I thought I’d brave a prediction on the referendum. I will be very surprised if the amendment is not passed - but it won’t be by much. For all of the Yes Stickers and young people in Dublin we have to remember that very few of them can vote. One thing is for sure - Dublin will be Yes - but I will be surprised if it is much above 60/40 yes. Dunlaoghaire might hit 70% yes but I can’t see many other constituencies getting that far. I think every Dublin, Wicklow, Meath and Kildare constituency will vote yes as will the urban constituencies in Cork and Galway.
The country is more problematic - in 1983 many consituencies were 80/20 to approve the amendment. We might be 35 years away but doubling that anti-amendment vote in a generation would be a challenge. I think it needs to get close to doubling for Yes to achieve a sizable victory - I don’t see that happening. Yes should be very pleased if they get over 56% countrywide.
If the Yes vote is 52% or less I would hate to be a politician in this country - the vituperation, personal abuse and pressure will be intense when it comes time to deal with the legislation and it will be a dogs dinner by the time the scrap is over - particularly if we end up with an FF/SF government dealing with it - it will tear both parties apart.
To be honest I think the No side shot themselves in the foot with the message and form of advertising that they used. They went at it with a sledgehammer. For people who have deep convictions about the issue - many of them found the message offensive - for others who have difficulty with approving abortion they felt that siding with that message and the behaviour of the people promoting it made them feel uneasy. I know some people who have chosen to abstain rather than vote No - one person has even gone on holiday just to avoid the issue. In an amendment referendum it can be argued that many who abstain are in favour of the status quo - and before the No side leap to claim victory I would point out that the turnout in 1983 was 53.7% meaning that the pro-amendment vote only got 36%. My belief is that turnout will be higher this time - maybe 60% - looking at my prediction that will suggest that the Yes side (who are challenging the status quo in this case) will have got 33% of the vote.
My best guess is 55 to 45 for Yes.