Belfast Telegraph

Third say president 'not important'

More than a third of voters do not believe having an elected president is important, a poll has found.

The Paddy Power survey reveals another third still do not know who they will vote for on October 27 out of the current candidates.

But of those already in the running, Michael D Higgins tops the poll - securing 36% of the first preference vote, with Gay Mitchell next on 24%.

The two independent candidates have similar support, with Sean Gallagher on 21% and Mary Davis on 19% respectively.

The survey, carried out by Red C, shows Ms Davis has made gains over the past month, moving up from 15% in August, while support for Mr Higgins fell slightly from 39%. Mr Mitchell and Mr Gallagher's support remains stable.

A total of 1,000 people were quizzed at the start of September, with 63% stating that having an elected president is important. The youngest age groups are most likely to respond in this way.

Elsewhere, most voters - 84% - believe some form of debt forgiveness should be given by the state, but 54% feel this should be strictly based on means testing of ability to pay, and not a blanket relief.

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