Tuesday 20 August 2019

Latest polls suggest President Higgins on course for landslide re-election

  • Higgins received 67pc of first preferences votes in the poll
  • Closest opponent Sean Gallagher on 15pc
  • Low support for Gemma O'Doherty and Peter Casey (1pc)
  • FG on top of the polls (33pc) but Independents up to 13pc
Michael D Higgins. Photo: INM
Michael D Higgins. Photo: INM
Rachel Farrell

Rachel Farrell

President Michael D. Higgins might be on track for a landslide vote to re-elect him as president, a new poll has shown.

Some 67pc of those who took part said they would give the current president their first preference, according to the Sunday Business Post/Red C poll.

This is a huge amount compared to his opposing candidates, with Cavan-native Sean Gallagher receiving the next highest vote of 15pc.

Fellow Dragon’s Den judge Gavin Duffy is further behind in the poll with only 6pc of voters giving him first preference, while Senator Joan Freeman receiving just 3pc.

Businessman Seán Gallagher. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Businessman Seán Gallagher. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Sinn Fein have yet to announce their chosen candidate, but 7pc of voters said they would give first preference to a Sinn Fein candidate.

The party's ruling council - ard chomhairle - is meeting in Dublin later today to select its choice to run in next month's election, with Euro MP Liadh Ni Riada tipped to be top of the list.

President Higgins (77) also had the highest support among 18-34-year-olds in the poll, getting 72pc of their vote. He also received 65pc of 35-54-year-old's vote and 65pc of those over the age of 55.

Meanwhile, a low show of support was given to journalist Gemma O’Doherty and businessman Peter Casey, who both received only 1pc of first preference votes in the poll.

According to the Sunday Business Post/Red C poll, President Higgins has the broadest pool of potential support with 70pc of those saying they would consider voting for him, compared to 20pc for Mr Gallagher. 

Approximately 11pc of those polled said they would consider voting for Mr Duffy, followed by 10pc for a Sinn Fein candidate and 7pc for Ms Freeman.

The poll was taken over a week-long period, starting on Thursday September 6 and ending last Thursday.

In a separate poll, Sunday Business Post and Red C asked participants which party or independent candidate would they give their first vote to if the general election was tomorrow.

Some 33pc of participants gave it to Fine Gael, a decrease of 1pc from May 20 this year, but an increase of 7pc since the 2016 election.

Votes for Independents fell from 13pc from the 2016 election to 9pc in May 2018, but support has crept back up to 13pc as of September 16.

Fianna Fail's support has dropped by three points to 22pc, its lowest level in over a year.

Fine Gael and Fianna Fail are both backing Mr Higgins for a second stint, as is the Labour Party.

Gavin Duffy, Joan Freeman, Presidents Higgins and Sean Gallagher are currently the four official candidates in the presidential race, with Mr Duffy receiving his fourth nomination on Friday from Waterford City and County Council.

The other hopeful independent candidates have until September 26 to convince undeclared councils for their vote, with the election taking place on October 26.

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