ – 62% of remain voters and 48% of leave voters said they do care.
The average score of those who responded that they did not care very much or at all was 41% (30% of remain voters and 47% of leave voters).
Another question asked: “How would you feel if Northern Ireland left the UK?”
The average response was that 41% would be upset to see Northern Ireland leave – 49% of remain voters and 37% of leave voters.
In general, 9% would be pleased to see Northern Ireland go (10% of remain voters and 8% of leave voters) and 41% said they were not bothered either way (33% of remain voters and 50% of leave voters).
Another key question asked: “If you had to choose between your preferred outcome on Brexit or Northern Ireland staying in the UK, which would you choose?”
In response, 58% said they would prefer Northern Ireland to leave – 58% of remain voters and 64% of leave voters.
Only 18% of respondents would prefer Northern Ireland to stay over getting their preferred Brexit outcome (22% of remain voters and 16% of leave voters).
YouGov said: “When asked what they want to happen with Northern Ireland, again around four in ten (43%) don’t have a strong view, saying that it is ultimately up to the Northern Irish. A further third (35%) want Northern Ireland to remain in the UK, while 15% think it should join together with the rest of Ireland.
“As with so much, however, Brexit takes precedent. Given the choice between having their preferred outcome on Brexit and Northern Ireland staying in the Union, a majority of 58% chose the former and only 18% the latter.”
The results will come as a huge blow to DUP leader Arlene Foster whose party has propped up the Conservatives in government and has been adamant that Northern Ireland should not be treated any differently to the rest of the UK.
For more information visit YouGov.
Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcalling