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New poll suggests President Higgins is on course for a landslide re-election

The rivals for the office have a lot of ground to make up.

President Higgins will be pleased with today's poll.
President Higgins will be pleased with today's poll.
Image: Wanderley Massafelli/Photocall Ireland

PRESIDENT MICHAEL D Higgins is heading for a landslide re-election, according to a new opinion poll on the presidential race.

The Red C opinion poll published in today’s Sunday Business Post puts the current president on 67% support, over the double the combined first preference support of six other candidates.

The man who came runner up to Higgins seven years ago, Sean Gallagher, comes second in the poll at 15% ahead of his fellow Dragon’s Den star Gavin Duffy at 6%.

In fourth place in the poll, 7% of respondents chose Sinn Féin’s as-yet-unnamed candidate. Their nominee is expected to be MEP Liadh Ni Riada but this is to be confirmed later today following a meeting of the party’s ard comhairle.

The party confirmed nine weeks ago that it would be running a candidate and leader Mary Lou McDonald said at the time that she believed a six-week campaign for the party’s candidate would be sufficient.

The fourth official candidate for the presidency is Senator Joan Freeman who comes fifth in the poll with 3% support. 

Two other candidates who have yet to be officially nominated also feature in the poll, businessman Peter Casey and journalist Gemma O’Doherty who both receive 1% support. 

Voters in a presidential election can give transfers to candidates below their first preference and the poll also looked at whether each candidate may benefit from this. 

Asked would they give any consideration to a given candidate, Higgins again was the most likely to receive voters’ backing with 70% support. 

Gallagher was again in second place, but way below the incumbent, as 20% of people said they would consider giving him some support on their ballot.

The presidential election will be held on Friday 26 October.

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Rónán Duffy

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