Northern Ireland Assembly Election Survey, 2003.

  • Bernadette C Hayes (Creator)
  • L. Dowds (Creator)
  • Paul Mitchell (Creator)
  • G Evans (Creator)



The 2003 second election to the Northern Ireland Assembly made history simply through the fact that the Assembly had remained in existence (even if suspended) long enough to justify a second election. None of the other conventions, forums or assemblies for Northern Ireland introduced since 1972 had managed to do so. Given the difficulties of sustaining devolved government, this was no small feat, and thus presented a unique opportunity to reassess political attitudes and the changing fortunes of the parties, after five years of the British-Irish Agreement. While much has been written about the panoply of new institutions derived from the Agreement, if they are to work they must ultimately have some electoral underpinning and continued validation. The Assembly elections of 1998 constituted a new beginning for Northern Ireland because, for the first time since 1973, they were about electing an Assembly, and indirectly an Executive, in the changed context where local politicians had been empowered to govern important policy jurisdictions (with other functional areas to follow if cross-community consent proved viable).

One crucial task of the Northern Ireland Assembly Election Survey, 2003 was to examine changing voting behaviour between the 1998 and 2003 elections, and the potential effect that this would have on the Assembly and related institutions. The survey involved 1,000 face-to-face interviews with adults aged 18 years or over, and also included a self-completion element.

A previous study, the Northern Ireland Referendum and Election Study, 1998 which covered the 1998 Assembly election, is held at the UK Data Archive (UKDA) under SN 5442.

Main Topics:
Topics covered included questions about the referendum held in May 1998, knowledge of and attitudes towards the Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive, the Assembly election of 2003, and respondents' demographic details
Date made available7 Jul 2006
PublisherUK Data Service
Date of data productionNov 2003 - Jan 2004

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