Opinion polls and political popularity


Sir, – Your editorial (January 25th) rightly says that Leo Varadkar has had a “dramatic impact” on Irish politics since last summer. Indeed, the Taoiseach currently enjoys an excellent approval rating of 60 per cent and satisfaction with the Government is up to 44 per cent.

However, the Opposition need not despair just yet. Opinion polls should be treated with caution. It is one thing to lead in the polls and quite another to win an actual vote, as shock international results have recently shown. Nowhere was this more the case than in the 2016 US presidential election. By coincidence, the American polling organisation Gallup has just confirmed that Donald Trump’s first year average approval rating is the lowest of any president since the second World War, at 38.4 per cent.

Despite the trends in the polls, it would take a brave person to confidently predict that Mr Varadkar and Fine Gael will win the next election; and, perhaps, a foolish one to bet against Mr Trump being re-elected US president in 2020. – Yours, etc,


Arbour Hill, Dublin 7.

Sir, – The most popular Taoiseach since Bertie Ahern? What could possibly go wrong? – Yours, etc,


Dublin 8.