Sunday 15 December 2019

It's 'yes', but we are furious at Government, banks & RTE

Poll shows referendum will be carried, but Shane Ross intervention may spark 'no' swing

MAJOR DELAY: Independent TDs Finian McGrath and Shane Ross pictured in Buswells Hotel in Dublin as they called on the Government to postpone the referendum. Photo: Frank McGrath


The fiscal compact treaty looks set to be passed by referendum this week, but support for a 'Yes' vote is soft: 12 per cent of 'Yes' voters have reservations or doubts, according to a Sunday Independent/Millward Brown Lansdowne opinion poll.

The nationwide poll, taken on Wednesday and Thursday last week, has also found a huge level of disillusionment among voters towards the Government and other establishment institutions such as the banks, Nama and RTE.

After the recent Prime Time Investigates and The Frontline controversies, 50 per cent of those polled said Tom Savage, the chairman of the RTE Authority, should resign.

In a dramatic intervention today, the influential independent TD Shane Ross has urged a 'No' vote on Thursday, an announcement which is expected to narrow the gap between the 'Yes' and 'No' side and throw the result into doubt until the votes are counted.

Until now an advocate of postponing the referendum until events elsewhere in Europe become clearer, the decision by Mr Ross to come out in favour of a 'No' vote will upset the 'Yes' side and throw the outcome into uncertainty.

Writing exclusively in the Sunday Independent today, the Dublin South TD states: "It should have been postponed. We can still achieve postponement by defeating it. If we do, despite the Government's denials, there will be a second referendum in the autumn."

Including the 'Don't Knows', the poll found 42 per cent in favour (up five points); 28 per cent against (up four points); 27 per cent who don't know (down eight points); and four per cent (unchanged) who refused to say or who will not vote. Excluding the 'Don't Knows', the poll found 60 per cent in favour of the treaty and 40 per cent against, unchanged since a similar poll was taken on May 14 and 15 last.

The poll also found that 54 per cent support the position of Mr Ross and believe the referendum should have been postponed; a massive 61 per cent of Labour voters feel it should be postponed.

Contrary to the stated position of the Government, 54 per cent also believe Ireland will have access to another bailout from the European Union next year if the treaty is rejected; 27 per cent believe we will not and 18 per cent do not know.

In another blow to the Government's campaign, 58 per cent believe there will be a second referendum if the treaty is rejected; 20 per cent believe there will be no second referendum and 12 per cent do not know.

In a finding the coalition partners will find embarrassing, further analysis showed that 51 per cent of Fine Gael voters and 55 per cent of Labour voters believe there will be a second referendum in the event of rejection.

A massive 67 per cent believe Ireland will need another bailout next year; 19 per cent believe we will not and 14 per cent do not know.

Analysis of those who said they intend to vote yes showed that 59 per cent are "absolutely certain" and 28 per cent are "pretty certain" of their conviction. However, a potentially significant 12 per cent said they have some doubts or reservations.

Analysis of those who said they intended to vote 'No' showed 64 per cent "absolutely certain"; 22 per cent "pretty certain"; and nine per cent with doubts or reservations.

Mr Ross writes today: "Many of us, passionately pro-European, want to support the European project. We want to vote 'Yes'. We cannot, because we are being compelled to vote in a twilight zone... We are dancing to Angela Merkel's, not the Irish people's, timetable. Germany is still calling the shots in Europe. There was no reason to hold the referendum before the year end."

In other findings, the poll recorded a Government dissatisfaction rating of 66 per cent; just 29 per cent are satisfied and five per cent said they do not know.

Excluding 'Don't Knows', support for the parties is: Fine Gael (36 per cent); Labour (12 per cent); FF (17 per cent); Independents/Others (13 per cent); Sinn Fein (20 per cent); Greens (one per cent); United Left Alliance (one per cent).

Labour is, therefore, bearing the brunt of voter dissatisfaction with the Coalition and now retains just 60 per cent of the support it received in the general election last year.

Since the election, 17 per cent of Labour voters have switched support to Sinn Fein, nine per cent to Fine Gael, nine per cent to independents, four per cent to Fianna Fail and one per cent to the United Left Alliance (ULA).

The Labour leader, Eamon Gilmore (33 per cent), is also the least popular party leader, behind Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams (34 per cent); Fianna Fail's Micheal Martin (37 per cent); and Fine Gael's Enda Kenny (40 per cent).

Social Protection Minister, Joan Burton (13 per cent) and Finance Minister, Michael Noonan (13 per cent) are rated highest.

Sunday Independent

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