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Yes side keeps lead in latest poll but third still on fence

THE Yes side retains a healthy lead in the EU fiscal treaty referendum, but three in 10 voters have yet to make up their minds.

The results of the latest opinion poll will be a boost to Taoiseach Enda Kenny as he prepares to address the nation tomorrow on the referendum.

But Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams will also be conscious that there are still votes up for grabs among the many undecided voters.

The poll shows 39pc voting Yes (up 9pc), 30pc No (up 7pc) and 31pc either don't know or won't vote (down 16pc). When undecided voters are stripped out, the Yes side jumps to 57pc with the No side on 43pc.

The results show that the No side is failing to gain adequate ground, despite gaffes in the past 10 days by ministers Michael Noonan, Richard Bruton and Lucinda Creighton.

Backing for a Yes vote has increased by nine points since the last corresponding poll over a month ago, while support for the No side has gone up by seven points. During this period, the number of don't knows has come down by 16 points.

Once the undecided voters are removed, the Yes side is actually down 1pc and the No side is up 1pc.

The results clearly show that the No campaigners are failing to make an impact as the campaign enters its closing days.

The poll also shows the Yes camp still commands strong backing from middle-class voters, while working-class voters remain in the No camp.

A significant change over the course of the campaign is that the large gender gap has been eliminated, with both men and women now equally backing a Yes vote.

In the breakdown among party supporters, Fine Gael voters are the strongest supporters of the treaty with 74pc Yes and just 8pc No. By contrast, Labour continues to struggle to get the backing of its base with less than half, 46pc, voting Yes and 29pc No.

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore has been hit by opposition from the trade union movement to the treaty.

Fianna Fail voters are actually more strongly in favour of the treaty than Labour by 50pc to 23pc.

Sinn Fein supporters are the strongest on the No side, with 66pc against the treaty and just 13pc in favour.

Supporters of Independents and smaller parties are also against the treaty but by a smaller margin of 41pc to 31pc.

The poll for the 'Irish Times' was carried out by Ipsos/MRBI between Wednesday and yesterday among 1,000 voters.

Mr Kenny insisted that "the instinct" of the Irish people was to ratify the fiscal treaty and guarantee future funding.

Mr Kenny and Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney said elements within the anti-treaty campaign were trying to confuse and mislead the voters.

"What we intend to do is to meet with people and explain what is in this treaty, how simple it is and also what is not in it because it's important that people be properly and fully acquainted with the facts so that when they go to vote, they know exactly what they are doing," said Mr Coveney.

Mr Kenny denied that a Yes vote was virtually guaranteed, given recent opinion polls.

"There is nothing ever in the bag as regards politics," he told the Irish Independent.

"From the Government's perspective and from a broader Yes perspective, I think it's important to say this.

"This is the people's choice -- the Irish people's choice, not the Dutch or French or the Italians or anybody else. (It is) our vote, our people, our country."

Mr Kenny said that people had to think carefully about the consequences of their vote next Thursday.

"The consequences are very positive for a 'Yes' vote -- the consequences are unknown for a No vote," he argued.

"There's an instinct about the Irish people that the right thing to do is vote Yes."

Irish Independent