By Andrew Bushe
DUBLIN – The peace deal is supported by 52 percent of the people in Northern Ireland and 61 percent in the Republic, according to the biggest all-Ireland opinion poll on the Belfast Agreement undertaken so far.
The Lansdowne/RTE Prime Time current affairs program poll shows, however, that 59 percent in Northern Ireland do not believe the agreement will lead to a long and lasting peace.
This is much more pessimistic than in the Republic, where only 37 percent believe there will not be a lasting peace.
The poll, which was carried out last Saturday and released Tuesday, found that 32 percent were undecided on the peace deal in the South and 34 percent in the North.
In the North, 14 percent said they would vote against, as against 7 percent in the South.
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When the undecided were asked to indicate their voting inclinations, the yes vote in the North rose to 61 percent and in the South to 72 percent.
An analysis of the findings by political party allegience indicates that supporters of each of the main parties in the Republic are strongly in favor.
Fianna Fail are 64 percent in favor and the opposition Fine Gael (72 percent) and Labor (64 percent) are also strongly backing the deal.
A much more fragmented picture emerged in Northern Ireland. Catholics are 80 percent in favor, 1 percent against and 19 percent undecided. Protestants are 31 percent in favor, 45 percent undecided and 24 percent against.
Supporters of the SDLP (86 percent), Sinn Fein (76 percent) and the Alliance (72 percent) are all in favor.
Supporters of David Trimble’s Ulster Unionist Party are 42 percent in favor and 13 percent against ,with 45 percent undecided. The Rev. Ian Paisley’s Democratic Unionist Party are 62 percent against, 5 percent in favor and 33 percent undecided.