-1, diagnosis 962 students surveyed across Ireland

-Higgins, cialis Norris, Gallagher make top three

-Norris loses out to Higgins in Trinity

-603 students surveyed in UCD, only two say they will vote Dana.

Michael D. Higgins is the most popular Presidential candidate amongst university students a national student poll, coordinated by the College Tribune, has revealed.

34% of university students who intend on voting in the election say they will give their first preference to Higgins. Norris is second in the national poll on 25%, Gallagher on 17% and McGuinness on 12%.

Davis, Mitchell and Dana performed poorly with 6%, 4% and 2% respectively.

1,962 students were polled across Ireland’s seven universities last Thursday by various student media outlets.

74% of students intend voting, however with only two weeks to go to polling day almost a third of these have still not decided to whom they will give their first preference.

Despite performing well amongst students nationally David Norris, Trinity College Dublin Senator, came second in the university (30%) to Michael D. Higgins (44%). The result will be a source of disappointment for Norris who has represented the university in the Seanad since 1987 and was also a lecturer and a student in the college.

Higgins is more popular in Trinity than in any other university in the country. The seventy year old also commanded a high percentage in NUI Galway, his hometown, with 41%. Higgins was the candidate of choice in every university apart from DCU and the University of Limerick where Norris was favoured.

The students poll underlined a recent trend in polls conducted by national newspapers with Dragon’s Den star Sean Gallagher remaining popular. 17% of those polled say they will give him their first preference. Gallagher scored highest in NUI Maynooth and in the University of Limerick with 23% and 22% respectively.

Sinn Fein candidate Martin McGuinness polled 12% nationally However opinion on the ex-IRA man contrasted sharply between campuses. McGuinness proved particularly popular in UCD and the University of Limerick with 17% in each university however only 3% of Trinity College Dublin students say they will give him their first preference.

Independent Mary Davis and Fine Gael’s Gay Mitchell performed poorly in all universities. Trinity College were the most supportive campus of Davis with 8%, having obtained 6% nationally. Mitchell scored 4% nationally with highest support for him coming from the students of UCC, 6% say they will give him their first preference.

Only 2% of students nationally support Dana Rosemary Scallon. 603 students were surveyed in UCD by the College Tribune, only two students said she would be their first preference for President. Dana poll 0% in the University of Limerick, where ULFM and An Focal student newspaper conducted the poll.

Although 74% of university students intend voting on Thursday, 27th October, 27% of these have still not decided who they will vote for. 28% of students in UCD who plan to vote remain undecided . 86% of UCD students have their mind made up compared to only 58% of NUI Maynooth who know who they will be voting for.

Gender doesn’t appear to be an issue in this election for students, with male and female students surveyed following similar trends.

In UCD more males intend voting than females. 79% of male students surveyed here say they will cast a vote whilst only 63% of females surveyed plan to do so.

Of those female UCD students who plan on voting 38% have not yet decided who they will give their first preference to compared to 20% of UCD male students.

Davis is slightly more popular amongst female students in UCD with 5% saying they will give her their first preference only 3% of UCD males say they will do the same.

Likewise Mitchell is more popular amongst male students in UCD than female students. With 6% of male students planning on giving him their first preference in comparison to 1% of female UCD voters.

22% of university students say they will not vote in the election with 4% still undecided.

In UCD, 17% of students who are not casting a vote say they cannot do so because they are unable to get home on polling day, a Thursday.

20% of UCD students who are not voting say they simply do not care about the presidential election, compared to 16% in Trinity College Dublin, where the poll was conducted by the University Times newspaper, and 34% in DCU, where the poll was carried out by student radio station DCUFM.

24% of UCD students who will not be voting in the election say they are eligible but are not registered to vote.

The poll was carried out by a variety of student media outlets including studentnews.ie in Cork, Sin newspaper in Galway and The Print newspaper in Maynooth.

Students from every university faculty were surveyed and the national results are a weighted figure based on overall student populations in each of the seven universities.


 Donie O’Sullivan