Belfast Telegraph

The DUP: How Northern Ireland public rate leader Arlene Foster

By Sue Doherty

The DUP’s Arlene Foster is the “least trustworthy’ and least likeable” party leader in Northern Ireland, according to LucidTalk’s latest Tracker poll.

Among the survey’s more than 3,400 participants, 63% rate her trustworthiness as very low or bad while 68% regard her likeability with the same level of dissatisfaction.

Commenting on what the results might mean for Arlene Foster, pollster Bill White of LucidTalk told Belfast Telegraph Digital: “Her trustworthiness has always been poor among nationalists but it has been growing among unionists, as she has possibly been perceived to have backtracked on the Irish language.”

When asked what impact these poor ratings might have at the polls, Mr White said that personality is not usually the main issue on polling day. “ People will still vote for a party if they have reservations about the leader. Issues such as trustworthiness and likeability could become more significant after the election.”


The question put to panelists about trustworthiness was: “Taken 'in the round' - How do you rate each of the 'top five' Northern Ireland political party leaders in terms of trustworthiness, e.g. following through on policy commitments, sticking to principles, etc? (Please answer neutrally and honestly, i.e. disregard your personal political views).” 

DUP leader Arlene Foster fares worst, with 63% rating her trust factor as very low or bad. This is almost twice as many as distrust Michelle O’Neill (32%),

Naomi Long of the Alliance Party scores highest for trustworthiness, with 64% giving her a moderate or very high rating. The SDLP’s Colum Eastwood also does well, with 50% finding him either moderately or highly trustworthy.

According to the poll, voters have no strong opinion about the UUP’s new  leader, Robin Swann on trust, with 46% giving him a neutral score.


According to the poll, likeability is an even bigger issue for Arlene Foster than trustworthiness.

The question here was:” Taken 'in the round' - How do you rate each of the 'top five' NI Political Party Leaders in terms of likeability, .e.g having this person as a friend/acquaintance, attending a social event and/or having a coffee/drink/meal with this person? (Please answer neutrally and honestly i.e. disregard your personal political views).”

Again, Arlene Foster gets the lowest approval of all the leaders, with 68% rating her likeability as very low or bad.

Michelle O’Neill once is once more second lowest but, again, the percentage of people rating her likeability as very low or bad, at 33%, is just under half of Mrs Foster’s number.

Naomi Long (62%) and Colum Eastwood (55%) again prove popular in the moderately high or very high categories while the poll participants were again neutral (44%) about Robin Swann.

LucidTalk is a member of all recognised professional Polling and Market Research organisations, including the UK Market Research Society (UK-MRS), the British Polling Council (BPC), and ESOMAR (European Society of Market Research organisations).

Belfast Telegraph Digital


From Belfast Telegraph