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(en) wsm.ie: Poll shows Yes to Repeal has a large majority and No has failed to gain ground

Date Mon, 23 Apr 2018 12:52:46 +0300

The Irish Times with MRBI published an opinion poll on the Repeal the 8th referendum this morning that once more showed a strong Yes lead and a static No. It is the 6th poll of the year so we thought it useful to generate a side by side comparison of the Yes & No votes for all 6. The polls were carried out by MRBI, Red C and Behaviour & Attitudes. ---- Todays IT/MRBI poll has ---- Yes 47% ---- No 28% ---- Don't Know 20% ---- Won't vote 3% ---- With undecided excluded that come down to 63% Yes to 37% No ---- With the chart above we eliminated undecided from all 6 polls. ---- Other significant finds from this mornings poll included; ---- A narrow majority of Fianna Fail votes favour repeal ---- 39% Yes ---- 37% No ---- This is very bad news for No campaigns as it suggests there will be no further opportunism from Fianna Fail TDs who might otherwise think campaigning for a No would damage their Fine Gael or Sinn Fein rivals. This is now only the case in some rural areas and the advantage would be small but the Fianna Fail party nationally would have to be conferenced that any further prominent opportunism from rural Tis would further damage their chances of an urban recovery rather than the permanent loss of seats to Sinn Fein. Fianna Fail did a press stunt yesterday where several party members appeared with a Together for Yes banner, cynically we suspect this was because they were forwarned of todays poll showing No had failed to gain.

Most importantly the Yes vote appears to be very very solid with 80% of Repeal voters saying they would never change their mind. Its probable the sheer toxicity and disinformation of the No campaign as well as the saturation coverage in terms of billboards and online ads has backfired and solidified the Yes vote.

Also of great significance undecideds are leaning 2:1 towards Repeal - this is unusual in a referendum where the assumption is that a majority of undecided would opt for the status quo and vote no.

If the two findings above are accurate the No campaign has no chance of winning on polling day. This along with their failure to significantly increase their share of the vote since February suggests outside of some major Yes mishap it's over for them.

In this MRBI poll voters also reported a high degree of knowledge of post referendum legislation - only 15% said they were unaware - and Repeal voters showed the highest level of knowledge. This means the No strategy of fake claims and misleading posters has not only failed but probably backfired and instead is motivating Yes voters and alienating undecided's.

But while there are strong grounds for optimism it's not over yet. Dangers include the attempts by No to make the campaign bitter and nasty, particularly in Dublin, to try and drive down turnout, particularly of younger voters. They probably hoped to provoke a response in kind from the Yes campaign but it has stayed focused on compassion and women's health.

The Irish Times headlined this as a slippage in the Yes vote in comparison with their January poll, something that is present until undecided are excluded when the apparent shift is then smaller than the margin of error. RED C showed a similar slippage between their January and March polls which we discussed in depth at https://www.wsm.ie/c/repeal-8th-opinion-polls-analysis but at this point we'd acknowledge that its likely there was a loss of soft Yes votes back then before there was significant campaigning.

The weakest point for Yes remains the 12 week unrestricted access which is why No will continue to try and centre that discussion and avoid the discussions being centred on protecting womens health and fatal foetal abnormality. There the No vote is very soft indeed, half of No voters in the B&A poll actually wanted abortion access in those cases, meaning No could lose half their vote if protecting women health becomes the main issue under discussion. The other half are the core 15% ‘let women die' - a figure that has remained constant for the last few years.

From their messaging its clear that the No campaign recognise that they are not likely to erode many Yes votes on the 12 week issue and the Irish Times poll confirms that. The percentage saying 12 weeks goes too far (41%) is almost identical with the percentage saying abortion is wrong and should not be more widely available. (40%). 56% said they had reservations on 12 weeks but it was a reasonable compromise. Presumably a recognition that there is no other way of providing abortion in the case of rape and that 12 weeks is the current reality in Ireland because its the end of the period where the abortion pill can be used. The abortion pill may be illegal right now but the reality is women are taking it every week and that usage is increasing. Unless the state starts prosecuting women for its use - and that would carry a 14 year jail sentence without repeal - women will continue to use it regardless of the outcome of the referendum. Most voters want these women to be able to access medical care with the risk of jail.

This mornings poll should have been the strongest by far figures for No campaign as they were organised to campaign earlier and are spending huge amounts on billboards & ads while #Together4Yes was still in the process of raising funds. Two weeks back No spokespeople on Twitter were crowing that the Yes campaign was nowhere to be seen - and this poll would have been collected in that period. Last week saw the enormous crowdfunding drive by Together for Yes with 550,000 being raised through over 10,000 small donations, many with names and indeed moving stories attached. Just who is funding the No campaign on the other hand is murky and unclear - its widely understood that huge quantities of dollars have flowed in over the last years because extreme US christian groups see Ireland as a key battleground in their ‘crusade'.

What has also been striking on Twitter is that the No canvass groups remain smaller and appear to have become less frequent, particularly in Dublin while the Together for Yes canvass groups have appeared everywhere, including rural areas that didn't see Marriage Equality canvassing and some of the groups are enormous. We've seen photos of canvass groups in individual Dublin constituencies that have had 50-70 people on them. We suspect the early start of the No campaign and the enormous amount of money they are spending on achieving saturation advertising everywhere from billboards to children's computer games has really motivated Repealers to donate and canvass. A massive rebellion against the hated 8th amendment is very much in full swing and the status quo looks like its going down to a major defeat, and not just in the cities.

These are the 4 polls carried out since Repeal 8th referendum was declared. They show the impact of campaigning, mostly of the No side as Together for Yes got underway later. So both anti-choice groups, Save the 8th and Love Both have had no real impact on voters despite the enormous spend on posters, billboards & online ads.

Incidentally we have seek the claim that todays MRBI poll was the first time the Yes vote when don't know are included fell below 50%. This claim is false, the yes vote was at 49% for both the B&A polls here, ie for the period of the campaign it has remained just under 50% for all but one poll.

The polls to date

MRBI January - https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/clear-majority-backs-abortion-on-request-up-to-12-weeks-poll-shows-1.3368816
Red C January - https://www.redcresearch.ie/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/SBP-Jan-2018-Poll...
B&A February - http://banda.ie/wp-content/uploads/Sunday-Times-Report.pdf
B&A March - http://banda.ie/wp-content/uploads/J.8878-Sunday-Times-March-2018-Report...
Red C March - https://www.redcresearch.ie/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/SBP-March-2018-Po...
MRBI April - https://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/irish-times-poll-public-favour-repeal-of-eighth-despite-slip-in-support-1.3467503
Subject: Repeal 8th, Pro-choice

Author: Andrew N Flood

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