Category: Archive

Poll: vote too close to call.

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Only 29 percent of voters plan to vote in favor and 19 percent will vote against ratification. There are 9 percent who do not intend to vote.

The result “could go either way,” said the international bank Citigroup, which commissioned the poll by Millward Brown IMS.

Before the June 2001 referendum, when the treaty was rejected by 54 percent of voters on a low turnout of 35 percent, opinion polls had shown the lead for the Yes vote to be higher and the number of undecideds much lower.

In his interpretation of the poll, Citigroup economist Michael Saunders concludes that the outcome of the vote is still very uncertain.

“In particular, the high level of undecided voters could swing the outcome either way, depending on how they respond to the campaign themes in the run up to the referendum,” he said.

The poll found that among women, 53 percent are undecided and 33 percent of men haven’t made up their mind.

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Saunders said the Yes campaign is making more effort than in the 2001 campaign, but it still is not sending a clear message of why a vote in favor is good for Ireland. In contrast, the No vote campaigners are “totally focused on direct arguments about Ireland’s self-interest,” Saunders said.

Saunders says the Irish government’s popularity has suffered recently due to disputes about health funding and other issues and this could be a factor in the outcome.

“Part of the support for the No vote is a vote against the government in general, rather than a vote against Nice,” he said. “As always, a referendum is not simply about the question on the ballot paper.”

The poll found support for the treaty was highest among people over 65, with a balance of 26 percent in favor. While the balance of opinion in favor of the treaty was 10 percent overall, it is 18 percent among men and only 4 percent among women.

Consistent with the gender difference, support for the treaty is highest among chief income earners in households at 16 percent, and lower among other members of households, at only 5 percent. Support from the self-employed was at 24 percent, while 10 percent of those in full-time jobs will also vote Yes. Only 1 percent of housewives are in favor.

The poll was undertaken between Aug. 28 and Sept. 5 with 939 people surveyed nationwide by telephone.

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