Voting in Ireland’s referendum on the Lisbon treaty got off to a pretty slow start at one polling station I went to in central Dublin this morning. By 8am, an hour after the polls opened, fewer than a dozen people had arrived to cast ballots. Nevertheless, it struck me as significant that two voters told me that they had switched to voting Yes from No in Ireland’s June 2008 referendum on the treaty. By contrast, no one said they had switched to No from Yes.
In the 2008 referendum, the Lisbon treaty was defeated by a margin of 53.4 to 46.6 per cent on a turn-out of 53.1 per cent. That was a decisive result. But because Ireland is a small place, with an electorate of just over 3m, the absolute difference between the Yes and No votes was not that great. Some 862,415 people voted against Lisbon and 752,451 in favour. Read more