With just under six days to go before the Presidential Election, a new opinion poll has suggested the incumbent, Michael D Higgins is maintaining a substantial lead over his rivals.

The Sunday Times/Behaviour & Attitudes poll suggests Mr Higgins is on 69%, 58 points ahead of his nearest rival Sean Gallagher who is on 11%. 

Sinn Féin candidate Liadh Ní Riada is on 7%, one point ahead of Joan Freeman on 6%.

Gavin Duffy is on 4%, while Peter Casey is on 2%. 

The poll was conducted before Mr Casey's controversial comments about members of the travelling community, and so will not reflect any changes in his support which may occur as a result of those remarks. 

Speaking on the 'Floating Voter' Podcast, on the Independent.ie website last week Mr Casey claimed that the State's recognition of the Travelling community as an ethnic minority was "a load of nonsense".

He also described Travellers as "basically people that are camping on someone else's land" and asserted that they were "not paying their fair share of taxes in society".

The poll was conducted from 5 October to 16 October in a series of face-to-face interviews with 930 voters.

The poll has a 3.3% margin of error.