Support for Lisbon steady but No side makes ground

SUPPORT FOR the Lisbon Treaty is holding steady but the No side has gained ground over the past three weeks, according to the…

SUPPORT FOR the Lisbon Treaty is holding steady but the No side has gained ground over the past three weeks, according to the latest Irish Times/TNS mrbi poll.

The poll shows that 48 per cent are likely to vote Yes, an increase of two points since the last Irish Timespoll in early September, while 33 per cent say they would vote No, an increase of four points. The number of people in the Don't Know category has dropped by six points to 19 per cent.

When undecided voters are excluded, the Yes side has 59 per cent with 41 per cent in the No camp. That compares to the referendum result in June, 2008, of 53.4 per cent No and 46.6 per cent Yes.

The marginal increase in the Yes vote in the final stages of the campaign will come as a relief to supporters of the Lisbon Treaty, but the larger increase in the No vote will give anti-treaty campaigners grounds for believing they can still win the referendum on October 2nd.


The final Irish Timespoll at a similar stage in the first Lisbon Treaty referendum campaign put the No side in the lead with 35 per cent of the vote compared with 30 per cent who said they were voting Yes. At that stage 35 per cent of voters were still undecided.

A feature of Irish Timespolls on the treaty since the beginning of 2009 is that the number of people in the Don't Know category has been substantially lower than in 2008.

The latest poll was taken on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week among a representative sample of 1,000 voters in face-to-face interviews at 100 sampling points in all 43 constituencies. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 per cent.

In the poll, voters were asked whether they were likely to vote Yes or No in the referendum next Friday.

Voters were also asked if, in the light of the economic crisis, they thought it was better to be part of the EU. While 71 per cent thought it better to be part of the EU, the number holding this view was down nine points since the beginning of the month.

The number who thought it was better not to be part of the EU had doubled to 18 per cent, with 11 per cent having no opinion.

As in almost all previous polls on the Lisbon Treaty, men are more likely to vote Yes than women – 51 per cent of male voters say they will vote Yes compared to 34 per cent No and 15 per cent Don’t Know. Among women, support for the Yes side drops to 45 per cent, with 33 per cent No and 22 per cent Don’t Know.

In class terms, there is strong support for Lisbon among the better-off AB voters, with 62 per cent in favour and only 18 per cent against, with 20 per cent Don’t Know. The picture is very different at the other end of the social scale, with 48 per cent of the poorest DE category against the treaty, 33 per cent in favour and 19 per cent Don’t Know.

There is strong support for the treaty among the farming community, with 68 per cent Yes, 24 per cent No and 8 per cent Don’t Know.

Younger voters are more likely to vote No, with the Yes side much stronger among the over 50s.

Fianna Fáil voters are the most enthusiastic supporters of Lisbon by a margin of 74 per cent to 16 per cent. Fine Gael voters come next in support, with 57 per cent Yes to 31 per cent No. Labour Party supporters are less enthusiastic, with 46 per cent in favour and 34 per cent against.

Green Party supporters are also in favour of the treaty, with 52 per cent of them intending to vote Yes and 35 per cent No. Party members decided to back Lisbon at a convention earlier this month.

Sinn Féin voters are strongly against the treaty, in line with the stance taken by the party, with 66 per cent intending to vote No and just 14 per cent Yes. There is also opposition to the treaty among Independent voters, with 46 per cent against and 38 per cent for.