The Fine Gael candidate first made the claims in the wake of a recent Red C poll that saw his support drop to 8% and reiterated his scepticism while canvassing today in Cork City.
“I’m not 20 points behind anybody. If you look at those polls, they are absolutely without precedent, swinging 18 to 19 per cent at one time. In the last general election 40 per cent of people decided in the last week how they were going to vote and it’s even more in the presidential election.”
Mr Mitchell was supported in his assertion by the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, who argued that the poll results were not reflected in their dealings with the electorate.
“I don’t believe these polls at all from the evidence that I have from the days I’ve been on this campaign with Gay Mitchell and his wife, Norma. The people now understand what they want in the presidency of Ireland given its place in our constitution. Gay Mitchell has set out his stall and has been elected by the people in Dublin at local, national and international level for 30 years and has shown leadership in that.”
The candidate and his party leader have been canvassing hard in the last couple of days, even venturing into an Ann Summers lingerie shop in a desperate bid to drum up support.
The leader also played down claims that they had entered into an agreement with the Labour Party to counter the growing popularity of independent candidate, Sean Gallagher.
“My interest is in Gay Mitchell. I will talk to the Tánaiste and leader of the Labour Party about arrangements for the presidency but our campaign is about Gay Mitchell who has gone about the country and put out his credentials, his experience and his qualifications for the job.”