Labour candidate Michael D Higgins has topped an Ipsos MRBI presidential opinion poll published in today’s Irish Times with 23% of the vote – an unsurprising result following Tuesday’s televised debate on TV3. Seán Gallagher’s support rating has increased to second overall (20%) while Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness is close behind on 19%.
Mary Davis’s popularity remains unchanged since July at 12% while David Norris (11%) and Fine Gael’s Gay Mitchell (9%) both suffered major decreases in support, losing 14 and 12 points respectively. Dana Rosemary Scallon rounded out the poll on 6%.
A spokesperson for Michael D Higgins has said they are “very pleased” with the poll result. Meanwhile, Séan Gallagher feels his surge in support is reflective of the positive feedback he has been receiving from the public on the campaign trail.
When questioned, Mr McGuinness described the poll as “a snapshot rather than a reflection of the true figures” but admitted to being pleased with his high ranking. Ms Davis commented on the “huge volatility” highlighted by the poll while Ms Scallon insisted she paid little attention to such surveys.
Mr Mitchell admitted he was disappointed with the results but said he was confident his standing would improve “with the full support of the Fine Gael party and its 30,000 members”. However, such support may not be as forthcoming as he would have hoped as he is the number one preference for just 21% of the party’s members, with many favouring Labour’s Mr Higgins. As a result of this, Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny has urged the party to get behind their candidate.
Mr Mitchell added, “Even though we are trailing, nobody has yet won this election. It is all to play for and I am more determined than ever. Opinion polls are interesting, but the real poll will happen on 27 October.”
Mr Norris has so far not commented on the survey.
The poll was carried out earlier this week among 1,000 voters aged 18 and over in all 43 constituencies. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 per cent.