The Northern Irish identity: Attitudes towards moderate political parties and outgroup leaders

Kevin Mcnicholl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Northern Irish identity is said to be a common ingroup identity due to its inclusivity and relationship to more positive attitudes towards religious outgroups. However, research looking at this identity’s political significance has produced inconsistent results. The present research uses a new, large-scale dataset to test hypotheses relating to moderation in political attitudes. An original measure of attitudes towards outgroups leaders is also investigated. The results indicate that Northern Irish identifiers are more inclined to prefer moderate political parties and are more satisfied with the leader of parties associated with the outgroup. The differences in attitudes are significant, but small. Less popular binary identity combinations of Irish–Northern Irish and British–Northern Irish show some evidence of attitudes falling midway between those of Northern Irish identifiers and those with the traditional subgroup identity. The extremely small numbers of these respondents suggest that the Northern Irish identity indicates a rejection of Irish and British identities rather than a synthesis of them. These findings support the claim that the Northern Irish identity can be a common ingroup. This paper fills a gap in the literature in that it utilises the common ingroup identity model as a way of predicting voting behaviour.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-23
JournalIrish Political Studies
Early online date15 Mar 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Mar 2018


  • Northern Irish identity
  • national identity
  • common ingroup identities
  • consociationalism
  • intergroup trust
  • voting

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