Michael D Higgins has topped another poll ahead of the October 27 ballot with a new nationwide opinion poll of students’ voting intentions putting him clear of the chasing pack.
Higgins can count on the support of 34% of students intending to vote in the upcoming presidential election, according to the poll which was carried out across all seven university campuses in the State last week by their representative newspapers and radio stations.
Senator David Norris, whose national showing has diminished in recent weeks due to a welfare scandal, remains a high performer among student voters – counting on 25% of votes.
Independent Sean Gallagher scored 17% of support, further indicating the growth in support for him from all corners, while Sinn Fèin`s Martin McGuinness took 12% of the vote.
Mary Davis, Gay Mitchell and Dana Rosemary Scallon all performed poorly, with 6, 4 and 2% of the vote respectively.
74 per cent of the students polled – numbering almost 2,000 – said they were planning to vote, but almost a third of those students said they had not yet decided on their first preference.
Higgins topped the poll in five of the seven universities, being outperformed only in NUI Maynooth and in the University of Limerick, where Cavan native Gallagher is the most popular candidate.
The Labour candidate’s support is so strong – at 44% – that he easily outperforms Norris in his own background. Norris has represented Trinity College in the Seanad since 1987 but lags behind Higgins with only 30% of the Trinity College Vote.
McGuinness’s share of the vote is staggered nationwide, with 17% of students in UCD and the University of Limerick offering him their support, while only 3% of voters in Trinity College would do likewise.
Dana is easily the least popular candidate among student voters, with no prospective voters in Limerick, while only 2 of the 603 students polled in UCD were planning to vote for her.
1,962 students from all seven universities in the state were surveyed for the poll, which was carried out last Thursday. The poll’s findings have been weighted to account for the varying student populations of each college.