BROADCASTER GAY BYRNE has topped the latest Presidential opinion poll, published this lunchtime.
The Red C poll, commissioned by bookmakers Paddy Power, showed the broadcaster to command the support of 28 per cent of respondents – despite not yet having officially declared himself in the running for the election.
Byrne’s 28 per cent share puts him 7 points ahead of Labour’s candidate Michael D Higgins, on 21, while Gay Mitchell is back on 13 per cent.
Prospective Fianna Fáil candidate, Munster MEP Brian Crowley, also commands a 13 per cent support – which may bolster his chances of encouraging his party to run a formal candidate.
Independent candidate and entrepreneur Seán Gallagher stands next on 12 per cent, while Special Olympics organiser Mary Davis, also an independent, is on 7 per cent.
1997 candidate Dana Rosemary Scallon, who had sought a nomination in 2004 and who is reported to be contemplating a bid, is on 6 per cent of the vote.
However, 39 per cent of respondents to the poll said they would still consider giving Senator David Norris their first preference votes – despite Norris’s decision to withdraw from the running last week. Exactly 50 per cent of voters said they would have given him one of their preferences.
Byrne’s support was strongest among women and younger voters, but enjoyed broad appeal in all regions but Connacht/Ulster. Higgins enjoys support among middle-aged and older voters, as well as strong support from male voters, but surprisingly enjoys better support in Dublin than in his own Connacht/Ulster region.
In fact, Higgins’ support in the capital is higher than that of Fine Gael’s Dublin stalwart Gay Mitchell. Sean Gallagher performed well among younger candidates in Connacht-Ulster, while Brian Crowley performed well in Munster but flagged elsewhere.
When only declared candidates are included, Higgins scores 39 per cent of the public’s support, ahead of Mitchell on 25 per cent and Sean Gallagher not far behind.
The poll surveyed 908 voters between Monday and Wednesday of this week, and has a margin of error of 3 per cent.
Paddy Power/Red C opinion poll:
(Second preference share of the vote in brackets)
- Gay Byrne: 28 (14)
- Michael D Higgins: 21 (17)
- Gay Mitchell: 13 (15)
- Brian Crowley: 13 (10)
- Sean Gallagher: 12 (7)
- Mary Davis: 7 (11)
- Dana Rosemary Scallon: 6 (9)
The breakdown of second-preference transfers will also make for interesting read for the candidates: