Poll shows 52% back Lisbon


Support for the Lisbon Treaty has consolidated over the past three months, despite the Government¿s increasing unpopularity, according to the Irish Times/TNS mrbi poll.

The poll shows that 52 per cent would now vote Yes, up one point since the last Irish Timespoll in February, while 29 per cent say they would vote No, a drop of four points.

The number of Don't Knows has increased to 19 per cent (up three).

When undecided voters are excluded, the Yes side has 64.5 per cent, with 35.5 per cent in the No camp. That compares to the referendum result last June of 53.4 per cent No and 46.6 per cent Yes.

With a second referendum on the treaty expected in the autumn the Yes side is in a good position to carry the day but only if it wages a strong and convincing campaign.

Commenting on the poll this afternoon, Joe Costello, Labour spokesperson on Europe and Human Rights, said the results were welcome.

“This poll is welcoming news and the Government should make haste in presenting the Oireachtas with a draft of guarantees as we need to have a proper consultation on the issues and a proper debate in both Houses of the Oireachtas,” he said.

“Minister for Foreign Affairs, Michael Martin is attending a meeting in Brussels today with other Foreign Affairs ministers from the 27 members. The main item on the agenda is the Lisbon Treaty and it is important that the Minister brings back a document. I urge him to make decisions and to bring forward a draft of guarantees.”

"A final decision on the text is due to be taken in the middle of June by the Leaders of the 27 Member States and an urgent debate is needed,” he added.

Mr Costello said the Labour party was concerned about the issue of workers rights which is part of the agreement and wanted to see the text of negotiations on the issue.

In the poll, people were asked how they would vote in the light of the commitment to allow Ireland retain a commissioner along with legal guarantees on other Irish concerns about neutrality, abortion and taxation.

Voters were also asked if, in the light of the current economic crisis, they thought it was better to be part of the EU. A substantial 79 per cent thought it better to be part of the EU, (down one point since February) 10 per cent thought it was not (down three) and 11 per cent had no opinion (up four points).

The poll was conducted between Tuesday and Thursday of last week, among a representative sample of 2,000 voters in face-to-face interviews at 200 sampling points in all 43 constituencies. The margin of error is 2 per cent.

As in previous polls support for the Yes side is strongest among better-off voters and there is still a significant gender difference with men more inclined to vote Yes.

Fianna Fáil voters are the most enthusiastic supporters of the treaty by a margin of 65 to 22 per cent. Fine Gael voters also give it solid backing  - 61 to 24 per cent  - and among the Greens Yes voters outnumber the Nos by 60 to 29 per cent.

Although a majority of Labour Party supporters back the Treaty they are not as enthusiastic with 54 per cent Yes and 33 per cent No.

Sinn Féin is the only party whose supporters still back the No campaign with 49 per cent against and 29 per cent in favour.

Among the well-off AB voters, the Yes side now has a strong lead of 67 per cent to 17 per cent, but among the less well-off DE voters, it is almost equally divided with 40 per cent Yes to 38 per cent No. In the C1 category, which comprises the biggest proportion of the electorate, the Yes side has a healthy lead of 56 per cent to 25 per cent. Farmers favour the treaty by 62 to 21 per cent.

Across the age groups, there is now a Yes majority in every category with the strongest support coming from those over 65.