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Yes lead grows on the final lap

THE Yes campaign in the Lisbon referendum has taken a commanding lead with 68 percent of those responding to the latest Sunday Independent/Quantum Research poll saying they will vote in favour of the Treaty this Friday.

Of the remaining 32 per cent of respondents, 17 per cent expressed their intention to vote No, while 15 per cent are still undecided.

Support for the treaty amongst the public has grown significantly since our last poll on September 11 when the Yes vote had the backing of 63 per cent compared to No vote support of 15 per cent and 22 per cent undecided.

Such has been the strength of the Yes campaign, even the staunchest of those who advocate a No vote now believe that it will be carried when it is put to the people.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent, aviation tycoon Ulick McEvaddy -- one of the No side's most prominent campaigners in last year's referendum campaign -- said:

Full poll details page 12 Analysis pages 12, 13, 26, 32, 33 Letters PaGE 39

"There's no doubt it will be carried, looking at it objectively. I think that unless there's an anti-government No, then the Yes side will shade it".

But while Mr McEvaddy believes the treaty will be passed, he says he will still be pressing for a No vote in the final days before Friday's poll.

Passing the treaty is essential for Ireland, however, according to leading figures in Ireland's business community.

Warning of the potential implications of a No vote, Chief Executive of Smurfit Kappa, Gary McCann, said a No in the Lisbon Treaty would be "tantamount to a vote for isolationism".

Dr Paul Duffy, President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland echoed these sentiments, saying: "If there is any doubt about our commitment to Europe or our influence with the union, it could cause future investment to be lost to Ireland."