Northern Ireland news

Poll: Robin Swann is best performing minister but damning view of London's handling of Covid-crisis

A poll found that 71 per cent of voters believe Robin Swann has performed well during the Covid-19 crisis
Ryan McAleer

MOST voters believe the executive is managing the coronavirus pandemic well, with health minister Robin Swann emerging as the most capable politician, a survey suggests.

LucidTalk’s Spring tracker poll found that two-thirds of people questioned in the north approve of Stormont’s management of the crisis.

Almost the same proportion said London is managing it badly - although this rose to 97 per cent of nationalist/republican respondents.

Just over a fifth of people in the north thought Stormont had performed badly.

Meanwhile, more than three-quarters of people surveyed said the Irish government has been clear in its messaging on easing lockdown restrictions, with Stormont (69 per cent) and the Scottish administration (66 per cent) also rated well.

But 70 per cent felt messaging from the British government has not been clear - with most unionists also believing guidance from the Irish government has been better than London.

The weighted data, based on the responses of 1,851 people, was gathered between May 22-25.

LucidTalk managing director Bill White said the controversy over Dominic Cummings' 250-mile journey to Durham had only a limited impact.

“The story didn’t break in the media until late into the ‘live’ poll period. So, yes, the Cummings story may have had some small impact. But I think it can be concluded that the UK Government ratings, and Boris Johnson’s scores and ratings, would have been just as bad even without the Dominic Cummings story.”

Mr White also said the results show a strong trend of people wanting the lockdown to end.

Just over half (54 per cent) said the Executive should start easing lockdown measures right away, while 85 per cent wanted changes over the next month.

Younger people were much more eager to begin easing restrictions immediately.

“It’s notable that many people support the loosening of the lockdown now – but they really want it to happen in a big way in 3-5 weeks’ time,” Mr White said.

The survey also suggests that more people are worried about Covid-19’s impact on the economy (91 per cent) than their own health or that of their family (72 per cent).

In terms of approval ratings for individual politicians, 71 per cent rated Robin Swann’s performance as good or great.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar found favour with two-thirds of respondents, ahead of Arlene Foster (62 per cent) and Michelle O’Neill (53 per cent).

By contrast, 64 per cent rated Boris Johnson’s recent performance as ‘bad/awful’ - with 97 per cent of nationalists/republican rating the prime minister badly, compared to just one in three unionists.

Leo Varadkar secured a 57 per cent approval rating among unionists for his management of the Covid-19 crisis - the same result as Boris Johnson.

The political leader with the poorest rating among unionists was Michelle O’Neill - 56 per cent rated her as bad/awful.

Among nationalist respondents, 56 per cent approved of Robin Swann’s performance, just ahead of Arlene Foster (53 per cent).

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