A poll suggesting the British public is wrong about nearly everything has resurfaced nearly ten years after it was conducted.
The research, carried out by Ipsos Mori in 2013, has been making the rounds on social media as suspicion grows that the public is becoming increasingly out of step with reality.
Earlier this week a new poll found almost half of Brits think young people can’t afford their own homes because they spend too much money on Netflix and takeaways.
It has also been rumoured that the Tories might give a snap election a go because their lawbreaking Brexit medalling and Rwanda policies have actually proved to be quite popular with the public.
Back in ’13, the Ipsos Mori poll found Brits were wide of the mark on several big issues.
Among the biggest misconceptions are:
- Benefit fraud: the public think that £24 of every £100 of benefits is fraudulently claimed. Official estimates are that just 70 pence in every £100 is fraudulent – so the public conception is out by a factor of 34.
- Immigration: some 31 per cent of the population is thought to consist of recent immigrants, when the figure is actually 13 per cent. Even including illegal immigrants, the figure is only about 15 per cent. On the issue of ethnicity, black and Asian people are thought to make up 30 per cent of the population, when the figure is closer to 11 per cent.
- Crime: some 58 per cent of people do not believe crime is falling, when the Crime Survey for England and Wales shows that incidents of crime were 19 per cent lower in 2012 than in 2006/07 and 53 per cent lower than in 1995. Some 51 per cent think violent crime is rising, when it has fallen from almost 2.5 million incidents in 2006/07 to under 2 million in 2012.
- Teen pregnancy is thought to be 25 times higher than the official estimates: 15 per cent of of girls under 16 are thought to become pregnant every year, when official figures say the amount is closer to 0.6 per cent.
Hetan Shah, executive director of the Royal Statistical Society, said at the time: “Our data poses real challenges for policymakers. How can you develop good policy when public perceptions can be so out of kilter with the evidence?
“We need to see three things happen. First, politicians need to be better at talking about the real state of affairs of the country, rather than spinning the numbers. Secondly, the media has to try and genuinely illuminate issues, rather than use statistics to sensationalise.
“And finally we need better teaching of statistical literacy in schools, so that people get more comfortable in understanding evidence.”
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