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(en) wsm.ie: Repeal the 8th isn't in the bag yet - a warning from Marriage equality poll comparisons

Date Fri, 4 May 2018 08:17:47 +0300


Today we are warning that Repeal the eighth vote can't be assumed to be already won even through No have failed to increase their vote. If the same last week shift comes into play as for Marriage Equality & Divorce we are looking at a result to close to call. We are going to explain why we are saying this in detail using polling figures from Marriage Equality and this campaign. Its going to get a little scary as we go through these but there is hope at the end. ---- The 1995 Divorce referendum looked to be in the bag from advance polls with a 2:1 lead but on the day was only narrowly carried 50.3% Yes to 49.7% No. A result so close that its said the difference was only one vote per polling box in the country. It appears with Divorce that either the polling companies had got it wrong or more likely a major drop in the Yes vote happened in the last 10 days. This was too long ago to draw detailed parallels between polling but we can do just this with the Marriage Equality polls.

Marriage Equality also saw a sharp drop in last week. There were 4 polls published a weekend before by the same range of companies polling this time around - the top left table shows each poll and then actual result first for raw data, then with Don't Knows excluded, as you can see all 4 polls overestimated the share of Yes by 7 to 9%.

This table below compares each companies poll with the actual result & then calculates how much of Don't Know became No and in the two cases where that was over 100% how much of the Yes vote became No.

Marriage equality as of May 16/17 SBP/RedC 11-13 SI/MB 2-15 ST/B&A 1-11
IT/MRBI 13-14 RESULT
Yes 67 53 63 58 62
No 27 24 26 25 38
Don't Know 6 23 11 17

Excluded removed
Yes 71 69 71 70 62
No 29 31 29 30 38


SBP/RedC SI/MB ST/B&A IT/MRBI
Shift N+6 Y-5 N+14 Y+9 N+12 Y-1
Y+13 Y+4
Ratio of transfer 100% +8% 61% 100% +2% 76%


Using these percentages in the bottom table we recalculate all the polls by applying the error ratios for each company from the Marriage Equality referendum to each of their polls on the Repeal the 8th vote. IF (ands its a big IF) it was same error this time around the referendum would only narrowly be carried in the B&A poll and narrowly defeated according to both MRBI and Red C polls.

MRBI Jan Red C Jan B&A Feb B&A March Red C March MRBI April ST/B&A April Red C April
Yes 60 55 48 48 52 54 46 51
No 40 45 52 52 48 46 54 49
Adjusted figures if the polls are as far out on Repeal as they were for Marriage Equality

To be very clear this is not a prediction, simply a warning that we can't be complacent (who is!). The campaigns are very different in intensity & length and there is some evidence in B&A polling that the Don't Knows are splitting to Yes.

One major difference is that the No campaign have ran a very intense campaign over months with a huge spend on misleading ads since February. Despite this the polls show a failure to increase the No vote at all. All the variation in the polls of the last 3 months have between polling companies. For each company their polls across the months show no change when you account for the 3% margin of error.

But the No campaign is not focused on convincing additional voters to No but in trying to make the referendum so nasty and confusing that undecided & Soft Yes voters will stay at home or, our of fear, opt for the status quo. This would explain the often bizarre nature of the No campaign, their failure to discourage aggression, lying and indeed the active encouragement and even participation of their spokes people in such tactics. Disengagement and fear helps them, in 1983 only 54% of the population voted in the 8th amendment referendum which saw similar tactic and worse.

But this may not work this time around. Much has changed in Ireland, in particular rural areas, and polls indicate that the Yes voters are quite determined and sure of their understanding of issue. 80% of Repeal voters say they would never change their mind in the last MRBI poll

Together for Yes is already canvassing areas that never had organised canvass teams during the Marriage equality referendum. Its expected that as May 25th approaches the Yes canvass will substantially grow in size & scope, as happened with Marriage Equality. Canvassing is something you can do that will make a difference , you can sign up for. Together for Yes have already distributed three times as many Yes posters as were distributed during entire Marriage equality campaign - in general you can say Together for Yes learned from and then built on the Marriage Equality ref experience. Something that is of course also true of the No side, in that case its the same organisations and individuals running this campaign as who campaigned against Marriage equality (and indeed sex education, contraception and divorce, if they have been around long enough).

All the polls so far were from the period before Marriage Equality had even really launched but the No campaign has been in full swing since February. So it may be we will see the Yes vote increase and No vote decrease in the next set of polls.

So again this scary comparison with the Marriage Equality polls in NOT a prediction but simply a warning that the strong and consistent Yes lead does not mean Repeal is already in the bag, its very much up to YOU to be part of a Together for Yes win by talking to friends, fellow workers and families and by getting formally involved in canvassing and other work. As the referendum vote approaches people will pay more and more attention to whats said and written, particularly in final days. So its not too late to get involved, indeed we expect that the early starters will really appreciate new faces and new energy in helping Yes win on the 25th.

Author: Andrew N Flood

https://wsm.ie/c/repeal-8th-warning-marriage-equality-poll-comparison
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