Time for another round up of interesting polls I missed over the last week. YouGov this morning has the first post-papal-visit reaction, 15% of people say the visit made them view the Pope more positively, 9% more negatively, the rest no difference.

Slightly older, YouGov also asked about the idea of introducing first and second degree murder. Rather to my surprise given that the practical effect of such a change would be to give mandatory life sentences to only some murders, when the public tend to be very reactionary on law and order, it was overwhelmingly popular with 74% supporting the idea. In the same poll YouGov asked about the re-introduction of the death penalty for murder, which was supported by 51% of respondents.

Moving on, ComRes carried out a survey asking people what they thought members of some professions should be paid here. In short, people tended to think that professions earning more than around £29k should be paid less, and professions earning less than around £29k should be paid more. Bizarrely, premiership footballers came out as the profession people thought deserved the highest pay, with the average wage suggested by respondents was £364,000. This seems to be due to some people giving exceptionally high figures for them and skewing the mean though – the median wage people thought premiership footballers should earn was between £30,000 and £40,000.

Finally there is also a new Populus poll up on their site here, asking a rather wierd and wonderful selection of opinions. They all seem to be forced choice questions, with no option of saying don’t know. (actually, it looks like they are just rebased to exclude don’t knows)

60% Would bring back capital punishment
54% would leave the EU
47% support switching to AV
13% support British entry into the Euro

They also asked whether various things are true or false.

19% think God created the earth in days
39% think some people have psychic powers (!)
31% think aliens have visited earth
32% think Dr David Kelly was murdered
18% think time travel is possible
67% think humans evolved from apes
37% think there is life after death
61% think climate change is happening and caused by humans


124 Responses to “Things you may have missed”

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  1. What a lot of interesting questions! I could write an essay on each. However, the ‘creationism’ debate seems to be the main one.

    I would agree with Roger Mexico that many creationists are from non-Christian faiths. I also know that some faiths (e.g Jehovah’s Witnesses) say that the 6 days mentioned in Genesis were not literal modern days, but something more akin to 6 ‘ages’.

    Though most scientists accept the Big Bang model for the start of the Universe, there is less than total agreement on how it came about. God setting off the Big Bang and laying down certain physical and chemical laws seems a reasonable hypothesis until we can come up with something better.

  2. @far Easterner – “This man actually believed in ‘creationism’ himself!”

    Have your views, but please don’t spread lies. Darwin didn’t, and became progressively more dissilusioned with religion after the death of his daughter. His work was, and remains (in my opinion) one of the greatest ever contributions to our understanding of the natural world and is something we in the UK should be very proud of. The fact that his former home has been blocked from becoming a World Heritage Site after pressure from religious fanatics is to be deeply regreted.

  3. Pete B,

    Seems as logical to me as anything else i’ve heard on the matter.

  4. Amber – thank you for your comments. I don’t understand what this ‘view’ can be based on but think you’re wise not to attempt to make it a debating point.

    ALEC – of course I believe in the scripture you refer to – but you missed out half of it: “But Jesus looking on them says,With men it is possible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.”

    There are also plenty of references in Paul’s teachings to show that having ‘means’ and being a Christian are compatible, and of course fits in with what I’ve quoted above.

  5. Eoin
    Thanks for the support. Now if you want my views on hanging, the EU etc, I can provide them…….:D

  6. ALEC

    I haven’t put out any lies thanks. It is the truth, whether or not what has been popularly put out I won’t comment.

    I don’t blame Darwin being increasingly disillusioned with ‘religion’ – perhaps as his Christianity meant more instead? – I don’t know.

    I don’t think much of religion myself, tbh.

  7. @Pete B – “God setting off the Big Bang and laying down certain physical and chemical laws seems a reasonable hypothesis until we can come up with something better.”

    Random chance is a much more likely starting hypothesis. inventing a metaphysical being to wait around in a timeless daze before deciding to create a self managing system is a distinctly weird starting point.

  8. Colin

    Thanks for that link – the danger is more that the faith schools may ignore or skip over that part of the curriculum and then go “but this is what you must believe”. I’m not casting aspersions on the current or previous governments good faith on this; just that by encouraging religious schools – against the convictions of the majority of the British people – they may make it more likely to happen.

    Agree completely with your other comments by the way – why do creationist always cite the eye as an example when it may have evolved independently dozens of times?

    Far Easterner

    You might be interested in the link I posted above for Graham BC. Get rid of the space between the ‘t’s before you paste it in your browser.

  9. Richard in norway
    i think that costco has rules about that and that in the us it is a contributory factor to where people shop

  10. Pete B,

    You could tell me that all irishmen beginning with É should be boiled in animal fat and I would be fairly unfazed. As long as you were equally unmoved when someone holds a different opinion to your own. But I have read your posts, before, and I know that you are fairly tolerant of alternative opinions.

  11. @ Alec

    After your qoute from the bible Jesus proceeds to say “but with God all things are possible” implying that through God even the rich can enter Heaven.

    @ Roger

    I did read your post but was not fully well at the time and rather busy at the start of the new term to write a considered reply, I will re-read and post soon.

  12. Alec
    “Random chance is a much more likely starting hypothesis. inventing a metaphysical being to wait around in a timeless daze before deciding to create a self managing system is a distinctly weird starting point.”

    I understand what you’re saying. We’re getting a bit deep here, but is there scientific consensus on the mechanism by which the Big Bang came about out of nothing? If there is a consensus, why didn’t that mechanism happen before? Or has it?

    In general, man has ascribed supernatural causes to lots of things until science has come up with alternative explanations. There are still plenty of everyday occurrences which science cannot explain, and it is also true that some scientists or their followers are as dogmatic and intolerant as the most fundamentalist religious person.

  13. Eoin

    I appreciate your consistent approach to free speech and people’s entitlement to their own views be it in relation to far right representation in parliaments or to my own “looney, ignorant” views.

  14. “Arguments about creationism, etc, never change any minds or get anywhere – it just reveals a huge gulf of mutual incomprehension and normally gets people’s backs up.”

    You’re not kidding.

  15. Graham,

    In NI we have the highest church going population in Europe. In Belfast we have the highest concentration of churches on earth. There are more varieties than Heinz Baked Beans. To me religous tolerance is a no-brainer.

    But you are welcome. :)

  16. On the euro, 13% is the lowest number I can recall. Over the past 10 yrs support has hung around 20-25%. The strongest correlation is with how people percieve the UK economy is doing compared to the eurozone. When the £ collapsed 18 months ago, for example support for entry spiked to 35%. There is also the phenomenon of many more people expecting we will join the euro over, say, the next decade than want to. Last year, this number was around 45%. Perceptions of the eurozone economy are now dominated by Greece, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, rather than Germany, France, the Benelux, Finland. If the UK does better than the eurozone over the next five years, the governments decision to stay out and long grass the issue will be vindicated. If not, not. There is the added dimension that measures to prevent a new Sovereign Debt Crisis may create a much more integrated structure for the euro, which could pose very difficult choices for the UK economy, eg in financial services.

  17. Julian Gilbert

    I was just checking and found a poll (Ipsos conducted between November 4th, 2009 and January 13th, 2010, on behalf of Thompson Reuters News Service) which reckoned that in the US only 24% of people think that aliens are walking amongst us on the earth.

    Does this mean we’re more credulous than the yanks?”

    Of course not. You can’t compare polls with different techniques standards and questions. The American study excluded all those who admitted to be aliens themselves and the British one didn’t.

  18. I thought I might add, to make my last post more user friendly, there has been a long-standing (8 year)phenomenon of support for the euro running about 5-7% above support for the Liberal Democrats. Make of that what you will.

  19. @ Julian Gilbert
    Can anyone tell me if 54% wanting to leave the EU is higher, the same or lower than in previous polls?
    See for yourself:

    Ipsos Mori, 1996: 38 in / 41 out (+21 Depends/Don’t know)
    http://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/poll.aspx?oItemId=2232

    Ipsos Mori, 2001: 48 in / 52 out
    http://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/poll.aspx?oItemId=1135

    Ipsos Mori – Long term trends (which for some reason omits the two above, and possibly more):
    http://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/poll.aspx?oItemId=2435&view=wide

  20. To add to my comment awaiting moderation:

    The only Yougov poll I could find that commissioned a direct in/out question was UKIP’s poll ahead of the Euro elections in 2004, with 39% opting to stay in, 48% to get out (and 13% don’t knows). So of those giving an opinion it was a 45/55 split.
    http://today.yougov.co.uk/sites/today.yougov.co.uk/files/YG-Archives-Eur-UKIP-EUConstitutionEUElections-040525.pdf

  21. its a shame that two thirds of people think that people evolved from apes as that is not what the theory of evolution says, it says we have common ancestors

  22. @CRAIG
    Thanks for the information. Very interesting. It looks like in times of recession, the mood is to leave the EU and in better economic times the mood is to stay.
    Overall though, with a few exceptions, pretty evenly split.

  23. @Julian Gilbert
    “It looks like in times of recession, the mood is to leave the EU and in better economic times the mood is to stay.”

    Any suggestions why this is so?

  24. This poll shows an ignorance by the general public concerning very well established scientific findings that is very alarming.

    I shall leave aside the emotive issue of creationism, which is not helped by scientists who have falen into unsupported dogmatism themselves.

    But given the threat to the whole human race represented by climate change, our own families are threatened by the 39% of the population who do not accept the existence of this problem.

    And I hope that the 82% of the population who do not believe in time travel do not use SatNavs. The results calculated by SatNavs have to take into account time dilation, as predicted by Einstein’s theory of relativity. Indeed, both “The Independent” (in a particularly good article) and the “Daily Mail” carry this very day (24th. September) reports about the latest findings scientifically confirming the existence of this limited form of time travel.

    Whether time travel of the coarser sort envisaged by H.G.Wells etc. is in fact, or in principle – a different question, possible is another matter.

    Individual electors are entitled to their opinions, but it does become a problem for democracy when large numbers of voters hold factual opinions which nobody who has researched the relevant issues in details can sustain.

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