Polls show Ireland set to approve EU treaty
(DUBLIN) - The Irish campaign to back the European Union fiscal treaty in Wednesday's referendum has a strong lead over opponents of the pact, according to two opinion polls published on Sunday.
Fifty-eight percent were for the treaty and 42 percent were against when undecided voters were excluded from the numbers, according to a poll for the Sunday Business Post newspaper.
Ireland will be able to sign the treaty, designed to strengthen the euro through tighter oversight of the public finances of member countries if the Yes camp wins a majority of votes from the public on May 31.
With undecided voters included, some 49 percent were planning to vote Yes against 35 percent for No, with 16 percent yet to make up their minds, according to the Business Post's poll carried out by the Red C agency.
That was a four percentage-point drop in Yes voters from the newspaper's previous poll a fortnight earlier, with a corresponding four-point rise in No voters.
But Pat Leahy, political editor of the Post, said that while the Yes lead had narrowed significantly, "as the referendum campaign enters its final days, the fiscal treaty is still on course to be passed".
A rival poll for the Sunday Independent found that the Yes side was leading with 60 percent against 40 percent for No when undecided voters were excluded, according to figures from the Millward Browne Lansdowne polling agency.
When the undecided were included, some 42 percent intended to vote Yes -- up five percentage points since a similar poll 11 days ago -- and 28 percent to vote No, up four points from last time. The remainder were undecided or not planning to vote.
Both polls were based on surveys of about 1,000 potential voters questioned within the last week.
Ireland's referendum is expected to be the only plebiscite in the European Union on the pact, which will come into effect once 12 countries have ratified it.
In November 2010, Ireland was forced to seek an 85-billion-euro ($106-billion) rescue package from the EU and International Monetary Fund when debt and deficit problems left its economy on the verge of collapse.
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