Poll: Students divided on proposal to remove “apolitical” clause from TCDSU constitution

Support for the proposed constitutional amendment varies along party lines

Polling by Trinity News indicates that students are divided on the proposed “politicisation” of the students’ union.

On the question of whether Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) “should be able to take explicit political stances” 44.3% of voters were in favour, while 38.36% were against.

Some advocates within the union, notably President László Molnárfi, have campaigned to amend its constitution to allow the explicit politicisation of TCDSU. Put simply, this means the union would be able to constitutionally adopt anti-government stances or support certain parties.

There have been ongoing conflicts between the Electoral Commission (EC) and TCDSU itself this year, notably over the anti-government voting campaign which was deemed unconstitutional.

There was no variation regarding faculty or year group over support for the policy. However a much more significant divide is present in political affiliation; unsurprisingly, government-supporting voters were much less likely to be in favour of this stance with only 24.65% in favour, whereas anti-government voters were in favour by a slim majority of 52.24%.

There was a distinct difference in support for the constitutional amendment along party lines. Overall, 75% of People Before Profit voters were in favour, alongside 59% of SF and 48% of labour voters respectively.

In contrast, only 19.4% of Fine Gael voters were in favour of the policy, along with 16.67% of Fanna Fáil voters. Notably, despite being a government party, 33.3% of Green party voters approved of the constitutional amendment despite an ongoing campaign to remove them from government.

It is worth noting this is one of the more controversial stances of TCDSU, with the proposed rewording of the constitution causing much dismay among the union. Despite this, we see majority support for the policy among those who have held a position in TCDSU with 55% of these students being in favour of the policy.

It is unclear whether the adoption of this policy will be brought to the student body this term, a planned referendum having previously been struck down over legal concerns. Our polling shows that it may be capable of achieving the necessary support (50%) to pass at referendum, but it would be a contentious campaign.

Those in favour of the proposed amendment would need to deliver a clear and consistent message as to the implications of the proposed policy to convince those as yet undecided.