Northern Ireland news

Voters prioritise health service over Brexit and north's constitutional status

The health service trumps Brexit and Northern Ireland's constitutional status as the main issue among voters. Picture by iStock/PA

THE health service trumps Brexit and Northern Ireland's constitutional status as the main issue among voters in the next week's Westminster election, according to the findings of a new opinion poll.

In a survey conducted by Lucid Talk, respondents rated public healthcare (74/100 points) as their greatest consideration when they entered the polling booth, with the desire to remain in the EU (63 points) and education (48 points) rated second and third respectively.

The findings contrast with Britain where Brexit tends to outstrip the health service as voters' key concern.

The poll, which was conducted between November 27-30, asked respondents to rate up to seven issues and policies which they considered ahead of voting.

The findings differ when the data is broken down on the basis of whether respondents are unionist, nationalist or part of the so-called middle ground.

Unionists prioritise the north's position within the UK (71 points), ahead of the health service (68 points) and education (43 points). Meanwhile, nationalists are less concerned with the constitutional question (73 points), but give greater consideration to public healthcare provision (76 points) and Brexit (74 points).

The biggest issue for Alliance and Green voters is staying in the EU (88 points), ahead of the health service (83 points) and education (55 points).

Other issues where there is a marked difference in preference include climate change, which scores 36 points overall but a contrasting 22 points with unionists, 40 points with nationalists and 53 points with Alliance and Green voters.

'Getting Stormont back working' scores 43 points with both unionist and the middle ground voters but just 21 per cent with nationalists.

The Lucid Talk poll is based in 2,318 responses and has a margin of error of +/- 2.6 per cent.

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