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The latest poll on same-sex marriage published in The Irish Times yesterday convinces me more than ever that a referendum on the matter would lose if the campaign is even remotely fair and balanced.
The poll showed 53pc support for a change to the definition of marriage, but that is down a massive 20 points compared with a Red C poll in February and around 10 points compared with other polls on the matter.
Polls in the run-up to the children’s rights referendum showed the amendment had roughly 70pc support to only 4pc against. On the day itself, the vote turned out to be 58pc in favour and 42pc against.
The fact is that when a referendum campaign kicks off people change their minds quickly. The media-favoured position starts off ahead, often way ahead, because that is all most people have heard on the matter.
But when they start to hear another point of view, things change.
Even in those American states that recently voted in favour of gay marriage, the pro-gay marriage side started out with a huge lead but on the day itself, despite massively outspending their opponents, won by only around 4pc on average.
Of course, in all previous 32 votes on the matter they lost.
If we have a referendum on same-sex marriage in this country and the gay marriage side starts out at only 53pc public support, they will surely lose.