Thursday, June 5, 2008

No side surges into lead

In a dramatic reversal of fortunes, the "No" side has surged into a 5 point lead over the "Yes" side in the Lisbon Treaty referendum campaign. The findings, taken on Tuesday (the day of the IFA decision to support the treaty) and Wednesday, also shows a big rise in opposition to the Treaty among Fianna Fáil voters. It will take an unprecedented swing in the last week of the campaign for the treaty to be carried.The poll shows the number of people intending to vote No has almost doubled to 35 per cent (up 17 points) since the last poll three weeks ago, while the number of the Yes side has declined to 30 per cent (down 5 points).

The number of undecided voters is still a significant 28 per cent (down 12 points) while 7 per cent won't vote. The massive increase by the No vote since the last poll has mainly come through gains among undecided voters but, even more ominously for the Yes side, it has lost some support to the No camp. The momentum is now with the No campaign and with most undecideds in EU referenda historically going to the "No" side, it will now take a miracle for the yes side to win. The reason most often cited by No voters is that they don't know what they are voting for or they don't understand the treaty - with 30 per cent of No voters listing this as the main reason for their decision. The poll was conducted last Tuesday and Wednesday among a representative sample of 1,000 voters in face-to-face interviews at 100 sampling points in all 43 constituencies. As such, it is remarkable that the IFA rowing in behind the "yes" side has failed to sway farmers, with 34% against Lisbon and 31% in favour.

The No majority among working-class C2DE voters is much bigger, with Labour voters shifting in large numbers from the Yes side. It indicates that opposition to the treaty expressed by some trade unionists is having an impact. In class terms, the Yes campaign is only ahead among better-off ABC1 voters. Opposition among Fianna Fáil voters to the treaty has grown from 10% to 25% while the proportion of Yes voters has fallen from 47%to 42 per cent. A majority of Fine Gael voters are now against the treaty - by 40 per cent to 30 per cent with Labour voters opposing it by 47 per cent with 30 per cent of party supporters in favour. Despite their parties previous Eurosceptic stance until this referendum, the strongest support for the treaty comes from Green Party supporters. Sinn Féin voters are overwhelming in the No side, with the no side leading by an incredible 66%-2%. The poll reveals the persistence of a significant difference in the attitudes of men and women to the treaty with women less likely to be in favour, although the biggest proportion of women are still in the undecided camp. Across the age groups, older people are more positively disposed towards voting Yes but only among the over-50s was there a majority for the treaty. The highest proportion of No voters came from the 35 to 49 age group. Regionally, the "no" side is strongest in Munster, leading there by 38% to 22%. In Dublin it is a smaller lead and the two sides are evenly matched in the rest of Leinster and Connacht-Ulster. When asked for the main reasons why they had decided to vote No, not knowing what the treaty was about came first, followed by a wish to keep Ireland's power and identity. The preservation of neutrality came next. Those voting Yes cited keeping Ireland closely involved in the EU as their top reason followed by enabling the EU to work more effectively. Concerns about the country's economic future came next.

With only 30% of the "no" voters cited lack of information as a reason for voting no, this blows apart the lame arguments of some on the yes side that the no voters are simply voting no because they don't understand what they are voting on. That 48% of no voters cite a desire to protect Irish identity and power or neutrality, it is clear that the arguments of Libertas, Sinn Fein, the Peoples Movement (including Patricia McKenna, Kathy Sinnott and Finian McGrath TD) about the loss of sovereignty, democracy and neutrality are finding currency with the Irish electorate. We remember that the men and women of 1916 fought and died for our freedom, and this wealthier, more confident Ireland will no longer be bullied into voting for European integration out of a fear of losing subsidies or offending arrogant and imperialist politicians in France and Germany, whose desire for a European Superstate with harmonised taxes grows clearer by the day.


Anonymous said...

1% of the european population (500 Million) put the mess for non realistic resasons !!! You did received 30 billion of euros from us the last 10 years ...Bloody Irish..F.... YOU

FutureTaoiseach said...

The reality is that for the first 20 yrs of EU membership, we had double-digit unemployment and as emigration. Most the money went to farmers. While I am grateful for the money, Irish sovereignty is not for sale.

Why doesn't your country have a referendum on this? They would say no too and the political elites know that well. The French and Dutch peoples voted no. It is anti-democratic to try to force this one them. We have made more friends than enemies in Europe by voting no. The only people who really want this Treaty are the elites, who are arrogant and out of touch.