Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 27 August 2014

The Young: Our politicians - thumbs down from the majority of Protestants

Young Protestants in Northern Ireland have a lower opinion of politicians than their Catholic counterparts.

Proportionately more Protestants than Catholics gave the local politicians the lower scores, descending to "very bad/ totally useless".

The finding underpins recent research which identified greater alienation among young Protestants, who have also fallen behind Catholics in educational attainment.

And the young people participating who identified themselves as neither Protestant nor Catholic – but 'other' – had an even more scathing opinion of local elected representatives.

The statistics emerged in the third day of a poll carried out for this newspaper as part of our series on 'The Young'. The poll asked a sample of 550 young people from the rising generation – aged between 16 and 24 – how they rated our Northern Ireland politicians.

Perhaps surprisingly, just over a quarter (25.8%) of the sample gave the politicians the highest mark – for "excellent to very good". But a further 21.6% rated them as "very bad", and the largest single total of 28.7% scored politicians as "totally useless" – a combined total of just over 50%.

The remaining 23.8% gave our elected representatives ratings between the highest and lowest scores.

A further drill down into the figures then, however, revealed that 62.9% of the Protestants gave politicians the lowest ratings, compared to 37.1% of Catholics.

And 42.9 % of Protestants gave MPs, MLAs and councillors the top two ratings compared to 57.1%.

"Proportionately more young people who said they were Protestants have a low opinion of NI Politicians," LucidTalk concluded.

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