Lisbon Treaty support in Ireland has dropped and the number of undecided voters has increased, but the yes are still ahead, according to the latest Irish Times poll. Four weeks remain before the second Irish referendum on the treaty to streamline EU decision-making.
The head of the European Commission hopes the voters will appreciate their position in the EU. Referring to economic and other worries, Jose Manuel Barroso said: “I continue to hope that the Irish will say yes to the Lisbon Treaty, after all the concessions that the other member states have made in response to problem points which were raised when the last referendum was held. Ireland has greatly benefitted from European solidarity. It represents only 1% of Europe’s GDP and it benefitted from 15% of the European Central Bank’s reserves. If Ireland hadn’t been in the euro, and an EU member, it would have gone bankrupt like Iceland.” The Irish Times said 46% of the Irish plan to vote ‘yes’. That’s a drop of eight percent since May. Twenty-nine percent say they’d vote ‘no’. It is open to speculation whether voter dissatisfaction with Prime Minister Brian Cowen will play a role in the ratification of the treaty. A recent opinion poll showed three quarters of voters want a change of government — angry over increased unemployment, rising taxes and spending cuts. Last year’s failure to pass the treaty was attributed to confusion over the content, a limp official campaign and a vigourous opposition. Some analysts have said the voters know that a ‘no’ vote in this referendum would not help Ireland.