THE VAST majority of Irish voters want Barack Obama to win the US presidential election in less than three weeks time, according to the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll. It shows a tiny level of support among the electorate for Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
When asked who they would support if they had a vote in the US election, 79 per cent of respondents said Obama while just 5 per cent opted for Romney and 16 per cent had no opinion.
The survey was undertaken last Monday and Tuesday among a representative sample of 1,000 voters aged 18 and over, in face-to-face interviews at 100 sampling points in all constituencies. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 per cent.
Fine Gael voters give twice as much support to Romney than supporters of any other party but, even so, 81 per cent of them would prefer to see an Obama victory.
Labour voters are the least likely to back the Republican challenger, with just 3 per cent of them in his camp. Better-off AB voters are twice as likely to support Mr Romney as those in the poorest DE socio-economic category, but again the level of support for Obama in both groups is overwhelming.
Support for the incumbent is consistent across all age groups with a slight dip in the over-65s, who are more likely than any other age category to back Romney.
Overwhelming support among voters for the Democratic Party candidate is due in part to the historical associations between the party and this country as well as a clear preference for Obama over Romney.
While Irish-American voters are no longer nearly as supportive of the Democrats as they were in the past, the view from this side of the Atlantic has not changed.
The response of the Irish public to visits from Democratic presidents John F Kennedy, Bill Clinton and Obama was in stark contrast to the muted reception afforded to Republicans Richard Nixon and George W Bush.
Ronald Reagan, who secured a significant proportion of Irish American vote, received a slightly better reception in Ireland than other Republican presidents. But he also attracted considerable hostility over American foreign policy.
One of those who led the anti-Reagan protests was President Michael D Higgins.