The DUP leader made the remarks in a statement on Wednesday, as campaigning for the May Stormont election continues to ramp up.
Despite Sinn Fein saying today that the cost of living is its priority, not Irish unity, Sir Jeffrey pointed out: “Only two weeks ago Mary Lou and Michelle O’Neill toured Capitol Hill offices talking about their divisive border poll plans and Sinn Fein spent tens of thousands of dollars on advertisements in the New York Times and Washington Post promoting a border poll.”
He added: “The DUP is the only party that can stop Sinn Fein’s border poll plans.”
An Irish unity opinion poll was carried out by the Institute of Irish Studies at the University of Liverpool, in association with the Irish News, and published this week.
It involved 1,000 respondents by the Social Market Research group, and was run between March 11 and March 26. Its margin of error is 3.1%
Here are some of the headline figures from it:
I would vote for a united Ireland tomorrow:
l 30% - AGREE
l 45.3% - DISAGREE
l 18.7% - NEUTRAL
l 6% - DON’T KNOW
I would vote for a united Ireland even if it meant paying higher taxes:
l 25.9% - AGREE
l 52.4% - DISAGREE
l 16.7% - NEUTRAL
l 6% - DON’T KNOW
I would vote for a united Ireland even if it meant having to pay a fee for the healthcare services currently provided by the NHS:
l 23.3% - AGREE
l 56.9% - DISAGREE
l 16% - NEUTRAL
l 3.8% - DON’T KNOW.
The NI firm LucidTalk has been much in the news in recent years because its polls appear to show relatively strong united Ireland sentiment.
For example, in January last year it got these results:
l 46.8% - PRO-UNION
l 42.3% - IRISH UNITY
l 10.7% - DON’T KNOW / NOT SURE
l 0.2% - WON’T VOTE
The results from the Irish News / University of Liverpool study this week are much closer to polling done by Ulster University, spanning decades.
Called the Life and Times Survey, this has been running regularly since the 1990s.
It has found the proportion of those favouring Irish unity ranged from 30% in 2006, all the way down to 14% in 2015, with the average being 20.4%.
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