Belfast Telegraph

Revealed: Which profession does Northern Ireland public trust least? Estate agents, doctors, priests, builders, politicians ... or journalists

By Bill White

Would you trust the likes of a builder over a solicitor, or a politicians over a doctor?

Latest polling has revealed the level of trust the Northern Ireland public has in various organisations and people.

The Northern Ireland polling company runs regular online tracker polls on topical issues to register changes, trends and opinions.

Its established Northern Ireland opinion panel consists of 5,017 members over the age of 18. It is balanced by gender, age-group, area of residence, and community background, in order to be demographically representative of Northern Ireland.

For December tracker poll topics covered abortion, same-sex marriage the constitution and the legalisation of Marijuana.

For a period of 60 hours between November 30 and December 2, 1,536 people responded to the survey. Those responses were boiled down to 1,080 in order to extrapolate the results to represent Northern Ireland.

Also covered was the subject of trust. Specifically who or what organisations do the people of Northern hold most trustworthy.

And it was found that doctors and nurses were deemed the most trustworthy.

Builders, were also found to be held in higher esteem than priests, civil servants and estate agents.

While Northern Ireland's Stormont politicians were found to be the least trustworthy, followed closely by news organisations.

Lucid Talk managing director, Bill White explains: "As can be seen from the total NI results (Graph 1), NI-Stormont Politicians came bottom of the table with our representative NI poll scoring them at only 28% in terms of level of trust, just below the NI media on 31%.

"At the top of the table doctors/nurses score an 81% trust level, followed by NI teachers on 75%. Interestingly as we move down the table we see that the PSNI score 61%, with NI Solicitors/Lawyers on 49% - sort of indicating that there is some trust level in the police but this deteriorates once solicitors/lawyers get involved."

He continued: "Graph 2 shows how unionists scored these groups in terms of trust and there are some differences from the total Northern Ireland results.

"For example unionists score the PSNI a bit higher in terms of trust at 65%, but Solicitors/Lawyers slightly lower at 46%, and interestingly they also seem a bit more trusting of their clergy than the nationalist/republicans (55% vs 49%).

"Graph 3 shows how nationalists/republicans think of these various groups and organisations in terms of trust. Noticeable that, compared to unionists, the PSNI drops to 59%, whilst solicitors/lawyers goes up to 51% compared to the total results. I say 'go up' here but 51% isn't anything that positive.

"Interesting also that nationalists/republicans are a bit more trustworthy of Northern Ireland politicians than unionists (29% vs 26%), but of course both these scores are still very low.

"Finally, and maybe most importantly, in the context of NI politicians (and civil servants) this poll was taken before the outcry over the £400M heating scheme scandal broke in the media.

"If this poll had been carried out after this was publicised, would this have made a difference to these results? We'll have to leave you to decide that one."

You can follow LucidTalk on Twitter.

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