DUBLIN — Irish voters are set to back the introduction of gay marriage by a margin of as much as two-to-one next week and become the first country to approve the policy in a national plebiscite, a series of polls indicated on Saturday.
Long considered one of the most socially conservative countries in Western Europe, support for gay rights has surged in Ireland in recent decades as the power of the Catholic Church collapsed in the wake of a series of child abuse scandals.
The Irish Times poll of 1,200 voters showed 58 percent planned to vote in favor of the measure compared to 25 percent against and 17 percent undecided.
Two more polls to be published in Sunday newspapers put support for the constitutional change above 60 percent, while a third saw the advantage of the Yes side slip to 53 percent with 24 percent opposed and almost as many undecided.
Irish voters go to the polls on Friday, with the results of the referendum expected the following day.