Eight surveys of public opinion were conducted in support of the Northern Ireland peace process between April 1996 and May 2000.
Critically the questions for seven of these polls were drafted and agreed with the co-operation of party negotiators to enhance the peace process by increasing party inclusiveness, developing issues and language, testing party policies, helping to set deadlines and increase the overall transparency of negotiations through the publication of technical analysis and media reports.
This paper briefly reviews the principle findings of these polls and their role in the political development and implementation of the Belfast Agreement; some practical observations from the Northern Ireland experience; the qualitative and quantitative methods used and finally how the lessons from this work might now be applied to the resolution of conflicts elsewhere.
The Global Review of Ethnopolitics (Vol. I, no. 1, September 2001)
How Public Opinion Polls were used in support of the Northern Ireland peace process