Irish Times Poll: It’s all about Higgins, Gallagher and McGuinness (and poor Gay Mitchell)…

Well that’s one of my Betfair punts in the waste basket, and the other one could yet cost me some serious cash. However, let’s remember for now that this is still only a gameshow!

The Red C poll results are out later, but for now, this is the #Aras11 world according to Ipsos/MRB:

Michael D Higgins 23 per cent (up five points); Seán Gallagher 20 per cent (up seven points); Martin McGuinness 19 per cent (not in last poll); Mary Davis 12 per cent (no change); David Norris 11 per cent (down 14 points); Gay Mitchell 9 per cent (down 12 points); and Dana Rosemary Scallon 6 per cent (not in last poll).

Two long distance runners keeping it steady (Higgins and McGuinness), and one surger (Sean Gallagher). Whether Gallagher’s surge is merely a sprint or serious momentum, we’ve yet to find out. But he seems to have won out over Mary Davis. Norris is tanking; possibly because of the abject nature of his long drawn out campaign to get the nominations he should have secured months ago.

Davis is steady, but needs the kind of momentum Gallagher appears to have stolen from her. She may not be the Continuity Mary candidate she hoped for (it’s also Twenty one years since there was a non Mary in the Aras.

But ironically Mitchell’s dive is the interesting one. Having been buried in Europe since since 2004 (double jobbing with a Dail seat until 2007) he is clearly struggling for name recognition. He’s bright, analytical, and passionate, but it is also true that he would not have been on the party ticket had Enda Kenny had his way.

The fact that the Taoiseach could not get his own candidate – the until lately independent Pat Cox – past his parliamentary party whose own preferred candidate in turn seems to be being rejected by its own voters, suggests the new incumbents at Leinster House have little of Fianna Fail’s understanding of the base.

We might infer then that FG’s popularity seems invested more in the person of its leader than in the secure base structure of its parliamentary party… Hmmm… It seems we may have been here before…

Anyway, another report when the Red C poll comes out later this morning. That should give us a better fix on McGuinness’ progress, since they weight for the ‘reluctance to reveal’ tendency which dogs pollsters regarding Sinn Fein questions.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty