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Saturday 20 September 2014

Poll: Clear majority in favour of abolishing Seanad

Daniel McConnell, Sunday Independent Political Correspondent

Published 28/09/2013 | 18:21

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Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Taoiseach Enda Kenny

There is a clear majority in favour of abolition of the Seanad among voters who have made up their mind, according to a Sunday Independent/Millward Brown opinion poll.

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In a lacklustre campaign, however, just over half (57pc) have decided what way to vote in the referendum on Friday.

Among those decided, 64pc are in favour of abolition and 36pc are against, a finding which will come as a relief to the Government this weekend.

But the nationwide poll, conducted in the second half of this month, has also found that a significant minority are still unsure how to vote.

In a finding which will give hope to those opposed to abolition, the poll shows that, overall, 37pc are in favour of abolition, 20pc are against, 32pc are undecided and 10pc say they will not vote.

Public backing for the Coalition has jumped three points in a month, with Labour's support now back into double figures.

The gains for both Fine Gael and Labour have come at the expense of Sinn Fein and the independents, while Fianna Fail's support has also increased.

But the good news for the Government is tempered by the fact that 33pc of those polled said they did not know when asked which party or independent they would vote for at the next election.

This high level of ‘don’t knows’ reflects the continued deep sense of disillusionment among the electorate towards the Government and the wider political system.

Once the ‘don’t knows’ are excluded, according to the poll of 998 adults across the country, Taoiseach Enda Kenny's party is once again the most popular, on 28pc, only one point ahead of Fianna Fail on 27pc.

Just after the halfway mark in the expected lifetime of this Government, Fine Gael will be relatively satisfied with its poll ratings. However, at 28pc, it has been estimated it could still lose up to 18 seats should an election take place tomorrow.

But should a Fine Gael and Fianna Fail coalition come to fruition, as speculated on during the summer recess, the two parties would hold a commanding majority in the Dail, based on these numbers.

Since our last poll at the end of August, Labour has bounced back to above single-digit ratings for the first time in four polls, and is now on 10pc. A perceived resurgence in the performance of Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, who has been high-profile since the summer break, is likely to be behind the Labour bounce.

 

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