Defying all expectations of a close contest, exit polls in Ireland predicted that the nation voted overwhelmingly on Friday in favor of repealing a near-total ban on abortion in a referendum.
Although the ballots will not be counted until Saturday, surveys conducted outside polling stations by the country’s leading newspaper, The Irish Times, and its state broadcaster, RTE, agreed that close to 70 percent of the electorate had supported lifting the ban.
— Laura Fitzgerald (@Laura_Fitzer) May 25, 2018
— Irish Political Maps (@IrishPolMaps) May 25, 2018
According to exit poll:
– Overall vote was 68 Yes 32 No
– a 77% Yes vote in Dublin
– 66% Yes vote in Munster
– 59% Yes vote in Connacht
– Majority in all age groups under 65
– Ages 18-24 voted 87% for Repeal
If borne out this is sensationally historic.#repealthe8th
— Naomi O’Leary (@NaomiOhReally) May 25, 2018
If confirmed by the official count, the result indicted by the exit polls — with a margin of error of just 1.5 to 1.6 percent — would mean the immediate repeal the Eighth Amendment to Ireland’s constitution, which has, since 1983, prohibited the government from legalizing abortion in any circumstances, even in cases of rape, incest or fatal fetal abnormality.
The result would appear to indicate a sea change in Irish attitudes to women’s rights in the intervening 35 years, since the ban on abortion was enshrined in Ireland’s constitution with the support of 67 percent of the nation’s voters in 1983.
News of the exit polls stunned and delighted supporters of abortion rights, who had been braced for disappointment despite surveys that showed broad support for the government’s proposal to repeal the amendment and introduce legislation which would permit Irish women to have abortions up to 12 weeks after conception.
Ireland – you are just stunning. A kind, compassionate, critical thinking electorate that won’t be duped or bullied. Well done everyone, well done.
— Aoibhinn (@aoibhinn_ni_s) May 25, 2018
That’s a mandate to not just repeal it but to burn to the ground everything it stood for.
— Sophie Long (@SophieLong01) May 25, 2018
— Graham YES Linehan (@Glinner) May 25, 2018
For all the attempts to divide us into tribes, the exit poll shows that every part of Ireland has voted in broadly the same way, which is to