Today’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 35%, LAB 39%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 8%. The four point lead looks very much like an outlier, so I would treat it will some scepticism unless later polls this week show a similar pattern.

YouGov also repeated their semi-regular tracker about trust in various professions following the BBC’s recent troubles. The proportion of people saying they trusted BBC News journalists to tell the trust was down from 57% last month to 44% now, and for the first time marginally more people said they didn’t trust BBC journalists than said they did.

To put this in context, BBC News journalists are still more trusted than journalists on other channels or newspapers, but there has been a sharp decline in recent years. The impact of the Newsnight affair is just a further blow to an already declining reputation. When YouGov first asked the question back in 2003, prior to Andrew Gilligan and the Hutton Report, 81% of people said they trusted BBC News journalists to tell the truth. The drop from 81% to 44% is close to a halving of public trust in BBC journalism over the last decade.

The long term trends show a number of interesting patterns over that decade. There has been a decline in trust towards most groups, the exception being those that were not particularly trusted to start with. So doctors, teachers, local police officers and judges remain the most trusted professions, and the only ones trusted by more than half the population. Police chiefs are trusted by 49% of people, down from 72% back in 2003. The recent revelations over Hillsborough do not, incidentally, appear to have do any particular damage, the drop in trust towards police chiefs came back between 2003 and 2006.

All journalists have seen a drop in their trust ratings, though this has effected tabloid journalists the least (because very few people trusted them to begin with). Trust in mid-market newspapers like the Mail and the Express has halved over the decade, from 36% in 3003 to 18% now. Trust in the broadsheets has fallen from 65% to 38%. Surprisingly there appears to be very little lasting effect from the phone hacking affair. If you look at the figures from July 2011 – conducted when the phone hacking scandal was at its height – there is an obvious drop in trust towards newspaper journalists, trust in broadsheets fell by 6 points, in mid-market papers by 5 points, in tabloids by 4 points. However, if you look at the figures from January 2012 and since then trust in the newspapers appears to have recovered to the sort of figures there were showing prior to phone hacking.

170 Responses to “YouGov show falling trust in the BBC”

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  1. I guess it isn’t apparent south of the border, but many people in Scotland feel BBC have a strong unionist bias. (I’m not sure whether Scottish unionists think BBC are neutral or not.)
    As soon as you become aware of the BBC’s bias on Scottish issues, it becomes really hard to believe they would report other stories in a neutral and trustworthy fashion.

  2. I think theres a fairly signficant bias towards the views of wealthy centre->centreleft paternalistic londoners. Not suprising given that thats largely who runs the institution.

  3. CON 35%, LAB 39%

    Oooh could be the Nadine in the Jungle effect.

    Surely Ed will have to find some obscure and outspoken MP on his side to chuck into the jungle to bring them poll rating back into line.

    Calling on the Best of Bolsover!!

    As for the BBC…just privatise it and sell it off to the lowest bidder.

  4. Beast of Bolsover#

  5. As neither a unionist or a nationalist, I am aware of the BBC’s occasional blip regarding Scottish coverage.

    Things such Brian Taylor being the only editor / correspondent on their website, and with very few articles where one can comment. This contrasts to the other countries’ political editors / correspondents’ comments’ policy. I’m not sure about Brian Taylor. I got the impression he was distinctly unionist, but he seems to have adjusted his stance since 2011 a little.

    We can assume that in spite of the SNP being the only political party in the UK with a clear political mandate to govern its allocated area, they will not get a place on any UK televised debate at election time (BBC or otherwise). I do appreciate that the rUK are not that interested, but I feel the leaders should travel North and show their mettle against that leader (I doubt they would ever give him the opportunity; it’s not in their interests).

    We can’t really blame the BBC for its slightly more unionist leanings. It is a British institution, and any threat to that would threaten not only its initials, but its funding allocation: (dated some time after 2003)

    “That Scotland with 8.6% of the UK population should receive only 3.7 % of the BBC’s programme making expenditure for Scottish programming only allows BBC Scotland to provide something akin to a skeleton media service for its Scottish audience.”

    One can understand that there would be a leaning towards London. It has the infrastructure, the employees and all the rest, but how many people are not getting a job in Scotland as a result?

    For the case of the Unionists, the BBC Scotland political blogs get too partisan and polarised, and all too often the worst of the nationalists seemed to almost bombard the BBC with their points of view (I saw it myself once or twice). The BBC missed a trick to appoint a Scottish moderator to the blogs. It would have cost a pittance, and increased the funding allocation (albeit, by a tiny amount).

    Many in the BBC balked at the idea of the Salford move, and some (according to the DM) feel the breakfast program is Manc-dominated with guests. In this sense the BBC cannot please all of the people all of the time.

  6. Many of us actually loathe the BBC and its left wing bias. If it had to live in the real world without troughing on my money it would be more responsive to what many millions of us think.

    On all major issues – the EU, Border Controls, Climate Change etc – the BBC is anti the interests of the UK. How come for example it excludes sceptics over climate change – and refused to reveal the names of 28 who formed its policy on Climate Change ?

    The BBC is like the old Soviet Politbureau – privileged, wasteful, gluttonous and the guardian of its own defined Orwellian truth system

  7. Colin (fpt)

    I think it absolutely certain [Tom Watson] referred to a Tory politician.

    So does everyone else.

    Well according to Watson’s own blog (in a copy of a letter to Rob Wilson MP):

    The former child protection specialist who raised his concerns with me did so because after the Murdoch scandal, he felt I was prepared to speak out on a perceived injustice and see it through to the end – no matter where the evidence leads and whoever it affects and regardless of political persuasion. I should point out to you that my few public statements regarding an alleged child abuse ring have taken pains not to identify the political affinity of the suspected perpetrators. Nor have I at any point, publicly identified the time period to which the allegations apply. This is not a fit subject for point scoring.

    So if you can point to somewhere where he does refer to or otherwise identify suspects as Conservatives, please let us know. Saying “everyone knows” isn’t really good enough. Unless you are suggesting that all paedophiles are member of the Conservative Party, in which case maybe we should be locking up all members of that dangerous organisation. :P

  8. What about trust in pollsters?

  9. ha ha

    I see the Sun and Mirror and other tabloids are trusted by 10% of which 9% only trust them “fairly”.

    The 1% who trust them implicitly…I’ve got a bridge to sell to them.

  10. Michael,

    “Many of us actually loathe the BBC and its left wing bias. If it had to live in the real world without troughing on my money it would be more responsive to what many millions of us think.”

    Like Fox News, that responds exactly to what it’s views want.

    Whether it is accurate is open to discussion particularly as it seemed to be telling its viewers that Romney was a dead cert for the Presidency.

    As to BBC bias I am laid back about that in that I regularly come across people from both left and right attacking it’s bias against them. Most politicians seem to take the view that any media questioning of their self evident brilliance is proof of bias against them.

    The majority of SNP members view BBC Scotland as bias and pro Unionist, but equally we have Scottish Labour MP’s referring to Newnight Scotland as NewsNat!

    I think BBC Scotland does it’s best but suffers from something that isn’t quite bias but can look like it.

    I like Brian Taylor’s blog but wish their was more of it and you could comment. However the comments eventually had to be stopped because of the vitriol that overwhelmed it.

    Unfortunately the bitterness and acrimony that characterises the Independence debate makes a discussion forum all but impossible to run, just look at the comments sections on both the Herald or Scotsman.

    Where BBC Scotland’s political coverage is weak is that it has fallen into the trap of pursuing neutrality by simply repeating the claims of others rather than following an independent line of it’s own.

    So when one side or the other is interviewed that are subjected to a list of questions lifted from their opponents. When an interview consists of having to defend against your opponents attacks you can see how it could appear to be biased.

    I know it is difficult by I think BBC Scotland should try to be more than a referee is a boxing match.

    The second general criticism comes from resourcing and pressure of work. BBC Scotland comes across too often as precocial and light weight with the same guests turning up time and time again to say the same things.

    Gerry Hassan, Professor Curtis, Alf Young, Bill Jamieson are all knowledgeable but we see at least one of them every week.

    Pressure of time and work leads to a tendency to rely too much on a small circle of reliable contributors and that tend to lead to a narrowing of debate and discussion.

    When you need to get today’s story out and have a few hours to do it, you have little time to dig deep so you fall back on the same people saying the same things as before. That leads to facts being arranged to fit an established narrative rather than letting that facts create a narrative of there own.

    In short BBC Scotland isn’t as good as I think it should be but it isn’t biased as much as bullied.


  11. Shevii – ComRes included it in a similar question earlier this year.

    Just 27% of people trust pollsters apparently!


    I hear & read what he says.

    I withdraw “everyone else” -which of course leaves me :-)

  13. There is a huge tendency among the vocal but very small minority of people that post at the bottom of right-leaning media sites to get as angry about BBC ‘bias’ as they do about the EU or climate change.

    And any polling firm that disagrees with their world view (witness the treatment handed out to Nate Sliver over the Atlantic).

    It is the latter that is the most illustrative of this interesting psychological effect: a small faction of people (often affiliated with the Tea Party in the USA) that feel the need to convince themselves that reality itself – science, historical facts – is somehow part of a huge liberal conspiracy.

    The end result is a set of people that become less and less aware that it is their own views that are out of sync with the majority.

    Because every independent poll tells the same story:
    People generally like the BBC.
    People generally believe that man-made climate change is real and is happening.
    People generally don’t think the EU is a big issue in their lives.

    On a more on-topic point, I’d wager money that the marked drop in trust in BBC journos picks up a tad as this story fades.

  14. The idea that “the BBC” has some sort of hierarchical attitude to politics – or anything else – seems somewhat ludicrous to me. Are we supposed to believe that every single journalist signs up to this and that all news is written by a single controlling hand with some sort of right wing [or left wing] agenda.

    Its called “THE bbc” but the obvious reality is that its the sum of thousands of individual parts.

    Looked at in the round it is an organisation of which we should be rightly proud [not that we do “proud” of course] but, like most people and organisations, with flaws.

    Its no more sinister than that in my, measured opinion.

    I’d guess that the Newsnight fiasco was just a typical human over-reaction to the criticism they received for pulling the previous story and thinking “we’ll go ahead this time.”

    No-one seems to remember that many [including Piers Morgan who ludicrously said “grow a pair Paxo”] actually scorned the programme at the time for not naming the individual being discussed. How wrong were they and would you ptefer them to be in charge?

  15. Re Tom Watson & the media coverage. What he actually said was:

    Mr Tom Watson (West Bromwich East) (Lab): The evidence file used to convict paedophile Peter Righton, if it still exists, contains clear intelligence of a widespread paedophile ring. One of its members boasts of his links to a senior aide of a former Prime Minister, who says he could smuggle indecent images of children from abroad. The leads were not followed up, but if the file still exists I want to ensure that the Metropolitan police secure the evidence, re-examine it and investigate clear intelligence suggesting a powerful paedophile network linked to Parliament and No. 10.

    See, no mention of which party the PM belonged to. No wonder people are losing trust with reporters of all kind because they simply take a line & add their own twist to it – regardless of the facts.

  16. AW

    Guess you did not like the first sentence hence the moderation.

    It was just a little joke, as some people are having a go at Tom Watson, when he should be congratulated for raising another important issue.

  17. Chordata,

    True , no mention of which PM, but as Watson is a Labour MP and it happened when Thatcher was PM you hardly need to be Sherlock Holmes do you.

    As to the leads weren’t followed up, we’ll that is more assertion than fact. They may well have been investigated and nothing substantiated. We just don’t know.

    That in part is why we need a new enquiry.


  18. @Michael – ” How come for example it excludes sceptics over climate change…”

    I have difficultly in letting this past unchallenged, as in my most respectful tone, I have to say it’s total nonsense. The problem with BBC reporting of climate change is actually the complete opposite.

    As the BBC must maintain impartiality, it’s approach to reporting climate change issues on it’s news and current affairs programs is not to accurately represent scientific opinion in a proportionate manner, but instead to ensure there is a 50/50 balance between sceptic and proponent.

    This is a fundamental problem of journalism, and creates the impression that there are lots of scientists out there who hold opposing views to the mainstream view of climate change, whereas in reality the number and intellectual quality of the opponents is very limited within the scientific community.

    There is a bias in BBC reporting of climate change, but it is actually entirely in the other direction. If you knew anything about the science of climate change, you would know this already.

  19. Nasty inflation numbers today, and this is before the recently announced energy price rises kick in. The increase in RPI inflation was even higher than the official CPI rise, so all in all it’s not good news for consumer confidence and high street spending.

    One little nugget (and I do mean a little nugget) is that the ONS has found that sweet manufacturers have been reducing the size of products. This is counted as a price rise, so has had a small impact on the inflation figures, but on the bright side, we might see a touch less obesity in the coming years…..

  20. Finally made my mind up how to vote in the PCC elections. 1st Preference for an Indpendent Ann Barnes. She seems quite good, years of experience locally and nationally in Policing and Criminal Justice, as Chair of Kent Police Authority, Deputy Chair of National APA, magistrate for 27 years.

    And then my 2nd preference will probably go to the Labour candidate Harriet Bronwen Yeo, just to give the Tories a midterm kicking.

  21. Strong accusations of price rigging in energy markets.

    Quelle surprise!

  22. What I don’t understand is why the police picked out that particular Tory, the witness was not shown a photo by the police and the idea that this particular man was responsible came from the police, according to the witness. Then after been shown a photo of the alleged, he retracted. There is something very odd about the whole thing. It’s unbelievable that the police didn’t do more to positively identify the culprit. Why did they think it was that man without conclusive evidence? Seem all very odd to me and the BBC drama is just a sideshow to the real issue, what do/did the police know that we don’t?

    I’m struck by a similarity with the Dr Kelly case(sexed up dossier) where the “suicide” of doctor Kelly was blamed on the BBC but the real issue of whether the dossier had been sexed up was shoved to the side, we later found out that it was indeed sexed up.

  23. @Alec
    ” If you knew anything about the science of climate change, you would know this already.”
    Michael may be an expert on the subject for all we know and he is entitled to his opinion without being dismissed as an ignoramus. I am all in favour of saving the planet, but I am sceptical when the doom-mongers use footage of the ends of glaciers falling into the sea as “evidence” of global warming. Sceptics could equally well say “if you knew anything about glaciers, or long-term solar cycles – – etc etc”

  24. I just phoned up the TV Licence people and asked them for a break down for my £145.00 licence fee.

    I was told it’s set by the government and the fee is for receiving a TV signal.

    Anyway they are sending an email to me with an exact breakdown of what I’m paying for. No mention of funding the BBC from the person I spoke to. Si as well as paying SKY for a signal and BT for my Internet I also have to pay for a TV signal??

    So who funds the BBC?

  25. After today’s revelations about the BBC’s 2006 meeting participants I suspect the polls will need to be re-done. It’s clear that trust in the BBC’s reporting on climate change will take a major hit in the aftermath. All the “usual suspects” on the BBC side seem to be involved, along with a panel of outsiders designed for confirmation bias.

    It’s the right hook following straight after the left hook that delivers the knockout.

  26. Allan:

    The thing to remember is that when yer dead none of this will matter; as I understand it telly is free in heaven.

    On the downside the proggies are a bit holey-moley and there is nae footy.


    It’s all a big cover up. One cover up hiding another cover up etc etc.

    The UK preaches fairness and equality all over the world but can’t stand it on their own door step.

    If the real truth came out then it would probably bring down the government and cause a public backlash against Westminster.

  28. Global warming seems obvious to me in the same way that the smoking link to lung cancer was denied for years. To me it is obvious: if you pollute your lungs or your atmosphere it has bad consequences.

    The smog in China was so bad when I went to the Beijing wall, I thought ‘you might be able to see the wall from space but you sure can’t see it from the earth’

  29. RiN:

    Yes, we’re one of those evil nations that Bush talked about so much.


    Why wait till I’m dead, thought the licence fee was free when you hit 75?

    As for the footy, the beeb don’t screen any. ;)

  31. Well I’ve always been surprised by the amount of coverage that climate change receives when a perhaps bigger and certainly more pressing problem, that of peak oil receives almost no coverage. I often suspect that climate change is used as a smokescreen for peak oil, because measures to reduce climate change also involve reducing consumption of oil which has the effect of delaying peak oil or mitigating its effects. In fact when the Copenhagen conference was so intent on reducing carbon emissions I was sure that we had reached peak oil, and as it turns out I was right, 2004 being the most likely peak year although opec have pointed to 2008

  32. Rathr laughably, the BBC pay Sky for showing BBC channels. Always makes me laugh, that one. As if Sky could afford not to show BBC output.

    So why don’t Sky have to pay BBC to show their output?

    Must have had some influence over policy, sometime or another. It was Maggie that made the BBC pay Sky £10m a year, when it should at the very least be the other way around.

  33. The annual cost of a colour TV licence is £145.50 (as from 1 April 2010). A black and white TV licence is £49.

    So I can adjust my TV to black and White and pay £49?

  34. For those still interested in child protection the Australian Labor PM has announced a Royal Commission into child abuse in Australia. That many of the abused children came from the UK will no doubt lead to more relevations in the UK

  35. They should just privatise the BBC. I don’t think too many people would mind seeing an advert for pot noodles during Eastenders.

    Let them fund themselves!!

  36. Nick p

    That really weird, it makes no commercial since at all, the BBC should be getting paid for its programmes being shown not the other way around

  37. @NickP

    “Must have had some influence over policy, sometime or another. It was Maggie that made the BBC pay Sky £10m a year, when it should at the very least be the other way around.”

    Presumably this arrangement must eventually come to an end (the sooner the better). As a transitional arrangement it might have made some sense, but it is now plainly nonsense for the BBC to have to pay its main competitor to make the sompeting product more attractive to prospective subscribers.

  38. @Peter Cairns

    “True , no mention of which PM, but as Watson is a Labour MP and it happened when Thatcher was PM you hardly need to be Sherlock Holmes do you.”

    Well, Paul Waugh today has a report of abuse claims by Sir Cyril Smith. No idea yet of whether this abuse happened while Smith was a Liberal or during his Labour years.

    The victims have been side-lined – shame on all those that have allowed this to happen.

  39. We never seem to be happy do we and it’s either damned if you do or damned if you don’t. One minute we bemoan the lack of independently minded backbench MPs who champion worthwhile and important causes and then, when one emerges like Tom Watson, some amongst us impugn him mercilessly, probably because he threatens vested interests that they support. Watson may well be fiercely partisan on a lot of issues, and not well desposed to Tory politicians, but his work in exposing the widespread criminality in News International and highlighting possible establishment cover-ups on historical child abuse scandals is what I would expect and hope any good MP, of any party, would do. As far as I can tell he was making no overtly party political points in either of these cases and it required a great deal of personal courage for him to wade into these murky and shark-infested waters.

    Most of our MPs, sadly, are lickspittle party loyalists looking for career related favours from those on high; political pygmies who do little beyond lobbing full tosses for their leaders to hit at Question Time and mouthing on-message soundbites. Watson breaks this mould, as does Nadine Dorries in a peculiar sort of way, and we should celebrate them. If only we had a few more turbulent priests like them in Parliament, our public life might be immeasurably better and a much less comfortable place for the powerful and privileged to colonise for their own ends.

  40. Wolf Attack: Russian Granny Fights Off Beast

    A woman from a village in southern Russia fought off a wolf with her bare hands and killed it with an axe.

    Huh.. that Nadine Dorries couldnt even fight off a squirrel with a bamboo stick.

    Mon the Granny!!

  41. @Michael

    Totally agree, excellent description of the BBC, best I’ve seen yet!

  42. Shocked to learn that the BBC has to pay Sky! As someone who pays for a license fee but doesn’t buy Sky I’m stunned that some of that fee is going towards Sky.

    The arrangement needs to be reversed immediately. Sky would be sunk if it couldn’t show BBC channels, it should be paying the BBC!

    At the moment, I pay the license fee which goes to the BBC who then use that to make content, and also give some of it to Sky, to show that content! So effectively I’m paying for the program to be made, and paying for someone who buys sky to be able to watch it as well!

    This needs to be changed.

  43. “Trust in mid-market newspapers like the Mail and the Express has halved over the decade, from 36% in 3003”

    Are you telling me that not only do you have a time machine, but also that the Mail and Express are still going in 31st century?

    That is just too horrific to contemplate.

  44. Like Fox News, that responds exactly to what it’s views want.
    Whether it is accurate is open to discussion particularly as it seemed to be telling its viewers that Romney was a dead cert for the Presidency.

    I would add that any organisation that specialises in only those “facts” (I use the term loosely) that make it’s target audience feel better without any consideration of balance is not in the same league as the BBC.

    Can anyone imagine Fox News or any of the other Murdoch stable setting up an independent inquiry into it’s own failings.

    The BBC sets the Gold Standard for Broadcast journalism which is why when it doesn’t live up to it’s own standards the public are surprised.

    I doubt anyone would be remotely surprised to find the tabloid press not checking it’s stories for veracity before publication. Consequently a failing of this type wouldn’t impact in their viewers or readers loosing faith in them as there wasn’t any to loose.

  45. People on the right are getting all heated about who the BBC. Invited to discuss their coverage of climate change but as 95% plus of the scientific community view it as man made it seems to be a fair list to me.

    The anti lobby seem to be trying a two pronged approach.

    We didn’t get equal representation so it is biased and they kept it secret so it is a conspiracy. Parr for the course really everyone is part of a liberal consensus against us.

    Fits in with Fox News and the rest of the right.
    The only real facts are our facts!


  46. @It Doesn’t Add Up, Michael and Ozwald,

    The question isn’t about whether you as individuals believe in climate change. As far as the BBC is concerned, the question is whether there is a global scientific consensus on the subject, which there is. You don’t have to personally agree with the IPCC conclusions, but the levels of support for the different positions are there in black and white. For years the BBC and other press felt that for “balance” they needed to have a sceptic express their views every time they had a piece talking about climate change. Which gave the false impression that scientific opinion is closely divided. We don’t expect creationists to come on for balance every time there’s an item on evolution, so why expect sceptics to get equal air time? As Alec says, there has been media bias, but it is entirely the other way. Sceptics get far more coverage than their actual standing in the scientific community warrants.

  47. Every one – even on here – seems to think the BBC supports the opposite point of view to what they support.

    I guess it must be doing a good job as being neutral then.

  48. Chordata

    The stuff about Cyril Smith is very old news. The current Private Eye has a piece referring back to articles it published back in 1979 on the subject and I think there may have been references since.

    What is interesting that the names that keep occurring among those who keep trying to expose these scandals – Private Eye, Nick Davies, Tom Watson – are the same as those who tried so long to expose phone hacking. It shows how the British media have almost entirely degenerated into a fan club for the powerful. The very fact that there needs to be a Bureau of Investigative Journalism is rather revealing.

  49. Interesting aspect of the table going back to 2003 is that there has been an almost universal decline in trust in everyone.

    The decline has been so pronounced that we have the bizarre result that post the banking crisis and in the same week as we have an investigation into energy price fixing the only group to be more trusted are ” people running major businesses” up from 20% to 23%.

    That’s just what Britain needs…. More bankers calling the shots!


  50. Roger

    Agree 100% British media are just suck ups

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