More young people recognise Youtuber Mr. Beast than Micheál Martin

More young people recognise Youtuber Mr. Beast than Micheál Martin

More young people aged between 18 and 28 could identify YouTuber Mr. Beast in a photograph, than Tánaiste, Michéal Martin.

It's among the findings conducted by regional youth radio station Beat 102 103 and SPARK, as part of My So-Called Beat Life.

The project was developed to understand young people’s attitudes, behaviours, and thoughts as we come out of the Covid-19 pandemic, and get ‘back to normal’.

Young people in the South East and nationwide were asked questions about themselves, their experiences, radio and phone habits, and politics. The results are based on data collected from Carlow, Kilkenny, Waterford, Wexford, and Tipperary, and the rest of the Republic of Ireland.


The project builds on the 2021 research project ‘My So-Called Covid Life’ to track the lives of young people, and how they have changed.

My So-Called Beat Life heard from a sample of 500 18 to 28-year-olds in the Republic of Ireland, in Spring 2024.

  • More people (63%) correctly named Youtuber Mr.Beast in an image than Michéal Martin (56%) while 83% recognised former Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.
  • Almost one in ten respondents could not name the President of Ireland with just 89% being able to identify Michael D. Higgins.
  • 44% knew Simon Harris with 29% saying the current Taoiseach was Leo Varadkar (To note: The Taoiseach changed during this fieldwork*)
  • 26% of people would vote for Sinn Féin in a general election. 10% said they would vote for Fine Gael, 6% Fianna Fáil and 5% Green Party.
  • More people said they don't know who they would vote for in a general election, than any political party (29%).
  • When asked if there was an election tomorrow, which party would receive their number one vote, excluding those who wouldn’t vote or are undecided, 43% would vote for Sinn Féin.
  • Almost three in five people did not vote in the referendum in March 2024.
  • 5% of respondents did not know there was a referendum in March 2024.

Beat 102 103’s News and Sports Editor Aoife Kearns says these findings are important for us to better understand Gen-Z and the obstacles they face post-Covid.

“I don’t believe this research displays complete disinterest amongst young people in politics. It certainly shows some representatives are more recognisable than others, and what young adults value has likely changed.


“Notably Michael D. Higgins was recognised as President of Ireland by almost 90% of respondents. This is understandable given he has now fulfilled almost two terms as President, but it may also be representative of his renowned status as a symbol of Ireland and Irishness. This is likely aided by his character, from the ‘Miggledy’ nickname in which he is affectionately known, to the love he has for his famous pets often pictured on the grounds of Áras an Úachtaráin.

“What is remarkable is the percentage of young people who do not have a ‘go to’ political party. While this may partially reflect a certain cohort not engaged in politics, it also likely reflects young adults who do not feel any current political parties represent their needs.

“From disrupted education to cost-of-living and housing pressures: Gen-Z has had to overcome a multitude of obstacles in the past four years, and it is important we understand how this time has shaped this generation’s outlook, and understand the impact it continues to have on young adult’s lives.

The research also revealed:

  • More people aged 18 to 28 in the South East source their news from Social Media. (76% South East, 72% Nationally)
  • More young people in the South East source their news from Radio (30% South East, 28% Nationally)
  • 55% of people in the South East said they keep up to date with current affairs through family or friends.One in five said they would consult the newspapers for their news.

Research Executive of the SPARK project My So-Called Beat Life and Waterford native Anne O’Dwyer says: “I think the findings show a lack of interest in politics, whether that stems from a lack of knowledge or simply feeling unrepresented, especially in these challenging times with cost-of-living crisis and the aftermath of Covid. Young people are leaning towards Sinn Féin in the hope to see change.

“Young people rely on social media for information and to have important conversations around political affairs. Access to information is crucial going forward.”

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