Referendum not secure

Published by: Richard Colwell

2015.04.28

Today is the first poll of the Same Sex Referendum campaign proper and is a real wake up call for the “Yes” campaigners. There has been a strong shift in support away from those saying they will vote Yes, towards those suggesting they are unsure how they will vote. This is not good news for those campaigning for a yes vote.

The proportion of all voters now saying they are sure to vote Yes has fallen by 8%, with an increase in both those saying they will vote No and those who claim to be undecided.

In total 68% of all voters claim they will support the Referendum (down 8%), 22% of voters claim they will vote NO (up 3%), and 10% are now undecided (up 5%). When looking just at likely voters, and excluding those who are undecided, this still leaves 78% supporting the Referendum.

However, past referendums have shown that those who claim to be unsure how they will vote running up to a referendum, are far more likely to end up voting No. They vote for the “status quo” rather than any change, as this way they keep to what they know.

In this case it is even more likely they will vote No, as they appear to have switched from originally saying they will vote yes until they heard some of the arguments. Given the strength of media coverage for Yes vote, and the fact that they have changed their mind, these voters are also likely to be “shy” to tell us they plan to vote No. If all those who claim to be undecided were to vote No, then support falls back to 72%, with 28% either voting No or Undecided.

Likelihood to vote No or be unsure how they will vote appears to increase with age, with the majority (55%) of those aged 65+ now either voting against the Referendum change or unsure how they will vote.

Over and above this fall in support, our analysis shows that a significant proportion of the remaining Yes vote is also relatively soft. When asked about attitudes towards issues surrounding the vote, it is clear that many still have some reservations about changing the constitution.

In a worst case scenario around 1 in 3 Yes voters still claim to have some reservations about issues in the referendum. That leaves just 45% of all likely voters as “secure” in the Yes camp. Of course not all those with reservations will necessarily vote No, however if they did the referendum would be lost, showing that this referendum is potentially far closer than topline figures suggest.

Download the full report below:
SBP April 2015 Poll Report – Same Sex Marriage

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