Poll suggests Icesave repayment law to be repealed in referendum

According to a new MMR poll conducted for Stod 2, Iceland will reject the so-called Icesave deal at this Saturday’s referendum.

According to the poll, 57 percent of voters intend to vote against the repayment plan for bankrupt Landsbanki’s Icesave internet savings accounts in the UK and Netherlands. This result represents a complete turnaround on the issue in the weeks leading up to the plebiscite.

The opinion poll was conducted by MMR between the 4th and 6th April and some 1,500 people were contacted. It is important to note, however, that only 942 of the people contacted (roughly 60 percent) chose to answer the question “If the new Icesave law was voted on today, would you vote with or against?”. There is no way of knowing how many of the ‘mystery’ 40 percent will turn out to vote or whether they will vote yes or no.

Of those who did answer, 56.8 percent said they would vote against the law and 43.2 percent said they would vote for it. If this is the way the vote goes on Saturday, then the law would be nullified. Older polls suggested the public were going to vote ‘yes’.

11 of the Independence Party’s 16 MPs voted in parliament for the Icesave III bill which was passed by Althingi but then sent to the nation by the president. Among them was Independence Party leader Bjarni Benediktsson. When it came to light that there would be another referendum, Benediktsson publicly stated that he would not campaign for or against (but that he would vote for the law, as he did in parliament). None of the 11 Independence Party MPs have been campaigning either way for the referendum. According to the poll, only a quarter of Independence Party voters intend to vote ‘yes’ on Saturday.

This is even lower support than among Progressive Party voters, whose MPs either abstained or voted against the law in parliament.

Social Democrat voters mostly plan to vote ‘yes’, while Left Green voters are divided.

With only seven percent in it and 40 percent of respondents refusing to take part, campaigners on both sides will surely pay little attention to this poll. It does, however, add substance to the feeling in Iceland that the ‘no’ camp has gained a lot of ground in recent weeks.

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