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. ‘31% think aliens have visited earth’

    This is why polls are interesting but also why politicians should not just do what people believe to be right.

  2. “19% think God created the earth in days…..

    67% think humans evolved from apes”

    I find the fact that 19% believe in biblical creation and 33% don’t think we evolved from apes truly frightening.

  3. You’ve missed out the interesting figures from the post-papal poll there.
    For 49% the visit made no difference, they already had a negative opinion of him. Add the 9% who now view him more negatively and it’s a clear majority of people who don’t like the pope, (I’m assuming here these aren’t people who really liked him and now only like him a bit, more likely people with no opinion who have had there views changed by the protests and the like).
    There are also some interesting figures across age groups. For younger people it’s more a “Don’t know” or probably “Don’t care” and for older people a strong negative view.
    And who the heck are the 33% of people who don’t think we evolved from apes? Where did that poll find so many nutters?

  4. Alec – actually, we didn’t evolve from apes. Humans and apes are descended from a common ancestor. So the question is just rubbish.

  5. “And who the heck are the 33% of people who don’t think we evolved from apes? Where did that poll find so many nutters?”

    Sorry, didn’t read the article properly. I guess a fair number of the 33% were “Don’t knows”. Ill informed rather than mad then.

  6. 33% might be right though. Man didn’t evolve from apes – they both evolved from a common ancestor. Man is actually less evolved than many ape species (although you’ve got to understand that evolution doesn’t necessarily mean anything about civilisation, brain power etc)

  7. Isn’t it the case that humans *are* apes?

    I’m quite surprised at the proportion of people professing a belief in life after death being so low…

  8. The Populus referendum questions must have had a Don’t Know/Didn’t Answer option – the figures don’t add to the sample total. I suppose they reckon that only yes/no matters in a referendum. The questions are a bit random, but the joy of online polling is that you can ask anything:

    ht tp://today.yougov.co.uk/sites/today.yougov.co.uk/files/YG-Archives-Pol-Sun-ColeenRooney-070910.pdf

    Not to mention the 41 different types of exotic meat up for offer here:

    ht tp://today.yougov.co.uk/sites/today.yougov.co.uk/files/YG_Results_100823_Animals_eating.pdf

    The question is: are Lib Dems generally more adventurous eaters or just more polite at not turning down the food in restaurants?

    [With the inevitability of the massed pedants of UKPR pointing out that we’re not technically descended from apes (I’m not bitter you beat me) – I await the badger and witchetty grub recipes]

  9. And people blame the politicians for the country going to the dogs…. With so many people answering that questions that make them borderline insane it’s probably the people that need to take a good hard look at themselves.

    Also strange that there are 74% thinking that sometimes the current murder punishment is to much but 60% thinking it’s not harsh enough and we should kill people. Seems a bit odd.

  10. “39% think some people have psychic powers (!)”

    Didn’t we all know that?

  11. Why do psychic powers deserve an exclamation mark when aliens visiting the earth don’t Anthony?

    Obviously one surprises you more than the others, but sorry to moan, I find it a bit offensive.

  12. We didn’t evolve from apes. We share a COMMON ANCESTOR with them. Jeeze. And 60% for capital punishment? Savages.

  13. For me, the scariest answer of all is that footballers should be paid more than the Prime Minister. There was a poll a few months ago, during the campaigns I think that had England manager as a harder job than PM.

    Evolved from apes? Or still remarkably similar to?

  14. @Michael Elliott
    “Isn’t it the case that humans *are* apes?”

    Some are but he’s not been playing too well up front for England. Seriously, closely related but hominids and homonoids. Separate but linked in the past.

    @Sue Marsh
    “For me, the scariest answer of all is that footballers should be paid more than the Prime Minister”

    I think they should too. Firstly because football is a massive entertainment industry that generates millions. Who should be receiving that other than players?

    Secondly (and most importantly), I don’t think people should enter politics for money. Career politicians are intensely damaging. As with all jobs, we do them for various reasons, money, job satisfaction, privilege, perks etc. For a PM, money should be the least of these and a sense of duty, the highest.

    I’d pin the money back so it’s somewhat closer to the current MPs wages (and drop them a little). More than most but not enough to make a career choice based on ‘what’s in it for me’.

  15. Sue – it surprised me more than the others (not least because it’s the highest “non-mainstream” one).

  16. Anthony, there was an article on Liberal Conspiracy a day or so ago about that particular element of the poll, and it was surmised that people might have been answering based on what they expected those particular jobs to be worth in reality, rather than what they should be worth in an “ideal” world. Could be one explanation, I suppose – though the difference between the mean and median that you point out highlights something that has been drummed into me over the years of studying statistics: averages are meaningless without a measure of spread!

  17. They also asked whether various [whacky?] things are true or false.
    I think the answers show our British sense of humour is alive & kicking.

    “Ask a daft question, I’ll give you a daft answer” is probably responsible for some of this.

  18. If the 47% who support AV exclude DKs, am I to read it that 53% oppose AV? If so this would broadly correspond with YG’s 39% oppose 36% support.

  19. Re Populus

    Disappointed only 1 in 5 think the monarchy should be scrapped

    I’m ok with 46% in favour of staying in the EU. IMO that would increase if there were another referendum.

  20. I think some of you do the public a disservice. Keeping away from religion (after I mentioned that 41% of Americans think that Joshua of Nazareth is to return before 2050, we had some curious responses) the results were not so surprising and if anything uplifting. I don’t see that people are insane just because they are ignorant.

    30 years ago three quarters would have been for the death penalty, so I see evidence that the country is better educated and more thoughtful about affairs. The global warming one was particularly encouraging, as I suspect a similar USA poll would find otherwise.

    Last on footballers, posters here do not seem to take into account that, unless you are discovered at 16, as Rooney was, your career will be about 10 years max to earn any sort of top money and very few make it that far anyway. Some players’ careers are cruelly cut short by injury such as West Ham’s Ashton who made the England team only to be felled for good shortly thereafter.
    In fact that goes for nearly all the questions.

  21. Re Populus

    61% say climate change is caused by humans. Pity the question didn’t offer the chance to place some blame on sun activity.

  22. Re Populus again..

    notice that one of the Qs was incomplete…

    “God created the Earth in six days and on the seventh day He…”

    He what? Took advantage of a rest under the working time directive?

  23. Sorry my post ended with a disjointed comment.

    It was to say that I find the results very encouraging indeed. Eoin I know it gets you very excited (and why not indeed) but I also find this slight move against AV since the beginning of the summer extremely encouraging at this stage and DM will shove it up to 75% approval before long. I particularly found encouraging that in another poll 25% of Con voters weere in favour.

    All very hopeful indeed.

  24. Nice to see that 32% of Scots want to scrap the monarchy – as opposed to only 15% in her home town (London – not Braemar) and surrounding area.

  25. Susan Kramer is narrowly ahead of Tim Farron in the race to be the next Lib Dem president, according to a poll conducted by Lib Dem Voice.
    Polling news from the Dem trenches, if anybody is interested. ;-)

  26. Mike N ;-)

    Careful, they’ll start swamping us with suggestions.

  27. Howard

    Probably wise if I go darrk now.

  28. Anthony – Your blog.

    Bit like saying “39% of people believe in God!” though or “39% think being gay is acceptable!” The exclamation mark says more than the statement.

  29. Many of you who read the previous thread on the creationist issue, will be aware that I outed myself as a creationist. It would appear I am not alone, this link shows a list of scientists with a minimum of a doctorate in a science field who are creationists. The belief is NOT just for the ignorant or insane.
    h ttp://www.bcseweb.org.uk/index.php/Main/CreationistScientists

  30. @Grahambc It may not be exactly in keeping with my liberal views but I truly believe you should not be able to vote.

  31. Jamie,

    Tolerance is the celebration of difference, not a cult of agreement. Leave Graham alone. It is liberals like you that make the world as sullied as it has become. I suppose you are going to proclaim you believe in centre ground politics next.

  32. I now understand why Graham puts ‘BC’ after his name.

  33. I have often experienced liberals who take the same view as Jamie, the truth is that in 50 years science may well have changed its predominant thinking.

    The BC are initials of my surname

  34. If someone can’t string basic facts together to form a blatantly provable theory that the earth is more than 6000 years and living organisms have evolved over time then why should they get the same power in selecting the government as the millions of (at least partially) rational people that make up this country?

  35. Jamie,

    1. They are law abiding citizens
    2. They are of an adult age
    3. They pay taxes direct/indirect
    4. In time of war, the state could conscript them
    5. They contribute to the UK economy worker/consumer

  36. @ Jamie

    If somebody is so inflexible as to allow no other opinion but their own, then why should they get the same power in selecting the government as the millions of (at least partially) tolerant people that make up this country?

  37. @GrahamBC:
    Your “list” comes from Answers in Genesis, a patently non-scientific religious organisation in the US. AiG requires all its members to adhere to a “statement of faith,” which includes the following:

    “No apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the scriptural record.”

    In other words, they find the conclusion they like and worry about the facts later. That is the exact opposite of science.

  38. Well said Eoin

    Intolerance is not the vehicle for persuasion of the truth.

  39. Below is an interesting quote from a scientist, taken from this article h ttp://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/1979840.stm

    “The group’s spokesman is Andy McIntosh, professor of thermodynamics and combustion theory at the University of Leeds and author of Genesis for Today, a book about the modern relevance of the Biblical book of Genesis.

    “My colleagues and I want schools to teach children how to think, not what to think,” Dr McIntosh said.

    “I am surprised that other scientists would only support teaching and learning in Darwinian evolution.

    “Education should be analytical not dogmatic, particularly when dealing with science.”

    Just because one does not agree with someone does not mean you should suppress their view point unless it peddles hate. Which clearly I am not, Jamie however is more questionable on this point.

  40. GrahamBC
    The web site you linked us to is fighting against your beliefs – I don’t get it (???). I assumed you were directing us to a site that supports your views, not the opposite.

    Graham, I am sure you mean well, but I suspect we are dealing with an unusual situation here.

    I will not engage with you further as I don’t think it will help either of us. Wooh!

  41. Colin,

    I have long witnessed that the greated sufferers of cognitive dissonance are those who claim to be Liberals.

  42. @Amber & @Eoin OK I understand it isn’t practically possible or right to stop someone voting because of a belief so I retract that part. However treating his opinion as if it deserves the same respect as a political or even religious opinion is just wrong. His opinion is equivalent to saying 2+2=5 or WW2 finished in 1947, demonstrably false. I’m sure most people on this site, least of all you two, would let someone who said either of those things know that they were wrong.

  43. GrahamBC

    The Mcintosh you mention is presumably the gentleman who’se Wiki entry includes the following :-

    “In a debate with Richard Dawkins on BBC Radio Ulster he stated his belief that the world was six thousands years old, that marine trilobites were made extinct by Noah’s flood and that the Second Law of Thermodynamics contradicts the Darwinian theory of evolution.

    He is on the board of directors of Truth in Science, an organisation which promotes the teaching of Intelligent Design in British schools. In November 2006 the University of Leeds issued a statement distancing itself from creationism, and claimed that McIntosh’s directorship of Truth in Science is unconnected with his teaching or research.

    Please GRaham-don’t drag us all into this. It is absolutely pointless.

  44. Eoin

    “I have long witnessed that the greated sufferers of cognitive dissonance are those who claim to be Liberals”

    ;-) ;-) ;-) ;-)

  45. Jamie,

    Faith is a highly commendable attribute, much more powerful than knowledge for some people. If you prefer to rest your creed or morals on the latter vechile do not restrict someone for opting for the former. People of faith have done good and bad deeds as have wise men. Personally, they are as much or a muchness to me.

  46. What an astounding development!!

    Jamie, I don’t really believe in science.

    I certainly don’t believe that we can ever, ever, ever say our opinion is 100% “right” (and therefore that someone else’s is 100% “wrong”)

    You sciencey types are more dogmatic than most religious leaders.

  47. Faith in creationism is just silly. Just like a faith that 2+2=5 is silly. Just like a faith that the Romans conquered North America is silly. Just like a faith that John Major beat Tony Blair in 1997 is silly.

    A faith in God is not as silly because it can’t be proven false. All of the things above are silly because they can.

  48. “Faith is a highly commendable attribute”

    I would probably agree.

    But Intelligent Design isn’t faith Eoin.

    It is literalist reading of the Old Testament , cloaked in spurious science,( from the Latin for knowledge) which does not stand the key test of science-that is testable or falsifiable.

  49. Colin,

    I live in an island full of these people. If we caleld their beliefs ‘silly’ we would all still be killing each other.
    We learned to live side by side with Protestant fundamentalism. Let them do their thing, is my philosophy. Graham has posted before and seemed to be to be of sound mind and pleasant demeanour. Certainly worthy of filling in a ballot paper. If i am not mistaken he teaches in a Lincolhsnire Grammar, quite a noble endeavour one might say. Good luck to him! :)

  50. Creationism is the point where I lose patience with accepting others’ religious beliefs – especially when those people are aiming to push it into teaching curriculums.

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