Support for the government’s handling of the outbreak remains high. While it has declined from an initial peak, far more people think the government are handling the issue well than badly (YouGov’s latest tracker has 58% saying the government are doing well, Opinium has 48% approve/36% disapprove). This is equally reflected in the voting intention polls where the Conservatives are steadily around 50% and in Boris Johnson’s own personal approval ratings, which YouGov has at 66% doing well. Collectively these are extremely impressive figures for a government.

However, look further down and there are signs of weakness in the foundations. There are several, important areas where the public view the government’s handling very negatively. Opinium have found people disapprove of how the government have handled both testing and the provision of PPE. At the start of the month YouGov found that 67% thought the government had prepared badly for the possibility of a pandemic and 62% thought lockdown had been introduced too late. MORI also found 66% thought the government had acted too late. Compared to other countries, people think that the British government has performed worse than the governments of Germany, South Korea, Australia, France, Spain… the only country’s government perceived as doing worse than our own is the USA. Put together that looks like a narrative of failure.

How do we square these two sets of figures? Why do people think the government are doing well, despite also thinking they’ve handled some of the key areas poorly and got some of the most important decisions wrong? My own explanation is that we may be seeing an unusual amount of public goodwill towards the government – a willingness to give them the benefit of the doubt, accept that they are doing their best under incredibly difficult circumstances. Normally we are very cynical towards our politicians, but right now it may be that people are more willing to trust their motives, to want them to succeed.

It’s also worth noting that, even if the public think the government haven’t always performed capably during the crisis, right now there is strong public backing for their direction of approach. The public are strongly in favour of the lockdown and the government are pursuing a policy of lockdown. Therefore, the public approve. The British public have been extremely pro-lockdown since early in the crisis – back in March, the public were ahead of the government in supporting further restrictions and they remain supportive of it.

Back at the end of March I pondered how long the high levels of public support for lockdown would last once it was actually in place and impacting people’s lives, and how the government would fare if they got to the point that the public were clambering for relaxation. So far it appears to have lasted just fine, and it is possible that the government may have to face the alternative problem – how to start loosening the lockdown when the public are nervous of it.

Right now there is little public appetite for a weakening of the lockdown. A YouGov/SkyNews poll on Friday found only 15% thought it would be right to start relaxing the lockdown now. A Deltapoll survey for the Sun on Sunday today found only 12% of people thought the government should start ending the lockdown in the next week.

That is not to say that whatever Boris Johnson announces tonight will be unpopular (the questions above did not specify particular ways of weakening the rules, so I expect respondents assumed some sort of substantial weakening of the rules, rather than the extremely minor relaxations which seem more likely at this point). However, there are problems ahead. Sooner or later lockdown needs to be unwound, and it remains to be seen how united public opinion will be behind the timing for that.

It will also be interesting to see what the levels of public support for the government look like afterwards. Their present high levels of approval may be the result of backing for lockdown, or a general willingness of people to give the government the benefit of the doubt during a crisis. Whatever the reason it will pass, and only then will we be really be able to see whether, looking back in hindsight, the government are seen to have successfully led the country through a difficult time of crisis, or as a government that bungled its response.


4,697 Responses to “On why the public support the Government’s handling of the virus”

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  1. @ProfHoward

    “Just personally I find his dress and the way he appears in most photos and TV clips pretty off-putting. But I am not his target audience.”

    Interesting. I hadn’t quite thought of it in terms of target audiences, but he’s making a statement with his dress sense, that’s certainly true. I’ve met similar people working often for management consultants who wanted to make instant impressions about how different, non-conformist and unorthodox they were. Dress and language were usually their main ways of achieving this. You wear suits and ties, I wear T Shirts and track suit bottoms. I’m thinking out of the box, look at me sort of stuff. Stuffed shirts v free thinkers.

    Trying too hard, it’s usually the most risible pretence and they prove to be about as original and dangerous as the local archbishop.

    They’ve usually been to the same school and university as most other pillox of the community too.

    :-)

  2. Oldnat

    There are people who see themselves as being in one or other of the two big groups and who are “meh”; but there are also people who do not identify as being in either group: a lot of Green, Alliance, and other minor socialist party supporters are quite emphatic that don’t see themselves as being in one or other side, indeed these parties reject his and explicitly designate as “other” in the Assembly.

    It’s a kind of “anti-tribal tribalism” that is a product of our history. The Alliance Party is 50 years old today so its been building up for a while.

    This third group got more than 20% in the European election and 18% of the vote in the 2019 General Election, despite the first-past-the-post system. The MP for North Down, Dr Stephen Farry, identifies as neither unionist nor nationalist.

  3. Sorry – Alliance is 50 years old this year. Not quite today :)

  4. @ProfHoward

    “Hence only 7% don’t declare a judgement on Johnson, while 28% don’t have any certainty about Starmer.

    Which is why I think net ratings tend to be potentially misleading.”

    Very true, and probably to be expected considering the two men’s relative levels of public profile and media exposure.

    If I was Starmer, I wouldn’t be too worried by the don’t knows. They are potential likes in time as he gets more known. What should please him is that the majority of those who are getting to feel they know him are breaking positively for him. This suggests the don’t knows are likely to break that way too in time. Not certain, but more likely.

    The worry for him would be if the decided ones were breaking mainly negative.

    But, as you say, only encouraging for him at this stage; no more than that.

  5. @OLDNAT

    Prof Howard

    With these Agree/Disagree (or similar) formulations there is always(? certainly usually) more who have definite opinions on the person in office, as opposed to those who aren’t.

    Hence only 7% don’t declare a judgement on Johnson, while 28% don’t have any certainty about Starmer.

    Which is why I think net ratings tend to be potentially misleading.

    Agree with that, and there’s also the issue of asymmetry that JIM JAM and I discussed briefly the other night – people are appraising Johnson’s response to the crisis, and appraising Starmer’s response to Johnson. And whilst a politician lacking in any of political skill, intelligence or empathy could easily make a complete mess of the latter, it is in general a far easier bar to pass than the former.

  6. Cummings scandal update:

    Theresa May has now stated in a letter to constituents that Mr Cummings did not follow the spirit of the guidance and that she “can well understand the anger” of those who did.

  7. Carfrew: This rather depends on which universe one finds oneself in.
    Holland.

  8. Crossbat11

    Agree that the don’t knows are breaking quite well for Starmer.

    I liked Ed Miliband as a person and I thought he had some good ideas but while Labour was often in the lead as a party against the Conservatives between 2010-2015, did he ever outperform Cameron in the public’s ratings as best PM? I don’t think so. Mr Starmer seems more Prime Ministerial than Mr Miliband did. And perhaps that will make a difference.

  9. @cb11

    I still can’t quite believe that, despite whatever team of lawyers that put his statement together, the best excuse they could come up for the barnard castle trip was basically admitting an offence under s96 of the 1988 RTA that didn’t even begin to qualify as a reasonable excuse anyway, and then having Johnson and Gove defend it as something they’d do as well. Perhaps it’s my transport/road safety interests but that part actually irritated me, rather than the rest which has mostly been an amusing farce.

    Personally if was trying to blag my way out of that one I’d have thought an attempt to play up mental welfare under (m), but I guess that only really works if you don’t live on a farm in plenty of open space. Still, it wouldn’t have been joke & meme material like the eyesight test has been.

    Unsurprisingly most people aren’t too bad at noticing clearly made up tall tales. Obviously the idea of offences under these regs ending up in a full blown court case is daft, but in a hypothetical world where it had I’ve no doubt any vaguely competent barrister would have had any problem demolishing most of his statement, it’s simply too contradictory with everything said up to that point (starting from their published accounts a while back that ran on the pretence of never having left london) and clearly (most of the) public picked up on that also.

    “Corbyn out-polled Theresa May in June 2017 for a few weeks.”

    He did caveat with an ‘if it continues’!

  10. @Trevs – re your 5.20pm. Yes, thanks. You’ve just reiterated the point I was making, where you quote –

    “Information on acute respiratory outbreaks is collected by PHE’s Health Protection Teams (HPTs)”

    That’s precisely the point you’re failing to understand. PHE’s HPTs collect this data, and then don’t share it with the local public health bodies. Unless you somehow think the PHE HPTs are the local public health bodies?

    That might explain your lack of understanding of this issue, and it would rank alongside your 43m cases by end of March error.

  11. @CARFREW

    Thanks for the wealth of responses on Macron and his polling, I do hope you slept at some point too :-)

    I thought the graph of the many leaders was particularly interesting, tho as with any charting of fluctuating trends, where the start point is is rather critical. Other leaders picked up support in March, but Macron picked up a lot in February so looked like he had a much flatter curve but in reality it was perhaps just an earlier one. Also starting from a much lower base – Johnson’s net approval was oscillating around zero in January, whilst Macron’s was consistently around -30.

    But i would take your point that it does seem plausible that the masks issue has influenced the dissipation of his COVID bounce. Whereas the original Times quote that prompted me to post in the first place seemed to be implying that it had done some structural damage to the way he’s perceived – I may have been overreading that to a degree anyway. It’s been a long week! :-)

  12. Prof Howard,
    Sounds like focus has become one more little step to reunification

  13. Prof Howard

    I understand the growing number who reject both the old tribes (and I liked your “anti-tribal tribalism”!)

    My original question, however, related primarily to those who remain British Nationalists. If “Britain” appeared to them to be a cohesive entity, their simplistic view would have made their choice simple.

    Where their “Britain” is not cohesive, and they need to prefer the choices of one bit of it over another, what that choice will be interests me, and Lucid Talk’s methodology will give some clues.

  14. @Colin – re the lifting of lockdown measures, I would also agree with you. It increasingly looks like the science is saying we should bring case numbers down first.

    The reason that track and trace is probably nt going to be able to replace the lockdown is one of capacity. Johnson boasted of a “world beating” system that could trace 10,000 contacts a day.

    If we really are still experiencing 8,000 new cases daily, then the TT system will be swamped. During the most intense period of lockdown, I saw an estimate of an average of 3 contacts a day, down from 11 pre contact. That means each case interracted with 3 other people in a manner likely to spread the virus.

    So if that still holds (and it won’t, because we’ve eased the lockdown and allowed more contacts) then each of those 8,000 new cases means we need to trace 24,000 potential contacts – way beyond the capacity we have.

    TT will work if we have a few hundred new cases, but we’ve been obsessing about the R number while it’s actually the case count that matters more in terms of practical measures to close down infection transmission.

  15. @Edge of Reason

    I slept in between. I didn’t think your objection was without foundation, which is why I went off looking for more data. And yes, one can still wonder about it, but then that’s often the case with polling. It can be a bit easier if you have an issue tracker, but I dunno where you’d find one for France, and anyway to what extent does it apply to approval ratings?

    In the end, though it’s not clear how much impact the masks had on Macron’s polling, it was quite notable to see his approval ratings lag behind Johnson and Merkel rather.

  16. In France, women wear masks where appropriate but men don’t. Is this a problem in the UK as well?

  17. Er, for `focus` read `covid`.

    Covid helping to reunify Ireland.

  18. @TO

    “Holland”

    ——–

    FORTRAN

  19. OLDNAT

    “Where their “Britain” is not cohesive, and they need to prefer the choices of one bit of it over another, what that choice will be interests me, and Lucid Talk’s methodology will give some clues.”

    You ask a good question. And as you sensed, there isn’t a simple answer.

    Those people, voting for parties officially designating as unionist in NI, tend to have bonds both to Scotland and to England, in different ways. But it seems clear to me that they don’t go for the SNP philosophy on independence, so, on the whole, would hesitate before describing SNP government’s responses as being preferable to the policy of a non-SNP party in England.

    As you say it could be fairly mixed; some would not think highly of Mr Johnson’s particular brand of Tory politics, and some would be able to overcome their aversion to her party and accept Ms Sturgeon has been the more competent. But not others.

  20. “In France, women wear masks where appropriate but men don’t. Is this a problem in the UK as well?”

    Not that I am aware of; I have seen men and women wearing them.

    I wear mine as a mark of courtesy towards others in the shop and towards shop workers.

  21. Danny

    “Covid helping to reunify Ireland.”

    If there is such an effect, then it seems likely to be a function of people’s perceptions of “Britain” and “Ireland” and the extent to which pragmatism suggests that one might be more useful than the other (and if some form of half-way house might be better than either).

  22. Nearlyfrench

    I did see a study that found that ROC and less educated, were less likely to wear them than LOC and more educated.

  23. Prof Howard

    “I wear mine as a mark of courtesy towards others in the shop and towards shop workers.”

    Me too – but I’m also aware of the hamster cage experiment, and while I stuff food into my cheeks (or basket) …… :-)

  24. @ProfHoward

    “I regard Cummings as a pretentious know-it-all (perhaps as well as a try-hard). He does have an interest in science and data analytics etc which is admirable but his rambling blogs do not display the lucid exposition that I think is usually the hallmark of someone who really understands it all.
    (Just my hunch. I am not well disposed to him since I seem to disagree with him on everything!)”

    ————

    Personally, Cummings leaves me cold, not fussed one way or the other. And yes he might well be some way off understanding all the stuff the experts do, though he does at times get misrepresented as understanding less than is the case.

    The issue really, is that it tends to be policians who make the decisions, or oversee them, influenced by their advisors. So, it’s kinda hard for them to ignore the science stuff. And this is a world in which the science is playing a bigger impact and the pace of change is accelerating. Maybe if we elected more scientists…

  25. New Datapraxis/ YouGov poll shows lowest Tory lead in any poll since October 2019 – down to just 5 points. (Pippa Crerar)

    https://t.co/tlTB82VPyz?amp=1

  26. @SHEVII

    @ TW

    I think the biggest mistake being made by Sunak in the latest set of proposals is that there isn’t any room for employee sacrifice- ie all the additional costs to make up the difference end up with the employer and the only alternative choice they have is to make people redundant.

    I get the government probably can’t afford to keep paying but equally some employees would probably prefer to be paid 50% and keep their jobs for now.

    I think the challenge from the start has been how you could enable the sensible scenario you describe there, and prevent one where a less scrupulous employer finds ways to split the cost between the state and the employee whilst carrying nothing themselves. Also the employee in most cases will by now already be taking an enforced sacrifice anyway – there can’t be many companies in substantially impacted industries still topping up to full pay!

    Presumably he has decided that if an employer can’t start paying something by August then they are zombie but this may not be the case and their particular market may not yet be ready to return to normal but will eventually.

    The “something” in August is pretty slight – you still get to pay 80% salary to a lot of people whilst paying about 10% of the cost. That shouldn’t be too challenging outside of a sector that’s completely stalled still.

    I guess he will still get the chance to change tack if the redundancy processes start mounting up middle of June

    Agreed – I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see sector-based divergence announced next month if there are a lot of businesses in sectors like hospitality where income is still basically zero.

  27. How is it that case numbers being quoted for England are between 2000 and 8000 daily?

    Are some people looking at a hot-spot number and then extrapolating out to make it that number applying for the whole nation. To me, that is a bad practice and adds to the confusion.

    Or maybe people like Danny are reporting what they believe could be the total including cases with no symptoms.

  28. Old Nat has posted the link but here is a summary:

    Westminster Voting Intention:

    CON: 43% (-1)
    LAB: 38% (=)
    LDM: 6% (=)
    GRN: 4% (=)
    BXP: 3% (+1)

    Via
    @YouGov
    &
    @DatapraxisEU
    , 26-27 May.
    Changes w/ 25-26 May.

    Comment: this polling is Tues/Weds and the comparison is with a poll 24 hours previously. The poll is interesting because it suggests that the first poll was not caused by sampling error and points to a damaging effect of the Cummings scandal on VI.

  29. @ProfHoward

    To give you an example, the Graun did a bit of a hit piece on Cummings a while back. He had written about the possibility that we might be able to use genes to predict IQ in the future.

    And if this came to be, then the rich might be able to buy advantage, securing more intelligent genes for their offspring.

    Cummings then considered the situation whereby it was not possible to stop the rich from doing this. Maybe they’d go abroad to do it. In this circumstance, he speculated that it might be necessary to level up, making such capabilities available to all.

    This was portrayed as being in favour of eugenics, whereas in fact he wasn’t advocating it, he was suggesting a response if it happened anyway. Also, he acknowledged it was just a possibility. He knows predicting IQ isn’t a given.

    But they still rolled out a professor to say the very idea was nonsense. But is it? It is certainly a tall order, IQ is a polygenetic trait, with hundreds of genes involved, making it rather difficult to predict IQ from genes.

    But some in academia are working on it. The hope is that as they keep getting more data, then they’ll be able to become more accurate. It’s not a given, as I say. But if you’re in politics, don’t you have to consider such disturbing scenarios, and talk to academics trying to figure this stuff out?

  30. BBC Radio 4 has shown poor editorial judgement in not reporting the worrying brake failure of the north-bound sleeper last summer, well if they have it`s been tucked away outwith my listening.

    After the sleeper was split at Carstairs, the engine driver could not brake his train. Arriving at Waverley, the train couldn`t stop, and only when the guard realised something was seriously wrong, when they didn`t slow, that he applied brakes and the train halted a kilometre past the station.

    Awful carnage could have resulted, like a head-on crash with a train from Glasgow.

    If a similar brake failure had hit a train running into Kings Cross or Euston, the BBC would have found space despite their present obsession with Dominic Cummings.

    We need to know how it could happen, and is last year`s chaos with the sleepers sorted.

  31. Carfrew its a controversial topic and perhaps those thinking about such things should be admired. I think Fukuyama wrote about the ethics/politics of this in the book “Our Posthuman Future” or some such title, which I read when I was a Fukuyama fan a long time ago. On the whole I agree it’s good to have a science person at the heart of government, as long as he is also not bent on using the science in a bad way.

    Have you seen the youtube clip of Cumming’s dad-in-lad talking about this broad topic?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWwxiiuIv_A

  32. Davwel

    Certainly a serious error made at the decoupling, but “the train halted a kilometre past the station” is inaccurate. Had that been the case, it would have ploughed through the carpark and demolished the Edinburgh council offices!

    It actually stopped within the station – but 650 metres beyond Platform 11 where it should have stopped.

  33. @CARFREW

    I slept in between. I didn’t think your objection was without foundation, which is why I went off looking for more data.

    Appreciated – I was drawing a contrast from only one source, which is always a bit risky.

    And yes, one can still wonder about it, but then that’s often the case with polling. It can be a bit easier if you have an issue tracker, but I dunno where you’d find one for France, and anyway to what extent does it apply to approval ratings?

    That’s fair, and there’s also the difficulty of comparing between countries. Approval scores for the last couple of US Presidents seem to have a lower limit of about 35-40% even at times of strife, whereas it’s not hugely unusual to see a beleagured French President below 20%.

    I imagine there’s also a interesting relationship with how politicians are held generally – in one country it might be common to find one leader’s approach reasonable but simply prefer that of another, so Approval would be typically rather higher than VI. In another it might be common to hold all politicians in contempt and regard the guy you’re going to vote for as the least worst option, so Approval would typically be well below VI.

  34. @JamesB

    “Personally if was trying to blag my way out of that one I’d have thought an attempt to play up mental welfare under (m), but I guess that only really works if you don’t live on a farm in plenty of open space. Still, it wouldn’t have been joke & meme material like the eyesight test has been.”

    I think he tried the Mr Humble character , angling for the sympathy vote, and it didn’t work at all; probably because it was so out of character for him. Humility doesn’t come easily to him and blagging of the magnitude he was attempting only works if at least there is some semblance of authenticity to hang it all on. As for the content of what he said, its witless implausibility and sheer illogicality suggested someone who really is only a legend in his own lunchtime.

    On the evidence of a couple of satirical shows I watched on on TV tonight, he’s now a complete laughing stock. If I’d have been his spin doctor, I’d have advised him strongly to shun any thoughts of a nationwide press conference, live on mainstream TV. He neither had the personality nor a decent enough script to pull it off.

    @ProfHoward

    “I liked Ed Miliband as a person and I thought he had some good ideas but while Labour was often in the lead as a party against the Conservatives between 2010-2015, did he ever outperform Cameron in the public’s ratings as best PM? I don’t think so. Mr Starmer seems more Prime Ministerial than Mr Miliband did. And perhaps that will make a difference.”

    My recollection is the same as yours; Miliband lagged behind both his party and Cameron for most of that Parliament, although I haven’t trawled back through the polling data to see if that’s right. He was an enigmatic politician who whilst obviously very bright and possessing some interesting political ideas, was too often lacklustre in the public domain. Quite often bested by Cameron at P*Qs, he was strangely inarticulate and uncertain in interviews too. At least that was the way he came over to me.

    I also sensed when talking to people who weren’t that politically engaged or aligned, that he wasn’t taken particularly seriously by them. Not disliked, but more disregarded, if that makes sense.

  35. @Batty

    As so often happens, I can’t disagree with a single word of your 11.46pm.

  36. @ProfHoward

    “Have you seen the youtube clip of Cumming’s dad-in-lad talking about this broad topic?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWwxiiuIv_A

    ———-

    No I hadn’t. People in politics can cop flak for fathers and fathers-in-law, of course, happened to Miliband.

  37. … though I do wish you supported a proper football team ;)

  38. The UK Statistics Authority is rightly concerned that governments should use statistics honestly.

    The SoS for the English DHSC has already been warned by the Authority over its misleading use of statistics concerning Covid testing.

    It has now indicated that it is considering ramping up that warning.

    https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/uk-statistics-authority-hancock-covid-tests-new-letter_uk_5ed127adc5b6ee7abbf9a1c9?ncid=other_twitter_cooo9wqtham&utm_campaign=share_twitter

  39. [email protected]: Certainly a serious error made at the decoupling, but “the train halted a kilometre past the station” is inaccurate. Had that been the case, it would have ploughed through the carpark and demolished the Edinburgh council offices!

    It actually stopped within the station – but 650 metres beyond Platform 11 where it should have stopped.

    Full report available here: https://www.gov.uk/raib-reports/report-05-2020-loss-of-brake-control-on-a-sleeper-train-approaching-edinburgh

    … he then felt the brakes apply sharply, bringing the train to a stop at 07:28 hrs. By this time the front of the train was in Calton South tunnel, with the rear between platform 7 and the tunnel (figure 10). … [para 46]

    Platform 7 is the eastern continuation of platform 11. Calton South tunnel means it was on its way down the ECML.

  40. Agreed Carfrew – I wouldn’t judge someone from their father or father in law. Or brother (Corbyn).

  41. @Crossbat

    Miliband had an exceptionally difficult job with redifining the Labour brand after 2010. I always felt he never felt truly comfortable with the media/ public perception of him being on the left. He always squirmed when he was called ‘Red Ed’ and a socialist and, to me, he lacked the conviction of what he really stood for. I still liked him though.

  42. * redefining

  43. @Edge of Reason

    ”Appreciated – I was drawing a contrast from only one source, which is always a bit risky.”

    Well, analysing polling is often risky even with multiple sources!

    Take your point about comparisons with countries, though Sarkozy did manage polling above 60% early on.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sondages_sarkozy.svg

    Yes there might be cultural considerations in terms of how people view politicians, and the media might differ too.

    But then according to the article the French think Boris is doing well because of “the eternal singularity of our neighbours across the Channel”.

  44. “My recollection is the same as yours; Miliband lagged behind both his party and Cameron for most of that Parliament, although I haven’t trawled back through the polling data to see if that’s right.”

    ————

    When the media were trashing Cameron’s party after he backed Levenson, Miliband’s Labour were polling in the forties. He actually polled 45% at one point. When Cameron relented on Levenson the media piled into Miliband and we saw his polling slide.

  45. @profhoward

    “Carfrew its a controversial topic and perhaps those thinking about such things should be admired.”

    While the moral outrage over his article puzzled me somewhat (seemed largely fed by removing the context and letting it have a classic social media snowball) I’m not sure such thoughts need admiration as if it’s rare or radical. The idea of a dystopian future of a designer human rich elite and everyone else is far from a radical bit of thinking. It’s a fairly common sci-fi trope and setting in books, film/tv and video games!

    It’s a good example of his thinking though, he seems to be all over the place in what he looks at but doesn’t seem to be great at filtering out what is particularly relevant or useful now. Lots of that in the weirdos wanted blog post as well.

  46. Surely Cummings isn’t the issue in himself – but Johnson’s seeming total reliance on him.

    Competent leaders dump controversial advisers when they become an embarrassment.

    If they don’t then its the leader who is the embarrassment.

  47. @JamesB

    “While the moral outrage over his article puzzled me somewhat (seemed largely fed by removing the context and letting it have a classic social media snowball) I’m not sure such thoughts need admiration as if it’s rare or radical.”

    ———-

    Well, admiration is one thing, but some might have it that it’s rubbish to be considering it.

    Other stuff is a bit less well known. For example, Cummings cites Plomin. Now, Plomin does take some ideas further than some might, but you can’t so easily dismiss it all.

    One important aspect concerns the heritability of IQ. In particular, the Wilson Effect…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heritability_of_IQ

    …which isn’t that widely known, but potentially of quite some significance.

    Get a load of this, on the heritability of IQ in groups:

    “The heritability of IQ increases with age and reaches an asymptote at 18–20 years of age and continues at that level well into adulthood. This phenomenon is known as the Wilson Effect.[9] Recent studies suggest that family and parenting characteristics are not significant contributors to variation in IQ scores;[10] however, poor prenatal environment, malnutrition and disease can have deleterious effects.”

    You might think that as you have more life experience, nurture would play a greater role, but the Wilson Effect suggests otherwise. As people get older, genes play more of a role.

    One suggested reason is “that people with different genes tend to seek out different environments that reinforce the effects of those genes.”

    Another is standardised education might be reducing variation due to experience, leaving more of it down to genes.

    This stuff has potential implications for education.

    (NB, should have written polygenic earlier, not polygenetic).

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