“sympathy is not the same as unequivocal support”

Pete has noted coverage of ESRC Northern Ireland 2010 Westminster Election Survey.

The report came with shock and awe coverage:

Newsletter: ALARMING new figures show that 14 per cent of nationalists sympathise with dissident republican terrorists.

UTV: The survey by the University of Liverpool shows that 14% of the nationalist community have some “sympathy for the reasons” why groups like the Real IRA, the Continuity IRA and Óglaigh na hÉireann continue their campaign of violence.

BBC: Fourteen per cent of nationalists sympathise with dissident republicans, new research claims.

As yet, we have no link to full report or raw statistics.

However the survey itself shows the question asked was:

And thinking about why some Republican groups (such as the Real IRA and Continuity IRA and often called „dissident republicans‟) continue to use violence, would you say that you have any sympathy with the reasons for the violence – even if you don‟t condone the violence itself?

Within the 14% of nationalists having sympathy for the reasons behind violence (understanding it) you have an unquantified number of people that don’t condone the violence.

14% of nationalist don’t sympathise with republican dissident violence – despite the media spin.

They may sympathise with the beliefs that result in it though. Very different things.

ADDS: Further from the Newsletter:

12.9 per cent of nationalists claimed to ‘strongly like’ or ‘like’ Republican Sinn Fein

7.5 per cent of nationalists strongly liked or liked 32 County Sovereignty Movement

On face value for anyone with any experience of nationalist/republican communities that is just ridiculous. It may indicate a level of discontent it certainly isn’t a barmometer of support.

RSF on nearly 8% overall – are they having a laugh?