In the midst of all the opinion poll watching this week a question asked in the TV3/Millward poll on whom voters would vote for in the Presidential election may have been a little lost.
Senator David Norris topped the poll at 20%, with those responding with his name rather than by being prompted. Fergus Finlay and Michael D. Higgins received 8% each, followed by Bertie (5%), Miriam O’Callaghan (declared non-runner 4%) John Bruton, Brian Crowley, Emily O’Reilly and Mairead McGuinness (2%). No sign of Sean Kelly but sure he only tweeted his intention of taking the whole thing seriously last week and has had no photo opportunities in nearly a month to hog some limelight.
David Norris was also more popular amongst Labour Party voters than Michael D. Higgins or Fergus Finlay. Not that this will make much difference to getting any support because now that there is a competition for the Labour Party motion there is no chance of any support for David Norris’s candidacy. It is clear that the Senator will have to go touring the country looking for councillors to pass motions in support of him. (If he can’t get 20 members of the oireachtas to nominate him he has to get the nomination of 4 county councils). This will be interesting outside of Dublin and away from councils which have large Labour Party memberships. Other candidates have tried to get council support in order to contest with Dana and Dermot Nally running in 1997 with the support of 5 councils each.
This is the councillors time to shine in national politics so it’s not impossible but it is hard work. Unlike many of his other colleagues in the Seanad David Norris is not known amongst councillors and has not had to ask them for votes before. He will also need a huge movement on the ground, the make up of which will probably give rainbow politics a whole new meaning!
Senator Norris in reaction to the poll has asked political parties not to block his attempts to content the election.
And while considering all this Norris may have to contest a Seanad election if a general election is called. I expect that there will be a lot of thinking and some fundraising happening in the next few months.