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GBC poll predicts massive support for ‘Yes’ in abortion referendum

A GBC opinion poll yesterday showed just over 70% of people will vote “yes” in the upcoming abortion referendum later this month, drawing robust reactions from campaigners on both sides of the debate.

The poll indicated 18.68% of voters will mark the “no” box, while a further 8.26% said they don’t know what option to vote for, with a further 3.05% who said they will not vote.

Reacting to the poll, the he Gibraltar Pro-Life Movement said voters are “going in the right direction”, adding that the “yes” vote fell by 7% since the last GBC poll was carried out in March 2018.

Meanwhile pro-choice campaigners at Gibraltar for Yes welcomed the “encouraging results” but stressed that the only important result will be delivered at the referendum and urged people to go out and vote on March 19.

The poll was conducted by Xcel Media and respondents were asked to privately fill in a form and place the result in a box, GBC said.

A total of 787 people sampled across Gibraltar’s housing estates were split between men and women and divided into different age groups including 16 and 17-year old respondents.

Of the men who responded to the poll, 65.6% said they would vote yes while 22% said they would vote no.

Meanwhile 72.6% of women said they would vote yes, and 16.7% of women said they would vote no.

According to GBC, the largest percentage of voters came from the 18-25 year old category where 79.5% respondents said they would vote yes and 14.8% said they would vote no.

Of the older respondents, 40.6% of over-65s marked no and 46.5% of over-65s saying they will vote yes.

Reacting to the results of the referendum poll, the Gibraltar Pro-Life Movement said it will “work harder than ever to inform people before they vote”.

Speaking on behalf of the pro-life campaign group, James Brenig, said: “There are several notable factors in relation to this poll, particularly if compared with the previous GBC poll on this issue in March 2018.”

The Gibraltar Pro-Life Movement said this year’s poll has shown a decrease in the “yes” vote by 7%, meanwhile the no and don’t know options have “marginally increased” since the last opinion poll.

“This shows that the message about the humanity of the unborn baby and the need for support for women and families in Gibraltar is gradually getting through,” Mr Brenig said.

He added that the poll was carried out between February 17 and 28, before the “No” side launched its “strong social media campaign showing many faces of Gibraltar explaining why they are voting no”, adding that people become “more engaged” as polling day draws closer.

“It is not clear whether those who were polled are aware that termination of pregnancy already happens in Gibraltar where a woman’s life is at risk, nor is it clear that they were aware of how extreme the law is,” Mr Brenig said.

He added that the Gibraltar Pro-Life Movement “remains steadfast” in its commitment to informing voters between now and March 19, encouraging them to vote no.

Pro-choice campaigners, Gibraltar for Yes, urged voters to ensure they are registered and to attend their polling stations to vote on March 19.

“Gibraltar for Yes would like to stress that the only important result will be the one delivered on March 20 after the referendum day,” the group said while reacting to the results.

“The public must not become complacent based on this poll as a ‘yes’ result is not a foregone conclusion.”

“This will only be decided on referendum day.”

Gibraltar for Yes added that it would not only like to achieve a yes result at the referendum, “but also to have convinced the people of Gibraltar that only through appropriate abortion law reform can access to safe, legal healthcare be available to all women of Gibraltar.”

“Our efforts will not stop with this referendum to provide education with regards to reproductive health and to ensure that this healthcare is accessible to all women,” Gibraltar for Yes added.

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