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Thursday, 05 December 2002

What you think is wrong

Interesting Times article on Wednesday about the (inaccurate) beliefs that the British public has. Some excerpts, since the article will disappear from the Times article next Wednesday:

  • the public think that 52 per cent of crimes involve violence, whereas 22 per cent do
  • the public believe that 32 per cent of people in Britain are black or Asian, whereas just 7 per cent were last year
  • [voters think] that 28 per cent are paid more than £40,000 a year (in reality just 8 per cent)
  • [voters think that] 23 per cent of secondary pupils are in private schools (against 9 per cent)
  • [voters think that] 27 per cent pay privately for operations (against 13 per cent)
  • in areas closest to most people’s direct experience, such as car use, people have a more accurate view
  • [voters] correctly identify social security and health as having the biggest budgets, [but] wrongly place defence ahead of education
  • 44 per cent [of voters] think the largest share of social security is spent on unemployment benefits (actually 6 per cent), and only 28 per cent think it goes on pensions (actually over 66 per cent)
  • Spending on the disabled is vastly underestimated, while spending on single parents is exaggerated.

The report is the newest edition in the British Social Attitudes series, published by the National Centre for Social Research. Their website lists the 2001 edition, but I expect that you'll be able to order the newest one for only £2.50. Shame they're not online.

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