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No clear favourite among FG's four presidential hopefuls

Fine Gael MEP Mairead McGuinness is leading the charge for the party's nomination for the Presidency.

But the Irish Independent/ Millward Brown Lansdowne opinion poll shows that there is no clear favourite to win the Fine Gael nomination.

Ms McGuinness is up against European Parliament colleague Gay Mitchell and former MEPs Pat Cox and Avril Doyle for the party's place on the ticket.

But Ms McGuinness leads her competitors on two fronts -- when put up against the other presidential contenders and her party rivals.

The Ireland East MEP takes 10pc of the vote when pitted against the rest of the field, coming in third behind Independent Senator David Norris and Labour's Michael D Higgins. She is followed by Mr Cox on 7pc, Ms Doyle on 3pc and Mr Mitchell on 2pc.

When asked who would be best positioned to win the Presidency for Fine Gael, Ms McGuinness also comes out on top among the public.

She gets the nod as the preferred Fine Gael candidate from 26pc of voters, Mr Cox attains 19pc, Mr Mitchell 14pc and Ms Doyle 9pc.

All told though, the poll indicates the Fine Gael contest is wide open.

Irish Independent