An opinion poll of voters' intentions in the Presidential election indicates independent Senator David Norris is ahead in the race to succeed Mary McAleese in November.

The poll shows potential Fianna Fáil candidate Éamon Ó Cuív coming last in the list of candidates put to respondents.

The Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll asked 1,000 people who they would vote for if the election was held tomorrow.

With 'don't knows' excluded, the survey shows Senator Norris with 25%.

Fine Gael candidate Gay Mitchell is in second place on 21%, followed by Labour candidate Michael D Higgins with 18%.

Independent candidates Sean Gallagher and Mary Davis had 13% and 12% respectively. Mr Ó Cuív was included in the poll and had 11%.

Fianna Fáil has not yet made a decision on whether to run a candidate, with a decision not expected until late August or early September.

However, the Irish Times said Mr Ó Cuív's name was included in the survey as he was the only party Oireachtas member to formally confirm a willingness to run.

Although Senator Norris led the poll, he still has not received the necessary support of four county councils or 20 Oireachtas members required to contest the election.

The poll found 28% of the electorate were in the 'don't know' category and Mr Higgins received the most transfers of the candidates.

Ms Davis said the real campaign had not yet begun and the figures showed the public were supportive of Independent candidates.

Mr Mitchell has said he is very happy with his showing in this morning's poll.

On the question of whether Senator Norris can secure the support to get on the ballot paper, Mr Mitchell said he was a democrat and believed they should let everyone who wanted to into the race.