Political opinions – March ’17

As usual, /r/ukpolitics answered a few of my questions on a variety of issues, with around 3300 responses.

A reminder: the scale was 1 to 7, 1 strongly disagreeing with the statement, 7 strongly agreeing. In the party splitting, Lab+, LabN and Lab- mean pro-Corbyn, Corbyn neutral and anti-Corbyn respectively.


Firstly, the relatively uncontroversial issues:

  1. It should not be a crime for an 18 year old to sleep with a 15 year old
  2. Ducks make excellent pets
  3. A black person running for PM would face no significant reduction in their chance of winning due to their race
  4. Ecstasy ought to be legal

First four

The remainder of the questions shall be given with a full scale, starting with the smallest distance between the extremes and ending with the largest


We ought to have an elected second chamber in place of the House of Lords

elected 2nd house.jpg


Women are naturally better suited to be primary school teachers than men

Women teachers


I prefer a corrupt politician to an incompetent one

corrupt > incomp


I would be happy if all faith schools were secularised

no faith schools


Corporation tax ought to be abolished

no corp tax


The law should be changed so that spouses of British citizens automatically are given British citizenship

Spouse


I’m more than 90% certain that Labour will lose the next two general elections

Labour 90


Referendums are a good addition to our democracy

refs


I would be comfortable with my 5 year old child knowing that their teacher was married to a person of the same sex

gay teacher


The number of people going to university should be reduced significantly

uni


Trans women are not real women

trans


I would be comfortable with my 5 year old daughter being taught by a woman wearing a hijab (headscarf with no facial covering)

hijab

Politicians and political figures – survey results

As usual, I’ll polled the UKpolitics subreddit to find out how they feel about political figures.

I must stress that this particular poll received only ~450 responses, so the only data that I am comfortable stating is accurate within a small margin of error are those of the Lib Dems and Conservatives.

The following five statements received no great difference by party affiliation, so they are here shown as total responses.

Reminder: questions are answered 1 to 7, 1 = strongly disagree; 7 = strongly agree. In later questions, Lb- denotes Labour supporters who are anti- Corbyn, Lb N are Corbyn neutral and Lb + are pro-Corbyn.


“This isn’t a question, just a warning to mobile users that all following questions are 1 to 7, but your screen might only show 1 to 5. Please choose any number (but I recommend not to pick 2).”

not 2.jpg


“The sexual assault charges against Julian Assange are not authentic, and there is almost certainly some governmental foul play going on.”

assange


“On balance, Chairman Mao did more good than harm”

mao


“Corbyn voted Leave”

corbyn-leave


“The duck meme should be brought to an end”

duck-end


 The remainder of statements will be shown with party breakdown, from least controversial to most.

“At heart, Hilary Clinton is a good person”

hillary


“Gordon Brown did a good job of responding to the financial crisis”

brown


“Jeremy Corbyn supports the IRA”

ira


“Theresa May is a better PM than David Cameron”

may-v-cam


“If I were in Germany, I’d vote for Merkel in the upcoming elections”

merkel


“Tony Blair left the country in a much better condition than he found it”

blair


“Nicola Sturgeon dislikes the English”

sturgeon


“Bernie Sanders would make a better president than Trump or Hilary”

sanders


“Nigel Farage is a racist”

farage


“It would be terrible if Marine Le Pen became president of France”

le-pen

/r/ukpolitics 2016 survey results

Apparently Christmas time is a good time to put up a poll: previously, I’ve only ever got a little over 1000 results, but yesterday’s survey got over 6700. The breakdown by party is as follows:

party-split


 

Firstly, the boring results. Four of the questions did not produce any significant variation by party, so I’ve simply put them on a table here to read. Remember, 1 = strongly disagreed with the statement, 4 = neither agreed nor disagreed, 7 = strongly agreed.

The statements were:

  • Sending people to Mars is a good use of resources
  • If a train were coming down a track and was going to hit a middle aged man, who was a bit of a dick, I’d pull a level to divert it to another track where it would hit 100 ducks

  • Robots are very likely to cause mass unemployment in the next 100 years

  • Although loneliness amongst the elderly is a problem, the government can’t really do much about it

first-four

 Now, the pretty results:

I don’t have any doubt that climate change is real and that humans are causing it

climate-change

If my daughter married a reasonably religious muslim, I’d be concerned

muslim-daughter

I’m disappointed how little the environment ever gets mentioned in British politics

environment


Farage’s ‘breaking point’ poster was morally wrong

breaking-point


Most gay men aren’t any more effeminate than straight men, it’s just media stereotypes and confirmation bias that makes people think otherwise

masc-gays


Although obviously there were dark parts to it, I think on the whole we should be proud of the history of the British Empire

empire


Women are naturally less interested in politics than men

 women-politics


Farage deserves at least a small portion of the blame for Jo Cox’s death

farage-blame


I think Britain will suffer from a Trump presidency

trump


I am uncomfortable with the idea of future geneticists creating a baby using the DNA of two men

gay-babies


Although some people may get a bit carried away with it, PC culture doesn’t actually cause any real problems

pc-culture

A Brexit outcome that kept freedom of movement would not fulfil the spirit of the Leave vote

fom


I’d support the idea to ban advertising from public spaces, like they’ve done in Sao Paulo

ban-ads


Someone who’s four grandparents were Pakistani, but who was born in Britain and whose parents were born in Britain, is 100% British

brown-brit


Feminism has gone too far

feminism


Political and social attitudes survey results

Last week I put up a survey and 830 people gave their views on a series of political and social attitudes. Although it was not intended as such, the questions actually clumped into groups, so each of their results will be displayed together for comparison.

As a reminder, statements were given and responders give answers from 1 to 7, whether they strongly disagreed (1) or strongly agreed (7).

Another reminder, people who said they would vote Labour were split according to feeling towards Corbyn, noted here as pro-Corbyn (Lab+), Corbyn neutral (LabN) and anti-Corbyn (Lab-).


Set 1

The three statements here were:

“I would like immigration to be reduced to lower than 100,000 per year”

“People who say they don’t like Islam are likely to also be racists”

“I would feel more comfortable if an African Christian family moved in next door than an Asian Muslim one”

immigration-set


 

Set 2

“I would feel more uncomfortable seeing two men make out on the seat in front of me on the bus than if it were a man and a woman”

“If I had a gay son, I would be significantly more uncomfortable if he were very effeminate rather than bloke-y”

lgbt-set


 

Set 3

“Consent classes for university students probably lower the amount of rape.”

“If I were in a club and a female friend came to me crying because someone pinched her bum, I’d think she was over-reacting”

girl-set


 

Set 4

“Remain-supporting MPs who now say that we ought to end freedom of movement are respecting democracy, and it’s unfair to label them as doing anything to grab votes”

“I feel optimistic about our country in the next 5 years”

future


 

Set 5

“I would pay an extra 20% for energy if it were completely green”

“If I were PM, fighting climate change would be in my top 5 priorities”

CC set.jpg


Set 6

“Ed Miliband would have made a good PM”

“Tony Blair was a good PM”

“David Cameron was a good PM”

“I would consider voting Labour in 2025 if they had a centrist leader”

“I would consider voting UKIP in 2025”

pm-set


 

Misc set

“Left wing people tend to be kinder than right wing people”

“I am confident I know who was Labour leader before Tony Blair”

“Ecstasy should be legalised”

“I would accept a free £5 even if it meant that a duck had to die”

misc-set

Controversial Politics Survey results

Last night’s survey was a little quieter than usual, with just under 600 responses. Unfortunately, that meant that neither the SNP nor the Greens had enough responses to make it onto the results sheet today.

There were 11 questions asked, of which 5 saw a smaller range than 1.5 in between the highest and lowest average answer per party, so they will be displayed just in table form. The 6 more controversial questions have the normal format, where Lab+ means Pro-Corbyn Labour, LabN is Corbyn neutral, and Lab- is anti-Corbyn. Once again, a reminder than 1 means strongly disagree and 7 strongly agree. Enjoy.


 

It is possible for an adult to significantly increase their base intelligence.”

intelligence


 

If I really had to answer the trolley problem, and chose to pull the level to save 1000 lives at the cost of one, I would still feel a certain amount of guilt for being responsible for the death of that one person.”

trolley


Thinking about the person I care most about in my life, I’d accept my non-dominant hand being removed instead of their non-dominant thumb.”

thumb


I’d be comfortable living and raising a family next to a nuclear power plant.”

nuclear power


If I really were given the choice to become PM, despite all the hours, stress and responsibility, I would take the job.”

PM


And now, for the 6 issues that divided groups a bit more, in order of increasing division:

There is a worrying level of sexism and homophobia amongst British Muslims compared to the rest of the population.”

Hom & Se


I would go hungry for 24 hours to save the lives of 24 ducks.”

duck


There are a significant number of situations in our society where it is much more difficult to be male.”

Male


If Scotland voted for independence then its economy suffered significantly, I’d feel a certain amount of schadenfreude.”

scotland.jpg


It is preferable for an adoption agency to favour an opposite sex couple over a same sex couple.”

adoption


If I were PM and Russia fired nuclear missiles at us, I would fire back, knowing that millions of innocents would die.”

trident

Abstract philosophy survey results

So I put up an abstract political philosophy survey on Reddit yesterday, and got over 1300 replies to 9 questions.

I have decided to show them on a net percentage scale, i.e. if 80% choose blue and 20% choose yellow, the overall marker will be on 60% towards blue.

N.b. for ease of reading, the end points vary among 25, 50, 75 and 100.



You are walking down the street and a genie appears from behind a bush. It presents you with ten cardboard boxes, 9 of which contain £10,000,000 and one of which contains your instant, painless death. What do you do?

Boxes


A genie (another) appears and offers you a choice. Either the genie will donate £1000 to starving children in a third world country, and £10,000 to a political group advocating that vaccinations cause autism, or neither group will get the money.
Donations

You are a judge. You are presented with 5 men, 4 of whom have each murdered one person, and 1 who is totally innocent. You have divine knowledge that the murderers will not murder again if they are freed, but you are also unaware of who the innocent man is, and there is no way to find out. The sentence for murder is 30 years in prison. What is your sentence?
Con jail

Con

green jail

Green

Lab minus

Lab-

 

 

 

 

 

 

Labn

Lab N 

Lab plus jail

Lab+

LD jail

LD

UKIP jail.jpg

UKIP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

You are standing on a bridge over a railway track. You see a runaway train coming down the track towards two people tied to it. You can reach a lever that would divert the train onto an off-flow track, with only one person tied to it. What do you do?

Unfortunately, the results were too tight to clearly display, so they are as follows:

Lever


You are a soldier dealing with a terrorist cell in a foreign country. You have captured a 12 year old who knows about a bomb that will be set of tomorrow and kill 2 people. The child has been brainwashed into keeping the secret of the bomb. You have divine knowledge that if you torture the child, you will get the knowledge and be able to stop the bomb on time. What do you do?
Torture


You have been made governor of the Bank of England and the chancellor asks you which of his two economic plans you recommend. The first will increase the average income of the poor by £300, and of the richest 5% by £10,000, which will not be taxable income. The second raises the wages of the poor by £100, and the rich will have no increase. Which budget do you suggest?
Budget


You are visiting a city and see an injured duck. Your train home only runs once every 4 hours. If you phone the animal rescue, you will miss your train in 10 minutes and you will have to wait at the station for the next one. If you leave the duck, it will die overnight.

Duck

You are at war. Deciphering an intercepted code, you learn two things about your enemy. A single spot in their defence will be at its weakest in ten days, and they will attack one of your cities in five days. What do you do?
 

city 


You are the head of a campaign for a presidential candidate. You have been called into court to testify about your boss. You know she has been part of a scandal covering up child abuse , but also you divinely know that the country will be significantly better off if she wins. If you tell the truth she will lose; if you lie, it will be a closed case and justice will never be done. No one will ever know that you lied except your boss.
Truth or lie

Raw data can be found here.

 

 

Theresa May vs Jeremy Corbyn

In a survey on the UK politics subreddit, over 1100 respondents gave their opinion on whether Theresa May or Jeremy Corbyn would be better for the country on a selection of variables. The responses have been separated by party and depicted below.

1 = Much better under May, 2 = somewhat better under May, 3 = a little better under May, 4 = about the same, 5 = a little better under Corbyn, 6 = somewhat better under Corbyn, 7 = much better under Corbyn

In the party guide, Lab- = anti-Corbyn, LabN = Corbyn neutral, Lab+ = pro-Corbyn


 

Economic equality

Econ eq

Social equality

Soc eq

Economic growth

Econ growth

Education standards

Education.jpg

The environment

environment

Protection from terrorism

Terrorism

A strong Brexit deal

Brexit

The NHS

NHS

Average of the 8 factors

average of 8


 

If you would like to see the full results, click here.

Labour support for Corbynite policies

Yesterday, I published a short poll asking people on the Labour subreddit how they felt about a number of Jeremy Corbyn’s policies, to determine whether the claim that Corbyn was the problem more than his policies were true.

Below, I’ve changed my previous colour scheme for ease of reading, and we can imagine someone asking a four-year-old what they think of Corbyn and answering with trafic lights, i.e. the green is the pro-Corbyn group, yellow the neutrals, and red the anti-Corbyn group. So it definitely was not a subliminal attempt to paint the anti group as the ‘true Labour’, before I receive such an accusation.

As a reminder of the scale: 1 = very bad idea, 2 = bad idea, 3 = a little bit of a bad idea, 4 = neither good nor bad idea, 5 = a little bit of a good idea, 6 = a good idea, 7 = a very good idea


 

Railways should be nationalised

Rail nationalisation

HS2 should be scrapped

HS2.jpg

Diplomacy with Hamas and Hezbollah helps the peace process

Ham n hez.jpg

Trident should be scrapped

scrap tri.jpg

The UK should not bomb ISIS in Syria

no syria.jpg

The Falkland islands should have “some degree of joint administration”

falklands.jpg

We should impose an arms embargo on Israel

israel.jpg

Nuclear power should be banned

nuclear power

The energy companies should be nationalised

nationalise energy.jpg

The coal mines should be reopened

mines.jpg

A maximum wage should be introduced

max wage

Britain should be a republic

republic

“We should be adult and grown up and decriminalise cannabis”

weed.jpg

If you would like to see the graphs of the original data, you can do so here 


 

 

Political controversy

For the third time, I took to the political forums of Reddit to find out how much support a set of controversial political opinions might receive, and how it breaks down party by party. Over 700 people responded to 20 statements, and gave an answer between 1 and 7, where 1 meant a strong disagreement with the statement and 7 a strong agreement.

I have decided to display the 20 statements here not in the order they were presented, but rather in increasing range between the highest and lowest scores among the seven groups (UKIP, Con, Lib Dem, Green, Lab (pro-Corbyn), Lab (Corbyn neutral) and Lab (anti-Corbyn), i.e. from least controversial to most controversial.

Firstly, a brief look at the demographics of our respondents.

Age:

Age

 

Party voting intention, if an election were held now:

Voting

 

And a breakdown of Labour voters:

Corbyn


 

The first few of our statements were rather uncontroversial and had a range of under 1, so I have merely given these as averages to avoid a messy cluster on one part of the scale.

Reminder: the left of the chart means ‘strongly disagree’ and the right ‘strongly agree’.

“If parents choose to eschew modern medicine and bring a sick child to a faith healer, the state should permanently remove the child before damage can be done. ” [Range = 0.3]

Faith healer


 

 

“It is wrong to abort a baby for the sole reason of its gender.” [Range = 0.4]

Gender abortion.jpg


 

“If I knew I would not get caught, I would consider murder. ” [Range = 0.5]

Murder


 

“Nuclear power is no less safe than renewable energy sources. ” [Range = 0.9]

Nuclear power


 

“Democracy is overrated. ” [Range = 0.9]

Democracy

 

An interesting point to note is that a “controversial opinion” works the opposite way for individuals compared to groups: as all 7 groups were more or less in agreement for the 5 above statements, you could argue that they are uncontroversial, yet that also means that any individual disagreeing with the average *is* controversial. Conversely, if the 7 groups are not at all in agreement, while that might mean it is a controversial issue, any individual with an opinion on an extreme end will not be without company.


 

And now to our more party-divisive issues.

[Note: in the charts below, L+ = Labour (pro-Corbyn), L- = Labour (anti-Corbyn) and LN = Labour (Corbyn neutral).]

“There is nothing wrong with euthanasia. ”

Euthanasia


 

“People who take homeopathic remedies then die deserve no sympathy. ”

Homeopathy


 

“Russia is an enemy of the West.”

Russia.png

This issue appears to be a lot more random than others in terms of party allegiance, as the Greens and Conservatives are in close agreement, with UKIP and the anti-Corbyn Labour faction taking the end positions.


 

“The Middle East would be a much better place if it weren’t for Western Intervention.”

Middle East.jpg


 

“The government should be able to read people’s emails, texts etc in order to fight terrorism.”

Spying

N.b. the “L-” on 2.2 should be a LN. Am I going to change it? Nope.


 

“A degree in English is intrinsically less worthwhile than a degree in engineering. ”

English.jpg


 

“Most poor people are in that situation through their own actions rather than from factors beyond their control. ”

Poor people.jpg


 

“The majority of black people do not face serious racism in the UK. ”

Black


 

“Women’s rights have now more or less caught up in the UK, and feminists should focus their attention on more serious issues abroad. ”

Women


 

“The death penalty should be re-introduced. ”

Death penalty.jpg


 

“Donald Trump would be a better president than George W Bush.”

Trump


 

“The beliefs of a majority of Muslims in the UK are incompatible with modern Britain.”

Muslims.jpg


And now to our top three most controversial issues:

3rd:

“Practicality aside, there is nothing unfair about a top tax band of 90%.”

Top tax.jpg


 

2nd:

“It is preferable for children to have a parent of each gender than same-sex parents.”

Gay parents.jpg


And, with a range of 3.8, our most controversial statement:

“It is immoral to have nuclear weapons as they are fundamentally civilian-targeting weapons.”

Nuclear weapons.jpg


 

An interesting point that the final issue highlights is how frequently the pro-Corbyn faction of Labour overlaps with the Greens, and the same between the anti-Corbyn faction and the Lib Dems. That said, there are a number of issues where that is not the case, and a few cases where the anti-Corbyn faction took a ‘more left’ view than the pro-Corbyn faction, for example on sympathy for those who take homeopathic medicine or on Donald Trump.

 

 

 

What makes a good PM?

This week I posted a survey on what qualities people people want to see in a potential PM, and had around 450 responses. They were asked for each of the qualities whether they found the quality personally important, and whether that quality was important in winning an election. They were then asked to rate 8 politicians on those qualities . All of these were on a 1 – 5 scale, where 1 is the lowest and 5 the highest.

The qualities that were discussed were being patriotic, intelligent, tough, honest, good looking, compassionate and an ordinary person. The politicians in question were David Cameron, Jeremy Corbyn, Nigel Farage, Ed Milliband, Boris Johnson, Theresa May, George Osborne and Chuka Umunna.

Patriotic

Patriotism self

Here, the green dot represents the average response to the question “How important is it to you personally that a potential PM is patriotic?”; the purple is the average response to the question “How important do you think being patriotic is to electoral success?”.

Next, our politicians.

Patriotism politicians

Intelligent

Intelligent self

It is interesting to note that it is almost unanimous that being intelligent is a trait that is important for people in a PM, yet there is a shared perception that it isn’t overly important to winning an election.

Intelligent pol

With our politicians, we have a much smaller range than before: the difference for patriotism was 2.03 (Corbyn on 2.09 vs Farage on 4.39); the difference here is only 0.87 (May on 2.97 vs Millinand on 3.84).

Tough

Tough self

Tough pol

Honest

Honest self

I must admit I laughed at the cynicism of my respondents: although honesty was clearly important to them, it was deemed the least important of the seven traits when it comes to electoral success.

Honest pol

Good looking

GL self

In a reversal of cynicism of the honesty question, the majority of people say that they aren’t swayed by good looks, but seem to think that it will affect electoral success.

GL pol

Compassionate

Com self

Com pol

An ordinary person

Ord self

Ord pol

 


 

The party differences

An interesting thing that comes from this data is how people’s opinions vary according to what party they say they would vote for if an election were held today. Surprisingly, people are reasonably unpartisan when it comes to judging politicians: the Conservative voters still said that Corbyn was more honest than Cameron; the Labour voters still said that Cameron was tougher than Corbyn (although obviously, there were some shifts in favour of people’s preferred parties). What does change, however, is what values people find important and unimportant.

According to Jonathan Haidt, there are five areas that matter when discussing politics (later a sixth was added): fairness; care (for others); loyalty to the larger group; respect for authority and tradition; and purity (e.g. religiously pious). He suggests that right-leaning individuals tend to care a fair bit about all five categories, while left-leaning people care a great deal about the first two, but not very much about the latter three. As such, a combination of group loyalty and respect for tradition would mean that we would expect right-leaning people to value patriotism more highly than left-leaning people, and the results confirm this.

Here are the seven values, split into importance according to voting intention of Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat and UKIP (unfortunately the sample sizes were too small to create a meaningful representation of SNP or Green voters).

Patriotic

Patriotic parties

A key consequence of these kinds of difference is what party leaders use as targets. For example, Jeremy Corbyn is likely not overly concerned about appearing patriotic, and those around him probably agree. However, if Corbyn wishes to win over UKIP supporters who used to support Labour, he needs to understand that they do value patriotism, and without being patriotic, it will be much more difficult to win them over.

Intelligent

Int part

Seemingly, no party wants to be the party that doesn’t value intelligence.

Tough

tough parts

Honest

Honest parts

A man with less journalistic integrity would make a joke about that set of results.

Good looking

GL parts

Compassionate

com parts

Ordinary

Ord parts


Finally, is the breakdown of answers to the question “Which quality is most important for you personally?”

quality pie

I should note that although it shows up as 0%, there were actually 2 respondents who said that the most important quality was ‘good looking’.


If you would like to look at the results to my survey in further depth, they can be viewed here.