Majority of people polled believe Germany is dominating direction of European Union
ANALYSIS:Barring some dramatic event, Yes side should maintain its advantage come polling day
A FEATURE of the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll was the belief Germany is having a dominating influence on the direction of the European Union.
Asked if they believed there was an equal balance of power between all member states or whether one or two states dominated the EU, 77 per cent said one or two dominated; only 5 per cent felt there was an equal balance; 18 per cent didn’t know.
When asked to name which country dominated 69 per cent said Germany, 28 per cent opted for France, 1 per cent said the UK and another 1 per cent said Greece. Only 1 per cent of voters had no opinion on the issue.
The belief that Germany dominates the EU spanned all party supporters, regions and age groups.
Campaigners for and against the fiscal treaty have consolidated their support over the past five weeks but there has been little change in the proportion of the electorate planning to vote Yes and No, according to the poll.
With a week to go to polling it appears the main impact of the campaign has reduced the number of undecided voters, but they are breaking fairly evenly on both sides.
At a similar stage in the second Lisbon treaty referendum at the end of September 2009 there were fewer undecided voters, but the proportion of Yes and No supporters was similar.
In that referendum the momentum was clearly with the Yes side and the lead widened significantly in the final days.
This time around both sides have been holding their ground, and barring some dramatic event in the final days of the campaign the Yes side should maintain its lead until polling day.
Experienced observers of European referendums cannot recall a campaign where a Government has put in such a strong effort in favour of a Yes vote. The biggest Opposition party, Fianna Fáil, has also campaigned hard and unambiguously for a Yes.
The poll indicates that were it not for such a determined campaign by the Yes side there is every chance the No campaign might have taken the lead by this juncture.
One achievement of the campaign has been to eliminate the marked difference between men and women in terms of supporting the treaty. In both genders the Yes side now leads the No by nine points. This contrasts with the last poll where women were much less likely to favour a Yes.