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McGuinness loses ground in Irish president race - poll | Reuters

(Reuters) - Former Irish Republican Army (IRA) commander Martin McGuinness has slipped to fifth from third in the race to become Ireland's president, a poll showed on Sunday, as his Sinn Fein party struggles to match its success in Northern Ireland.

After a wave of criticism of his violent past and accusations he is misrepresenting the extent of his role in the IRA, support for McGuinness has fallen over the last two weeks to 11 percent from 17 percent, ahead of the October 27 election.

Voters instead look set to choose either poet and former culture minister Michael D. Higgins or openly gay senator David Norris, a scholar in the works of novelist James Joyce, for the largely ceremonial role.

Higgins has the support of 27 percent and Norris 20 percent of voters, the Quantum Research/Sunday Independent poll found.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Oct 2nd, 2011 at 03:07:18 PM EST
Amazingly I can find no reference to this story in the on line version of today's Sunday Independent.  Their polls have to be treated with extreme caution because they are often based on small samples, leading questions, and very tendentious "analysis"...

To compare a candidate's current support level with that of two weeks ago is nonsensical because 2 weeks ago no one knew how many candidates were going to succeed in getting a nomination. Norris and Dana, in particular, only secured nominations at the last minute and McGuinness was also sprung on the campaign as a big and late surprise. The Independent is running a rapidly anti-McGuinness campaign which makes anything they say suspect.

I think it will still take some time for voters to make up their minds and for polls to settle into a consistent pattern.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Oct 2nd, 2011 at 07:54:14 PM EST
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I did think a drop from 17% to 11% in two weeks was strange.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Oct 3rd, 2011 at 01:39:54 AM EST
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The piece is by Reuters Dublin correspondent Conor Humphries.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Oct 3rd, 2011 at 01:43:49 AM EST
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Finally found it in the Sindo buried in a tendentious article parroting Fine Gael talking points:

Phil Hogan warns: No terrorist in the Aras - National News - Independent.ie

Excluding the Don't Knows, the poll shows: Michael D Higgins (27 per cent), David Norris (20 per cent), Sean Gallagher (13 per cent), Mary Davis (12 per cent), Martin McGuinness (11 per cent), Gay Mitchell (10 per cent) and Dana Rosemary Scallon (7 per cent).

For the first time the 500 people polled nationwide were also asked for their second preference: analysis shows that Mr Higgins is by far most the most transfer friendly candidate, which presents a conclusion that the election is his to lose.

For example, according to the poll, Mr Higgins will win the second preferences of supporters of Ms Davis (29 per cent), Mr Gallagher (27 per cent), Mr McGuinness (23 per cent), Mr Mitchell (28 per cent), Mr Norris (45 per cent) and Dana Rosemary Scallon (22 per cent).

At 20 per cent overall support, Mr Norris also performs reasonably well on second preference votes in the poll, but at this early stage he is short of the level of support required to mount a serious challenge to Mr Higgins.

A 500 respondent poll has a MOE of +/- 6% so one shouldn't read too much into the figures, however at least the Sindo - unlike Reuters - does not make the mistake of comparing this poll with a previous poll taken when the  field of candidates had not even been finalised. The story itself is a pretty desperate attempt by Fine Gael to revive the fortunes of its candidate, Gay Mitchell, by talking up the "terrorist in the park" factor and mobilising their own base.  Typically, in Irish politics, such a campaign ends up damaging their own candidate and helping a third party - in this case Michel D. Higgins - who has not engaged in such tactics.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Oct 3rd, 2011 at 05:40:58 AM EST
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