Belfast Telegraph

Trust in politicians near rock bottom, survey reveals

Trust in politicians is "approaching rock bottom" with only 19% of the public thinking they were largely telling the truth during the EU referendum campaign, researchers have said.

Nurses, however, were found to be the most trustworthy professionals, in their first appearance in the annual Ipsos Mori "veracity" survey.

Politicians - a stalwart of the bottom of the list - have sunk even lower in the public's estimation in the year that brought the Brexit vote, the survey found.

The elected representatives are now trusted to tell the truth by 15% of the public, a drop of 6% from last year, according to the report published on Sunday.

The authors said the drop may have been "surprising" if seen in any other year.

"But 2016 is, of course, some way away from being a normal year, and voters' levels of trust in mainstream politicians seem to be approaching rock bottom," they added.

An Ipsos Mori poll just before June's referendum found nearly half of Britons believed politicians from either side were lying while 19% thought they were mostly telling the truth.

The report said: "One rare point of agreement between Leave and Remain voters is that neither of the campaigns covered themselves in glory; between them they demonstrated most of the characteristics that turn voters off.

"Politicians in Westminster in particular have much work to do to start reconnecting with voters and demonstrating that they have priorities other than getting their own viewpoints across and ignoring debate."

Nurses were trusted to tell the truth by 93% of people, while doctors are by 91%, according to the poll of 1,019 adults in October.

Journalists fared little better than politicians with 24% of people trusting them, putting them below bankers, estate agents and lawyers.

Teachers, judges and scientists followed the medical professionals at the top of the list.

Ipsos Mori teamed up with Mumsnet to find out the opinions of women voters who use the parenting website.

Mumsnet CEO Justine Roberts said: "You have to have some sympathy with politicians: it's difficult to be straightforward, honest and transparent - key components of trust - whilst simultaneously toeing the party line.

"In today's world of social media and instant fact-checking, the challenge is to find a new mode of political communication with the prospect of big rewards for those who crack it."

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