The pro-divorce vote is still ahead as the referendum campaign reaches its climax but the distance between opposing camps is closer and the situation remains very fluid, a survey commissioned by The Sunday Times has found.

When asked how they would mark their ballot paper in Saturday’s referendum, 42 per cent of respondents said they would vote for divorce while 35 per cent were against.

However, with 20 per cent still undecided, the referendum remains a close affair and the result may depend on how the campaigns of the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ movements are conducted in the last four days.

No campaigning is permitted on Friday, which is considered to be a day of reflection before people vote on Saturday.

The survey, with a sample of 500 respondents, was conducted by Misco International between May 12 and 14 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 per cent.

In February, a survey commissioned by this newspaper had asked respondents how they will vote on the specific question being asked in the referendum. At the time, support for divorce stood at 58 per cent while 33 per cent were against and nine per cent undecided. The latest survey also shows that Labour voters have remained strongly in favour of divorce with 72 per cent saying they will vote ‘yes’ despite a slight decline since February.

The scenario seems to have changed radically though among Nationalists with 60 per cent now saying they will vote ‘no’ as opposed to 45 per cent three months ago. Support for divorce among Nationalists has now dropped to 25 per cent from 50 per cent in February.

There are slightly more undecided Nationalists (15 per cent) than Labourites (13 per cent) even though these numbers represent an increase for both camps when compared with the February survey.

The latest survey suggests it is unlikely there will be massive voter abstention, which is feared by both divorce lobby groups.

Asked whether they will be voting, 79 per cent said ‘yes’ and only four per cent had a definite no answer with the remaining 17 per cent still undecided.

Women are slightly more decided on going out to vote with 81 per cent of female respondents saying ‘yes’ as opposed to 76 per cent of men.

While voter turnout is expected to be relatively high (above 76 per cent) across all age groups, those between 25 and 34 are the most undecided with 28 per cent still mulling over whether to visit the polling booth on Saturday.

ksansone@timesofmalta.com

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