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Michael D Higgins (left) leads the presidential field, with Sean Gallagher (right) beating Martin McGuinness into third place. Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland
Race for the Áras

Higgins and Gallagher bolster leads in latest Áras opinion poll

Red C’s poll for Paddy Power affirms Higgins’ lead, with Sean Gallagher moving into second place ahead of Martin McGuinness.

A SECOND OPINION POLL has affirmed Michael D Higgins’ status as the frontrunner in the Presidential election – and underlined Sean Gallagher’s strong performance among the electorate.

The poll, commissioned by Paddy Power and carried out by Red C, gives the Labour Party candidate a clear lead at the top of the poll, with one in four voters – 25 per cent – pledging their first preference votes to Higgins.

The former minister’s share of the vote is up by 7 per cent on the last comparable Red C poll, commissioned by the Sunday Business Post ten days ago.

Sean Gallagher – whose second-place performance in this morning’s Irish Times poll surprised many – continues his strong performance, gaining 10 percentage points to stand in second spot on 21 per cent.

Martin McGuinness retains his third place on the previous poll, unchanged at 16 per cent – though Red C said its analysis suggested McGuinness would struggle to pick up second preference votes.

“He is also the candidate that over a third of the public least want to see become president,” Red C said.

Independent senator David Norris’s struggling performance is confirmed, with his vote falling by a third to 14 per cent, while Fine Gael’s Gay Mitchell loses three points to stand on 10 per cent.

Mary Davis suffers from intense focus on her personal earnings, dropping 3 points to 9 per cent, while Dana Rosemary Scallon trails in last place after dropping one place to 5 per cent.

The findings are broadly similar to those of the Ipsos MRBI poll published this morning, with the only difference in the order of the candidates being Mary Davis’s stronger performance in the MRBI sample.

Transfer analysis showed that Gallagher performed stronger with younger voters while Higgins was favoured by older ones, and that the second preferences of each individual candidate’s voters indicated that Higgins remained a clear frontrunner.

Higgins also commands the strongest support of voters who voted for Fianna Fáil in the general election in February, taking 26 per cent of their support – ahead of Gallagher on 20 per cent and Davis on 18.

Mitchell’s struggling performance is underlined by findings which showed that only 15 per cent of Fine Gael voters would offer him their first preference – while 70 per cent of Sinn Féin voters plan to give Martin McGuinness their first preference.

The poll’s percentage figures showed that 19 per cent of respondents, however, had yet to decide on their voting intentions. 1,000 voters were surveyed for the poll between Monday and Wednesday of this week.

Paddy Power/Red C opinion poll:
(change from Sunday Business Post poll from Sept 30 in brackets)

  • Michael D Higgins 25 (+7)
  • Sean Gallagher 21 (+10)
  • Martin McGuinness 16 (unch)
  • David Norris 14 (-7)
  • Gay Mitchell 10 (-3)
  • Mary Davis 9 (-4)
  • Dana Rosemary Scallon 5 (-1)

Download: Full PDF of the Paddy Power / Red C poll findings >

Poll: Big falls for Norris and Mitchell, but gains for Gallagher >

In full:’s full coverage of the Race for the Áras >

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