Incoming First Minister Peter Robinson has won the grudging support of the business community during his year as Finance Minister, an exclusive survey for the Belfast Telegraph revealed today.
The Goldblatt McGuigan Business Sector Survey of more than 100 business leaders shows that slightly less than a majority — 48% — think Mr Robinson has turned in a good or very good performance as Minister.
But 40% of respondents rated him as average, with 12% saying he has been poor or very poor.
"I have no doubt that Peter Robinson, on the eve of taking over the mantle of First Minister, will be pleased with how the business community view his performance," said Michael Clarke, director of management consultancy at Goldblatt McGuigan.
"As Minister for Finance and Personnel he sought to bring a business like approach to the delivery of public services. Back in January when he unveiled the Programme for Government and Budget he stressed that the economy will be the Executive's top priority for the next three years. As First Minister the business community will be expecting him to deliver on that promise."
The poll was conducted earlier this month. By and large, business leaders are reserving judgment on the Executive's performance.
Large sections of the business community are warm towards the Executive's performance so far, but even greater numbers have yet to make up their mind.