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First major opinion poll shows 52pc in favour of scrapping Seanad

The Europinions poll for TV3, with a margin of error of 3pc, cites the cost of the chamber as the main reason to close it.

The members of the 24th Seanad, outside Leinster House in May 2011 shortly before its first sitting.
The members of the 24th Seanad, outside Leinster House in May 2011 shortly before its first sitting.
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

A MAJORITY OF Irish voters are set to vote in favour of the referendum to abolish the Seanad, according to the first major opinion poll since the Government’s plans were formalised.

The Europinions poll for TV3, carried out yesterday and today, found that 23 per cent of voters planned to vote No, while 24 per cent of voters had yet to decide on how they might vote.

When the undecideds are excluded, the pro-abolition side commands a clear 69-31 lead.

Among those who planned to vote to eliminate the Seanad, most cited its cost as a factor – with 77 per cent citing the price of running two chambers as good reason to close the smaller one.

68 per cent of Yes voters said Ireland had too many politicians; while 56 per cent said Ireland didn’t need a second chamber. A similar margin said the Seanad was “ineffective”, while 37 per cent said the Seanad “does nothing”.

Among No voters, 82 per cent said the Seanad kept the government in check; 74 per cent said it was a safeguard against legislation being enacted too quickly; and 59 per cent cited its advisory role.

Voters in Munster were the most likely to back the elimination of the Seanad, with 61 per cent of voters already indicating plans to abolish it, while Leinster voters outside Dublin were most likely to vote No, at 29 per cent.

Voters in Dublin and Leinster were still up for grabs, however, with 28 per cent of each group undecided.

Indecision amongst voters falls as they get older, with 35 per cent of voters aged 18-24 unsure of their intentions, while only 7 per cent of over 65s were not yet sure.

Those elderly voters offer a glimmer of hope for campaigners hoping to save the Seanad, however: over 65s were the only group who were set to vote to save the chamber. The over-65s would vote 47 to 46 to keep the Seanad, with the other 7 per cent still undecided.

1,014 respondents were polled online through an opt-in system which operated before the Seanad developments were announced this week. Europinions said their responses were weighted to reflect a true demographic breakdown of voters. The margin of error is 3 per cent.

Read: Hogan appoints five-member panel to oversee Seanad referendum

More: Enda tells government parties: You must support Seanad abolition

Explainer: What else will change if we scrap the Seanad?

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Gavan Reilly

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