Eurobarometer survey examines the Irish referendum on the Lisbon Treaty
European Commission - IP/08/981 20/06/2008
Brussels, 20 June 2008
292/ Wave 68.2 – TNS Opinion & Social
A nationwide referendum on the Lisbon Treaty was held in Ireland on 12 June 2008. After the result was known, a Flash Eurobarometer survey was conducted by Gallup, from 13 to 15 June, at the request of the European Commission Representation in Ireland. Altogether, a randomly selected 2,000 respondents, aged 18 and older, were interviewed by telephone. The main objectives of the survey were to understand the reasons for the “yes” or “no” votes as well as non-participation in the referendum, the respondents’ views about the campaign and views of the consequences.
The main findings were:
Support for Irish membership of the EU was very high among both 'yes' and 'no' voters: Among 'yes' voters, 98% and among 'no' voters 80%.
For the 'yes' voters, the main motivation was the feeling that it was in Ireland’s best interest (32%) and that Ireland benefits from the EU (19%). Helping the economy (9%) and keeping Ireland engaged in Europe (9%) were other reasons.
The 'no' voters presented a much wider range of reasons to explain their preference. A lack of knowledge of the Treaty (22%) was the main one, while others included the protection of Irish identity (12%), safeguarding neutrality, lack of trust in politicians, losing the right to a permanent Commissioner and protecting the tax system (all 6%).
'No' voters supported the view that the result would put Ireland in a strong position to renegotiate the treaty (76%).
The young people who participated, women and those not working were significant supporters of the 'no' vote; many professionals, managers and retirees were backing the 'yes' campaign.
Over half of the people who did not vote in the referendum said this was due to a lack of understanding of the issues.
Similar surveys were carried out following the referenda on the
Constitutional Treaty in France and in the Netherlands in 2005.