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. *Lincolnshire – shocking typing :(

  2. Eoin

    ” Let them do their thing, is my philosophy”

    Of course-but not in School, teaching Intelligent Design as a Science.

    It isn’t .

  3. Colin,

    I would not separate one religion for different treatment to the rest. Religion and Education are like chalk and cheese. One is for private worship the other to be promulgated in places or learning. If someone is so concerned with learning religion, the bible goes pretty cheap and there are plenty of Sunday schools. Or at an adult age they can enrol in a course to learn it.

    Spare a thought for us in Belfast,this was our environment Secretary…

    h ttp://www.usatoday.com/weather/climate/globalwarming/2009-02-09-climate-ads-banned-northern-ireland_N.htm

  4. Colin,

    My reply made it to moderation. :)

    h ttp://www.usatoday.com/weather/climate/globalwarming/2009-02-09-climate-ads-banned-northern-ireland_N.htm

  5. Colin,

    I would not separate one religion for different treatment to the rest. Spare a thought for us in Belfast, this was our environment Secretary…

    h ttp://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/feb/10/sammy-wilson-climate-change

  6. @ Jamie & Craig

    You do know that string theory suggests there are 11 (or more) dimensions. I won’t go into it all ‘cos some of us have blundered our way through this before & I don’t want to go there again.

    Suffice to say, it is possible that more than one reality can exist in same place & possibly at the same time as another. Something that is fact in your reality may not be fact in Graham’s or Sue’s or mine or Éoin’s.

    String theory really is quite mind-blowing, actually.

  7. I think that these polls prove to us that society is more diverse than we suppose. However, I think that ‘diversity’ is one thing and an inexplicable peculiarity quite another.

    I was interested in your point Eoin, from which one would assume that some differences apparently need violence in order to emphasise them. I can imagine that growing up where you did, it would be a child’ s natural conclusion while growing up.


    Thanks for digging up this Populus stuff – fascinating and quite an insight into the views of our fellow citizens. But disturbing in places but quite reassuring in others!

  9. ‘Recently the DUP’s education spokesman Mervyn Storey called for creationism to be taught in Northern Ireland’s schools alongside Darwin’s theory of evolution’

    That was also in the article you linked to Eoin.

  10. Howard,

    Your post reads confusingly.. i am not a violent man, i was simply pointing out one of the consequences of intolerance. I celebrate difference. Pluralist democracies should. Tolerance does not have red lines. There i sno opt in or opt out. If a creationist pronounced homophobic or sexist views (and some do) they would get exactly the same response. Why would one human seek to control another’s thought? Restrained thought even on matters of these is wrong. To restrict Graham’s vote because fo his religous persuasion is plain bonkers. I am sure it is often joked about over many a so-called Liberal’s dinner party.

  11. @Amber So I have scientific basis to say that creationists are living in a world of their own?

  12. Moving on, from Liberal Deomcrat mantra… Their leader has given an interview with Nick Robinson, Here is the transcript:

    h ttp://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/nickrobinson/2010/09/i_dont_agree_wi.html

  13. Amber
    It is one thing to follow observation and experiment coupled wityh mathematical simulation and arrive at a theory, such as parallel universes and so on. It is quite another to begin with a mythical story and then attempt to plonk observation, etc, to prove it wasn’t a fairy story after all, especially when the attempt is a dismal failure.

    The discussion here is whether it is worrying that people hold to these myths. I don’t think so because as Eoin points out, we still have to decide whether we want public spending or not and to what degree and that is capable of being viewed by anyone even if he believes in fairies at the bottom of the garden.

  14. Eoin
    I just saw it (well, the one with Jon Snow) which was much better as he was allowd to explain policy without trivialities spoiling it.

  15. Eoin – I’m not sure I can bear another Clegg interview – is it just more of the same?

  16. I believe in fairies, angels, psychics, miracles AND re-incarnation.

    Compassionate Conservatism’s pushing it though.

  17. Sue lol

    All I am asking is the right to hold my beliefs without being called a loony or ignorant.

    I was on the executive committee of the Labour Club at the London School of Economics in 1990. I opposed the motion of free abortion on demand up to full term, this released opprobrium from people whose watchword was tolerance, the one person in the Labour Club who showed respect for my position was a socialist worker who like me would never claim to be a liberal.

  18. Eoin

    “I would not separate one religion for different treatment to the rest.”

    Nor me.

    But you wouldn’t have them taught as Science would you?

    That is the point about ID.

    Let me explain.
    ID proponents say that there is an “irreducible” level of complexity in nature below which removal of one piece destroys the functionality of the whole.
    Therefore-it is asserted-at that level natural selection could not create irreducibly complex systems, because the selectable function is present only when all parts are assembled.

    THe conclusion-it is then asserted- is that a divine creator must have been responsible.

    They want this taught as Science to children.

    It is not Science.

    One of their most favoured examples of this “irreducible complexity” is the eye-it cannot have evolved, because you need all the parts for it to function they say.

    In science, the sequence, from primitive, photosensitive cells , through various stages of light detecting ability confering survival advantage, and on through the development of more & more complex lenses is demonstrable.

    This is Science.

    ID ignores the slow incremental effects of advantageous mutations to produce different & enhanced funcionality.
    It must ignore it, because a 6000 year age for the earth ( scientifically disproven) does not allow the time for such changes to occur.

    A young earth date is critical , because it is that which emerges from totting up the ages of the tribes in the OLd Testament to find a date for “creation” .
    Everything stands or falls on the calculations of the age of the earth made by James Ussher, Anglican Archbishop of Armagh…..in the 17th Century. His calculation resulted in a date for the first day of creation at nightfall , Sunday, October 23, 4004 BC .

    This too is not Science.

  19. The thought of creationism being taught to children chills me to the bones. It is my biggest reason for being opposed to free schools.

    Evolution has been proven beyond doubt, in the fossil record but even more conclusively in our DNA. To deny this fact is ridiculous and offensive in my opinion.

  20. Adam

    “It is my biggest reason for being opposed to free schools.”

    THey wouldn’t get a licence.

    Gove covered it in an interview

  21. @Colin

    Thanks for that, shows my ignorance on that score. It’s stories like this that make me nervous


    I was under the impression that the system would make it easier to set up faith schools, which I’m also opposed to and so creationism or ID would go along with that.

    Please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, I do only catch the tail end of most of these things these days.

  22. Colin:

    “In science, the sequence, from primitive, photosensitive cells , through various stages of light detecting ability confering survival advantage, and on through the development of more & more complex lenses is demonstrable.”

    It’s not merely demonstrable – it’s actually observed in the natural world. Practically all intermediate steps in the evolution of the eye, from a light-sensitive patch of cells to a full-fledged mammalian-style eye, can be found in modern-day molluscs. What’s more, Darwin mentioned this in the Origin of Species. Quite why IDers persist with this line of argument is baffling to say the least.

  23. Andy S


    And the other favourite of ID’ers-the eubacterial flagellum.

    ID is a grotesque insult to the intelligence.

    Faith is one thing.

    Intelligent DEsign is something else entirely.

  24. Adam

    I just tried to cut & paste the interview but it won’t letr me .

    Here’s the link


    Its an interview with the British Humanist Ass-28/7/10

  25. Why does this bother you people so much?

  26. @Sue Because if people can’t deal in facts how can we move forward as a race? Because if you can’t work out basic facts how can you possibly know you are making the right choice at an election as opposed to one based on spin and ideology? Because if adults can’t deal in facts how can we try to teach our children anything?

  27. @ Eoin

    Tolerance is to be applauded. And I, for one, feel that the anti-religious retoric has to be toned down. But please consider the other point of view here.

    Creationism is but one of many worrying entry points into fundamentalism, along with book burning, filtering the internet, banning dance and music, destroying non-approved places of worship and works of art and disallowing women from fully participating in society.

    Let’s teach our kids science in science and religion in religious studies and let them make up their own minds about what they want to do with their lives, but a pretence that one particular type of religious view should share equal time on the curriculum with a testable theory of evolution is nonsence. Unless we are going to start teaching about fairies, extra terrestrials and spontaneous fusion

    @ Amber

    Let’s not do string theory again…


  28. Ok – I think it’s probably best to shut this one down. 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.

  29. Just in case anyone is interested. BBC Radio 4 are repeating this morning’s first part of ‘the Brown govt 2007-2010’. it starts at 9.30pm.

  30. My problem with ID and Young Earth theories is not that they are religious points of view. It is that they teach young people to look for evidence to support a conclusion which has already been decided upon. This does not encourage young people to discover new ideas, change existing points of view and come to conclusions based on logic, discussion and observation.
    Religion has a lot to say about morality and ethics.
    These are its strong points. They should stick to them and avoid science IMO.
    @SUE – Your post at 8.27 is funny. In fact I’m going to steal it and pretend I invented it and there’s nothing you can do about it. 8)

  31. Sorry Anthony. I posted before I read you were closing the subject down.
    Change of subject.
    Can anyone tell me if 54% wanting to leave the EU is higher, the same or lower than in previous polls?

  32. I would have expected that the very old would remember why we gave up capital punishment and that more of them would have been indoctrinated with and retained biblical myths.

    Not so, but why?

  33. Zeph/Colin,

    I am a history geek not a scientist. Thus, whether or not any of the so called provable stuff is or is not is quite beyond me. I am simply not informed enough on it to give an opinion.

  34. Can anybody reveal when we find our who the new leader is on Saturday?

  35. Zeph,

    According to the BBC the “leadership event” begins at 4pm on Saturday.

  36. The problem with the euro entry question is that I doubt if any (I mean any, alright one then) phone-polled has the faintest idea what could be involved. This is an issue which is unsuitable for plebiscites.

  37. i thought that the most significant poll was the one on income inequality

    i find it interesting that public think that a CEO should only earn 7 times as much as a checkout assistant. at the moment the ratio is about 200 to 1

    there is a big disconnect between reality and what the public perceive to be fair. but is it actually possible to exploit that disconnect politically?

  38. @ Jamie

    So I have scientific basis to say that creationists are living in a world of their own?
    Yes, indeed…
    …but maybe we all are! ;-)

  39. 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?
    God help us!

  40. It is ‘healthy’ that people are prepared to hold veiws that do not reflect the current paradigm.
    2+2=4 (effective paradigm).
    2+2 =5 (evolving consciousness).

  41. Dear all

    CREATIONISM – may I please leave a postscript having only just read [some of] the comments?

    I believe in God. I believe in the bible as the Inspired and irrevocable word of God.

    So it goes without saying that i believe that God created the heavens and the Earth (or ‘creationism’, the modern word).

    I understand many are not Christians and therefore do not share these views. What is almost more puzzling is that there are those who profess to be Christians who deny ‘creationism’ – which bit of Christianity do they believe in. I fear, and I say this sympathetically not critically, that they are “wandering stars”, basically fairly confused. Enough said on that.

    The National Secular Society. Humanists. I noticed at least one reference to these as some kind of authority onthe subject. Incredible.

    They may be entitled to their opinions but to quote as an authority?

    These are the people (not the Islamists in this case) who are persistently persecuting, ridiculing and marginalising Christians in this country, and in the process eroding free speech and civil liberties, all in the name of tolerance. To quote them as an authority on creationism/evolution is as ridiculous as it is offensive.

    I will make a new comment for my other 2 points as this is getting long…

  42. howard

    re euro

    to be honest i don’t understand what could be involed in joining the euro

    but i do know that we can’t join without a ref(unless we have a majorty blue govt)

    when are we going to have the ref on EU membership

  43. Graham BC

    When this topic came up before, earlier in the month, I posted you a (too-)long reply which you may have missed. It was at the bottom of a page and at that length was statistically almost certain to contain an accidental word to sent it to moderation (where it went). If you did miss it and can be bothered it’s here:

    ht tp://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/2793?cp=2#comment-671396

    I’ll add just one short comment re the Populus poll. Many believers in biblical creation nowadays are Muslims or Pentecostals and so more likely to be first or second generation immigrants. This may explain the age and regional splits (lowest belief in creationism in over 65’s and Wales/South West), though samples are small.

    Incidentally, the hardest-line on this sort of belief tends to be held by Muslims and Orthodox Jews, so I can’t see how the government can reassure us that evolutionary science will be taught properly in faith schools – particularly as even non-faith schools may have pressure put on them by religious parents not to teach the subject.

  44. @ Far Easterner

    There are ‘New Testament’ Christians who believe Jesus was the son of God but also believe that the Old Testament was written by men not God & is partly allegorical.

    It’s a point of view that allows people to be Christians without being creationists. I’m not looking for a debate, or taking sides, I’m just mentioning it. 8-)

  45. @ Richard

    Whilst I think of myself as being on the left, I am often surprised whenever I read stories about how much CEOs earn, for instance in Private Eye.

    To extrapolate beyond the usual bankers bashing one would need to carefully explore the remuneration of typical workers versus excessive reward packages of the few.

    With the prime minister’s salary in mind for a moment as a benchmark, I don’t think that the prime minister’s often quoted 20 to 1 ratio goes far enough.

    But then it is all too easy to present evidence selectively to promote a particular political point of view, median versus mean, neglecting to include vital bonuses and other benefits such as pensions, etc.

    There is the risk that the 9000 public servants paid more than the prime minister stories could become part of a narrative to soften up public sector workers for cuts.

    Far better to focus on how the cuts are likely to disproportionately effect typical public sector workers.

  46. Roger

    THis initiative was from the last Government :-


    I presume Gove hasn’t countermanded it


    Labour & Conservative neck & neck on 39 each (Dems on 13%)!!!

  48. @ Richard,

    Sorry forgot to add IMHO

  49. @Adam – Creationism – what a laugh. Say Hi to Eve for me.

    @Far Easterner – “I believe in the bible as the Inspired and irrevocable word of God.”

    Excellent. I’ll also assume then that you believe that rich people getting into heaven is as difficult as camels getting through the eyes of needles etc. Assuming wealth as a relative measure on a global scale, this means that virtually all UK residents are consigned to hell. Not sure where you’re based, or how much you earn relative to the global average, but I suspect this one might catch alot of believers out.


    mainly relevant for Colin perhaps.

    1. DARWIN – the instigator of the theory of evolution. This man actually believed in ‘creationism’ himself! He agonised on his deathbed over what he started as a younger man, putting out, as he put it, unformed and rash ideas, which were then – to his surprise – spread like wildfire and promulgated as fact.

    2. If you want to refer to the bible, refer to it accurately.

    Nowhere in Genesis chapter one, in the creation spoken of from verse three, does it say that this was the first part of creation – that referred to in verse one. Verse two refers to the Earth as “waste and empty” – hardly how God would have created it, as recognised widely amongst many Christians. The first part of the creation no doubt did include dinosaurs and many other findings that have been made, allegedly going back millions of years even. The point often missed, is that for all we know (and we’re not meant to know everything, or else faith would be needless), there WERE millions of years between verses one and two of Genesis chapter one. Isaiah chapter 45 and verse 18 is interesting in this connection.

    I know I haven’t gone into the fact that Mankind was first created as per Genesis 1 & 2, 6000 years ago, and the alternate theories regarding millions of years of evolution. I doubt I could , and will spaare you my attempting to tonight! However, if you have a bible read Hebrews chapter 11 and verse 3, especially the second half of the verse.

    Our universe – even our Earth – is so glorious in all its detail even to those of us who haven’t studied it scientifically much, that only a Creator could have created it (I realise many readers will not share this view, although I hope I’ve got you thinking!).

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