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James MacCarthy-Morrogh: Clearer aims are giving the Yes side an advantage

This poll was taken in a week of extraordinary economic and social turmoil across Europe. Greece is on the brink of chaos, Spanish banks are being nationalised, a new Socialist president took office in France, and the euro is battered from all sides. An Irish European referendum has never taken place against a background of such uncertainty.

The Yes side will be pleased to see that the campaign is holding its steady lead -- with 60pc of decided voters saying they will vote Yes and 40pc saying they will vote No.

However, a large proportion of voters (35pc) remain undecided some two weeks from polling day, their uncertainty can only be further fuelled by the turbulent news from the continent.

Micheal Martin's voice has clearly prevailed over Eamon O Cuiv's aborted rebellion -- seven in 10 Fianna Fail supporters are opting for a Yes. Unsurprisingly, Fine Gael support is solid at 85pc, well ahead of Labour.

Eamon Gilmore has work to do to convince his supporters to back the treaty, with almost four in 10 of them currently against. This task is not helped by the opposition of much of the trade union movement. Sinn Fein supporters are solidly against, but there may be some surprise at the 20pc of party supporters backing the treaty.

Those currently decided on their voting intention are equally certain of the action they intend taking -- almost nine in 10 on each side say they are absolutely or pretty certain of their vote. This is very much in line with the situation post Lisbon 1 where equal levels of voter conviction were evident. Both Yes and No camps are confident in their views and the short and precise nature of the treaty has surely contributed to this.

Just over half of the electorate (54pc) have a good or some understanding of the treaty, while 46pc have only a vague or no understanding. In the past 'not understanding' has been a primary reason for voting No -- so the Yes side will be especially focussed in ensuring that public understanding is maximised this time out.

There is little to separate either side in terms of understanding -- about seven in 10 say they have good or some understanding at this point.

Three in four people wish to keep the euro; however this issue diverges sharply in line with treaty support or opposition. Support for membership of the currency is almost universal on the Yes side, but one in three No voters wish to see Ireland leave the currency.

What of the protest vote who may just be looking to give the Government a kicking over austerity measures? There is some evidence for this: seven in 10 No voters did not pay the household charge which is a significantly higher proportion than nationally and suggests a degree of linkage in voters' minds.

The Yes side has the advantage of having supporters who are prepared to see past austerity and are voting for 'stability', the No side is very much voting against 'austerity', but is divided on what they are voting for in terms of the euro.

James MacCarthy-Morrogh is account director with Millward Brown Lansdowne

Irish Independent