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Sadbh Cox/The Journal
ireland thinks

Voters here say Denmark is most like Ireland among our EU counterparts

The results also show that a clear majority of people believe the UK was wrong to leave the EU. 

IRISH PEOPLE CONSIDER Denmark to be the EU country most like Ireland, according to a new poll.

The Scandinavian nation was closely followed by Spain and then Portugal in the rankings, which did not feature near neighbour the UK due to its departure from the bloc. 

The results from the latest The Journal/Ireland Thinks European Elections series, published today, also show that a clear majority of people believe the UK was wrong to leave the EU. 

A total of 15% of people chose Denmark, followed by 13% for Spain and 9% for Portugal. These were followed by the Netherlands at 9% and Poland on 8%. 

The majority of age groups also chose Denmark when asked in the poll. It was the main option among people aged 35-54 and by over-65s. Meanwhile, those aged 55-64 chose Spain (15%) but this was closed followed by Denmark (14%).

Denmark and Ireland joined the European Economic Community (now the EU) at the same time in 1973. However, it is not part of the eurozone. At 5.9 million, the population of the Scandinavian country is also higher than Ireland’s 5.1 million but the countries do have other statistical similarities, such as a high life expectancy and low unemployment rate. 

Countries like Ireland – Total

When broken down by political party, supporters of the Social Democrats (20%), Aontú (17%) and Fine Gael (16%) and Fianna Fáil (15%) were those most likely to view Denmark as the closest to a kindred spirit.

For Green Party supporters, almost one in four of their voters viewed Ireland as most similar to the Netherlands.

Labour supporters were torn between Netherlands and Austria at 12% apiece, while Sinn Féin (16%) and Solidarity-People Before Profit (29%) voters selected Spain.

Among people voting for Independents and Others, Denmark was most selected at 20%.

However, Poland — which has a strong recent history of migration with Ireland — ranked much higher with Independents and Others than compared with other groups. Similarly, Solidarity-People Before Profit and Aontú voters were also more likely to select Poland.

Countries like Ireland – 65+

The reverse was the case in Munster where almost one-in-five voters chose Denmark, while 17% of people in the rest of Leinster chose the Scandinavians.

The final region polled was Connaught and Ulster, where 16% of those polled selected Spain.  

Denmark also ranked highest among voters earning between €20,000-€30,000 per year and those in the €50,000-€80,000 bracket.

Highest earning voters, who make more than €80,000 per year, viewed Ireland as most like Portugal. Those earning less than €20,000 opted for France when asked.

Responses mirrored the overall picture among voters depending on their housing tenure, except for those renting from their council. Up to 24% of this cohort selected Spain, followed by Poland (13%) and France (12%).

People were also asked what they think about Brexit, eight years on from the pivotal vote — a total of 68% said they think it was a bad idea for Britain to leave the EU. Just 22% said they thought it was the right idea, while 10% said they weren’t sure.

This view was widely shared among Irish party supporters but with some exceptions: 48% of Aontú supporters said they felt the UK was right to leave the EU, with just 33% disagreeing (a further 19% were unsure).

A majority of voters for Independents and Others (57%) also believe the UK was right to vote to leave the EU.

UK right to leave — parties

The type of housing tenure someone had was also a key factor in deciding their position, with renters in particular showing more agreement with the UK’s decision.

UK right to leave — housing

The Journal/Ireland Thinks series of polls is running each month ahead of the European Parliament elections in June. It will continue to explore voter intentions, measure Irish public sentiment towards the EU on a number of issues and highlight any potential opinion gaps between different demographics of Irish society on matters important to them.


This work is co-funded by Journal Media and a grant programme from the European Parliament. Any opinions or conclusions expressed in this work are the author’s own. The European Parliament has no involvement in nor responsibility for the editorial content published by the project. For more information, see here. 

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