President would defeat Higgins, poll shows

Sat, Feb 7, 2004, 00:00

The President, Mrs McAleese, would win an overwhelming victory in a presidential election against the Labour Party president, Mr Michael D. Higgins, according to the results of an Irish Times/TNS mrbi poll.

In a contest between the two, 75 per cent would vote for Mrs McAleese and 10 per cent for Mr Higgins, the poll shows. Some 15 per cent have no opinion.

There is close to universal satisfaction with the performance of the President and voters are evenly divided on whether there should be an election when her term of office ends in the autumn.

With Mrs McAleese widely expected to seek a second term, the poll suggests she would receive overwhelming endorsement in all regions, age cohorts and social groups. Mr Higgins scores best among Labour Party voters, but at this point even in this group 69 per cent would back Mrs McAleese with 24 per cent supporting Mr Higgins and 7 per cent having no opinion.