At the weekend the Sunday Times reported a new ICM poll of British Muslims, conducted for a Channel Four documentary later this week. I’ve written about polls of ethnic and religious minorities in Britain here before – they tend be both controversial and extremely difficult to do. On top of that the topics that tend to get asked carry with them risks of stoking racial tension, so it is crucial that they are done in the most responsible and robust way possible.

So how do you conduct a poll of British Muslims? With difficulty – there is no ideal way, no route that does not include compromises and result in skews and biases. British Muslims are around about 5% of the population, distributed unevenly around the country. Some groups within the community will have come here only recently, and perhaps have poor English. That’s difficult to poll in an affordable way – let’s go through the possibilities. The first would be to go to a very large database of people of known demographics (such as the existing panels of YouGov or another internet polling company) and recruit Muslims from there – this is the easiest route, the company will already know the religion of their panellists and at 5% incidence you’ll probably be able to get enough. The problem is that the British Muslims who join an internet panel are probably skewed towards the well integrated, people who have been here for years or generations and speak fluent English.

What about telephone polling? Well at 5% incidence just randomly ringing numbers and asking if they are Muslim isn’t a feasible route. Things that have been tried in the past include re-contacting Muslims who have taken part in past general polls and indicated a willingness to take part in future polls, snowballing (that is, asking Muslim interviewees for contact numbers for other Muslims who would be willing to take part) or even just ringing up people with “Muslim names” in telephone number databases. These all have their own potential biases.

The final approach is face-to-face sampling, knocking on doors and asking to interview people. This has the same problems as telephone of Muslims only being 5% of the population, but it can be tackled by knocking on doors in areas with a high proportion of Muslims. Here comes the compromise: if you are knocking on doors in Tower Hamlets one in three households will be Muslim, if you are polling in Cornwall only one in five hundred households will be Muslim. Face-to-face polls of British Muslims therefore ignore those areas with a very low percentage of British Muslims, where it is not financially feasible to knock on hundreds of doors for every interview. This inevitably produces a skew towards those British Muslims who live in Muslims areas, but it is a matter of degree how mild or serious it is.

So if we go back to the Ethnic Minority British Election Study back in 2010, they only did interviews in areas that were least 2% BME in the census, which covered 88% of the BME population in Britain. They had a budget that was the best part of a million quid though, and I doubt Channel 4 were willing to go that far for a poll. By necessity ICM’s poll was more limited. It covered areas (Local Super Output Areas to be specific – it’s an ONS defined area of about 1000-1500 people) that are at least 20% Muslim. This covers about 51% of the British Muslim population, meaning the 49% of British Muslims that live in areas with a lower concentration of Muslims were not included in the poll.

For obvious reasons it is likely that a British Muslim who lives in an area where all their friends and colleagues are also Muslim may have different attitudes to a British Muslim who lives in an area where there are few other Muslims and their friends and colleagues are mostly non-Muslim. It also means the poll was probably skewed towards areas of relative social deprivation, and perhaps towards Muslims of particular ethnic backgrounds. The poll would not have been perfect… but then, no other poll of British Muslims would be either. It’s probably the best attempt to poll British Muslims properly that we’ve seen for several years and, given no one is waiting around the corner with a cheque for a million quid to do a more elaborately sampled poll than ICM’s, I think we should probably take this one seriously, but having due regard for the limitations of the sample. This is a poll of those British Muslims living in areas with a comparatively high Muslim population, which may well mean they are less integrated and have more conservative views than British Muslims living in areas that are overwhelmingly non-Muslim. With that caveat aside, what does it actually say about those British Muslims?

Let’s start by confirming the finding of previous surveys – the overwhelming majority of British Muslims identify as British. In fact, more so than the British population in general – 86% of British Muslims identify as British, 83% of the GB population in general. British Muslims are more likely to feel they can influence decisions in their area than most people in GB, feel better represented by their MP and local councillors. In terms of belonging and confidence they are part of the polity, British Muslims seem very well integrated.

ICM also asked about various measures of social conservatism. British Muslims were consistently more socially conservative than the British population as a whole, strikingly so in questions about attitudes towards homosexuality. 33% of Muslims thought boys and girls should be educated separately, 47% disagreed it was acceptable for a homosexual to teach in a school, 52% disagreed that homosexuality should be legal, 39% said wives should always obey their husbands.

The next section explored the issue of anti-Semitism. In terms of attitudes towards Jewish people themselves, British Muslims were not hostile. ICM asked respondents to express their feelings towards different religious and ethnic groups on a thermometer. On average Muslim respondents rated their feelings towards Jewish people at 57, compared to 64 among the GB control sample. Not a huge gulf, though it was larger than the gap on parallel questions about Catholics, Protestants and so on. The Muslim sample were, however, less likely to say they thought anti-Semitism was a problem in Britain today and were significantly more likely to agree with a range of anti-Semitic tropes than the wider GB population were. Around a third of British Muslims agreed with statements about Jews having too much power and influence in Britain and the world, compared to about one in ten in the control sample.

The final part of the survey dealt with attitudes towards violence and terrorism. This is the often the most controversial part of polls of British Muslims, and the bit that is often rightly criticised. It is important to be careful with wording and it is crucial that there is a control sample of non-Muslims to avoid painting Muslims as unusually supportive of violence or terrorism when non-Muslims would actually answer questions in the same way. The ICM poll does well on both, asking a broad range of different scenarios and issues, all also asked to a GB control sample.

Asked about the use of violence in general, answers of British Muslims and the GB control sample were not that different. Sympathy for violence against government injustice or police injustice were similar. Muslim respondents were more sympathetic for violence in defence of religion, the GB sample were significantly more sympathetic towards violence to protect one’s family.

Asked about support for terrorism, British Muslims were more likely to say they were sympathetic to terrorism than the GB control sample, but the net figures were extremely low in both cases.

  • Asked about organising radical groups, the GB control sample was the more sympathetic. 11% would sympathise, 74% condemn. Among British Muslims the figures were 6% sympathise, 75% condemn.
  • Now asked about making threats of terrorism, 6% of British Muslims said they would sympathise, 79% condemn. The figures in the GB control sample were 2% sympathise, 95% condemn.
  • Asked about actually committing terrorist actions, 4% of British Muslims said they would sympathise, 83% condemn. In the GB control sample 1% would sympathise, 95% would condemn.

The survey then asked more specifically about issues around ISIS. 7% of British Muslims said they supported the principle of ISIS’s aims – the creation of a caliphate – 67% were opposed. However support for the principle of an Islamic State does not necessarily imply support for ISIS’s actions, asked if they supported how ISIS was attempting to set up an Islamic State support fell to 3%.

So overall, we have a picture of a British Muslim community that identifies with Britain. It has views that that are much more socially conservative than Britain in general, particularly on homosexuality. The overwhelming majority of British Muslims condemn terrorism and ISIS, but a tiny minority do not. There is nothing here that is a huge surprise, but it has been a long time since we’ve had any hard data to back it up with. In terms of the way the poll was done, remember that the sampling did only cover areas with a comparatively high Muslim population. It’s not as crude as picking by local authority – taking LSOAs means it will include pockets of Muslims people across the country. It doesn’t cover the 49% of Muslims who live in areas that are less than 20% Muslim though, where I think it likely British Muslims are more integrated and have more in similar with their non-Muslim neighbours. Even if that does make a difference though, and views of other British Muslims are less distinct from the rest of British society, this poll should give us a good guide to the 50% of British Muslims who live in areas with a comparatively high Muslim population.

The full data is here.


148 Responses to “ICM poll of British Muslims”

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  1. Probably first.

  2. First?

    “Asked about actually committing terrorist actions, 4% of British Muslims said they would sympathise, 83% condemn. In the GB control sample 1% would sympathise, 95% would condemn”
    ……

    Muslims make up 5% of the UK population and asked about actually committing terrorist actions, 4% of British Muslims said they would sympathise. so 5% of 64 million = 3.2 million, 4% of 3.2 million = 128,000 wannabe terrorists.

    I don’t know who the 1% are in the GB control sample were but that’s also concerning.

  3. Ken..You bugger… ;-)
    ………

    ” Here comes the compromise – if you are knocking on doors in Tower Hamlets one in three households will be Muslim, if you are polling in, say, Cornwall only one in five hundred households will be Muslim”
    ______

    “Cornish house prices could rise by 10% year on year”

    I wonder if the two are in anyway linked ;-)

  4. I was looking through the article for some detail which the likes of The Sun or Daily Express might try to pick out as a scare story, but lo and behold, Allan’s already beaten me to it.

    “128,000 wannabe terrorists”

  5. I’ve written about polls of ethnic and religious minorities in Britain here before – they tend be both controversial and extremely difficult to do. On top of that the topics that tend to get asked carry with them risks of stoking racial tension….

    A very important point.

    The ceaseless segregation of Britain into “muslim” and “non-muslim” is not so very far removed from the German treatment of Jews and the South African treatment of blacks.

    People are people. And British people are British people.

    And that is how they should be viewed.

  6. 4% of 3.2 million = 128,000 wannabe terrorists.

    —-

    Does that follow? I’m sympathetic towards gay rights and the Amazon tribes, that doesn’t make me gay and I’ve yet to book a one way flight to Brazil!

    I’m also absolutely certain that at least 128,000 “non-muslims” in Britain are also “sympathetic” to terrorism and terror attacks. There are —-s in all walks of life.

  7. @ David in France

    I have to disagree. This is polling, not ‘segregation’.

    Without some research of this type, it would be easy to exaggerate such support as there is among British Muslims for terrorist groups. Far right groups have frequently attempted to do just that.

  8. DAVID IN FRANCE

    “I’m also absolutely certain that at least 128,000 “non-muslims” in Britain are also “sympathetic” to terrorism and terror attacks. There are —-s in all walks of life”
    _____

    Absolutely, mostly in Northern Ireland I would suspect.

  9. Hang on Allan – if 1% of the control sample are sympathetic, doesn’t that make (64,000,000 * 0.01) – 128,000 = 512,000 wannabe non-Muslim terrorists? We really should be concerned!

  10. Just a point not alluded to elsewhere. The poll dates back to June 2015. So how reliable or relevant is it? Or can we conduct the Brexit debate on one year old polls as well?

  11. Muggins here has actually read the tables in full – all 600 pages of them (!)

    Barring a few very leading questions, I think ICM has done a good job, and it’s unfortunate that C4 gave the gig to Trevor Philips (who unfortunately has form in these matters) to sensationalise something quite unremarkable.

  12. FREDERIC HEATH-RENN

    I noticed you conveniently missed out the part in my comment where I said…”I don’t know who the 1% are in the GB control sample were but that’s also concerning”

  13. Also wouldn’t it be more traditional to count anyone who didn’t condemn as a wannabe terrorist, not just the people who explicitly said they might sympathise? I think that makes 544,000 Muslims and 2,565,000 non-Muslims who are wannabe terrorists. Even Norn Iron can’t account for all of those. :-)

  14. Many thanks AW for the summary. It’s extremely useful in helping to understand the poll.

  15. @James E

    “I was looking through the article for some detail which the likes of The Sun or Daily Express might try to pick out as a scare story, but lo and behold, Allan’s already beaten me to it.
    “128,000 wannabe terrorists”

    AC is our resident tabloid subeditor.

  16. AW’s summary is, as ever, excellent.

    The comments we’ve seen – scaling up the percentage of those muslims who said they would ‘sympathise’ with terrorism as a number of ‘wannabe terrorists’ in the UK – are beyond contempt.

  17. JAMES E

    You made your point in an earlier comment and we obviously have different opinions ……….get over it!!

  18. AW – thanks for the excellent summary, but the link to the full data doesn’t work for me. As RAF said he’s read it all, I assume the target site has changed for some reason.

    @David in France
    “The ceaseless segregation of Britain into “muslim” and “non-muslim” is not so very far removed from the German treatment of Jews and the South African treatment of blacks.
    People are people. And British people are British people.”

    You should come to Birmingham, and I’ll take you to areas that don’t feel at all British.

  19. Check my maths for me

    64,000,000 in UK
    x 0.95 = 60,800,000 non-Muslims
    x 0.01 = 608,000 “wannabe terrorists” who aren’t Muslim.

    So 15 out of 19 “wannabe terrorists” are not Muslim.

    I’d like to know how many of these “wannabe terrorists” are Kippers.

  20. Should a poll of victims, affected directly or indirectly by terrorism, be held, to establish the level of sympathy for terrorism amongst that cohort, seems only fair, of course, we would have to be sensitive when assessing the views of the murdered.
    OED: Terrorism: The unlawful use of violence and intimidation especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.

  21. The link to the full data does not work due to the number 2 at the end of the url (remove that and it works).

    ie: http://www.icmunlimited.com/data/media/pdf/Mulims-full-suite-data-plus-topline.pdf

    @ALLAN CHRISTIE

    “”would completely sympathise with/ would sympathise with to some extent” does not = would do the same thing!

    This is the full question:

    Q. Some people think that violence is justified in some situations, while others think that violence is never justified. For each of the following examples, please tell me whether you sympathise with or condemn people who take part in…
    Base: All respondents (Muslims survey: 1,081; Control group survey: 1,008)
    Suicide bombing to fight injustice

    A:
    Completely sympathise 1
    Sympathise to some extent 3

    (see page 611 of PDF in link above)

    Regarding the attitudes to homosexuality and other conservative views – certainly disappointing to see the anti figure so high, even though it is comparing the views of a religious group to the population as a whole. Perhaps, for example a high percentage of evangelical Christians in the US may hold similarly homophobic views, who knows? I guess we don’t really have a significant or easily identifiable number of evangelical Christians here in the UK though?

    As for house prices in Cornwall, I am pretty sure that house prices in London have increased by more than almost anywhere else in the country including Cornwall and perhaps increases in Cornwall have something to do with wealthy Londoners buying second homes?

    However, none of which has anything to do with the survey which is the topic of the post above!

    P.S It’s a hell of a long survey – I think that I would have lost the will to live about halfway through if I was the one being asked all those questions! :)

  22. @ Mark S

    The stuff about house prices in Cornwall was nonsense, too.

    http://www.home.co.uk/guides/house_prices_report.htm?county=cornwall&lastyear=1

  23. @Pete B

    Actually if one were looking for non muslim “wannabe terrorists” the most likely suspects would be found amongst the far right – as the intelligence services and other research has already suggested.

  24. Mark S
    Thanks for the link to the data, though I got tired after reading a few pages. Maybe I’ll look at it again tomorrow.

  25. Was there any data in this on the breakdown of respondents by age, gender, &c?

  26. David in France
    “The ceaseless segregation of Britain into “muslim” and “non-muslim” is not so very far removed from the German treatment of Jews and the South African treatment of blacks.
    People are people. And British people are British people.”

    You speak as if it is government policy to segregate. Let’s be clear they choose to segregate themselves. Nobody makes them live apart. I would be very happy for them to be considered British, but that entails them adopting British values and the British way of life and many simply refuse.

  27. Pete B

    “You should come to Birmingham, and I’ll take you to areas that don’t feel at all British.”

    Come to Glasgow, and not much of it feels “British” (whatever the hell that means!) Most of it does look and sound Scottish.

    On the other hand, Ibrox on match days looks and sounds like bits of Northern Ireland (from whence many of the fans come).

  28. @Robert Newark

    “You speak as if it is government policy to segregate. Let’s be clear they choose to segregate themselves…”

    Just as Carribean people and Irish people chose to “segregate themselves”?

  29. You seem very confused about what you mean by ‘integrated’.

    You describe what could easily be a ‘muslim ghetto’ and say that shows they are ‘integrated’…

    “British Muslims are more likely to feel they can influence decisions in their area than most people in GB, feel better represented by their MP and local councillors. In terms of belonging and confidence they are part of the polity, British Muslims seem very well integrated.”

  30. Allan Christie – “Muslims make up 5% of the UK population and asked about actually committing terrorist actions, 4% of British Muslims said they would sympathise. so 5% of 64 million = 3.2 million, 4% of 3.2 million = 128,000 wannabe terrorists.”

    Sympathising does not mean being a terrorist.

    If it’s as low as 4%, they’re doing better than the Irish (have not yet met an Irish person who didn’t defend/rationalise all the IRA killings and claim justification based on events 150 years ago).

    See the following for an image of terrorist attacks in Europe since 1970 for perspective:

    https://d28wbuch0jlv7v.cloudfront.net/images/infografik/normal/chartoftheday_4093_people_killed_by_terrorist_attacks_in_western_europe_since_1970_n.jpg

    We actually live in peaceful times!

  31. ON
    I thought we’d cleared this up. ‘Britain’ is basically England with a few bogs and mountains scattered around the edge. I’m off to bed now. Have a good evening.

    Candy
    “have not yet met an Irish person who didn’t defend/rationalise all the IRA killings and claim justification based on events 150 years ago”

    Never met an Ulster Unionist?

  32. Anyone who thinks extremism is limited to just Muslims or folk from Northern Ireland need only look at the vicious racism of the EDL, BNP and so on for a reminder of England’s contributions to the chronicle of hate.
    Until 2014, there were two BNP MEPs. Racist violence happens every day on the streets of England.
    Everywhere has the problem of hate. It’s tragic and frightening you don’t see it.

  33. @Alun009

    Yeah but the EDL, BNP etc don’t kill people. Unlike in Germany where they are torching so many migrant centres that there is a wiki page listing them, here the only violence towards muslims has been that poor Scottish man who got done by a nutter from a different muslim sect.

    Take a look at the link I posted above. I was gobsmacked by what people in the 70’s went through, without panicking much. My mother thinks the culprit for panic now is the 24 hour news media (it’s not the interwebs – if it was left to the web, silly/funny memes would be the headline every day).

  34. @Oldnat,

    To test your theory (perhaps a little unscientifically) I dropped the little yellow Google man at random in Glasgow city centre.

    I have to say, the bit he landed in (West George Street) looks a lot like Manchester, with a bit of Birmingham and London thrown in. I noted a red post box, a row of Boris Bikes, a plethora of black “London Taxis”, assorted BMWs, Fords, Peugeots etc. A Millenium Hotel (with an AA sign outside) with double decker buses passing, some of which were red. The first shops I came to were a Burger King and a JD Wetherspoons pub. Then there was a Sainsbury’s Local, followed by a McColl’s newsagent and then a Laura Ashley followed by a Waxy O’Connor’s Irish pub and then, irony of ironies.. a fish and chip shop.

    The only reason you’d know you weren’t in England was the Saltire logo on the ScotRail train station, and the Visit Scotland banners in the square.

    I’ve only been to Scotland a handful of times, but it’s never seemed particularly different to the rest of the UK to me. Colder, more beautiful, more generous and less crowded, but basically looks and feels like plenty of places closer to home.

    Certainly looks a lot more English than, say, Seven Sisters or Stepney Green.

  35. @Robert Newark

    “I would be very happy for them to be considered British, but that entails them adopting British values and the British way of life and many simply refuse”

    Too many of them have a Sunni disposition.

    I’ll get my coat..

  36. Neil A

    The Belgian idea of fish & chips does seem to have been introduced to London 10 or so years earlier than it came to Scotland, but hardly ironic that they are so widespread. It may take you some time to get the English cod & chips, though. Scots chippies typically serve haddock.

    Take your wee yellow man for a walk from the City Centre, out to Kilmarnock road . You will see a range of typical housing stock, a range of shops and fast-food outlets serving cuisine (or junk!) from around the world.

    What you won’t see or hear are the people – from lots of places, heritages and backgrounds. Lots of Muslims around Govanhill and Shawlands (and I imagine that a lot of the wee Scottish sample in this poll came from there).

    They all look and sound “Scottish”, because they are. That was the point I was making – in contradistinction to Pete B’s (and now your) suggestion that somehow places with lots of folk who have come from elsewhere aren’t “English”.

    I presume that Seven Sisters and Stepney Green haven’t been razed to the ground, and replaced by traditional buildings from the sub-continent?

    In which case their “lack of Englishness” presumably relates to the larger number of non-white people living there?

    Such attitudes perhaps explain why 87% of the Scots Muslims [1] feel that their views are represented by their MP, while only 43% of those in London [2] do.

    I see diversity as being part of who we are. You appear to suggest that excluding people keeps you what you were.

    [1] Not that I’m going to suggest that the 31 polled represent the experiences of all Muslims in Scotland! any more than I would argue that –

    [2] the experiences of Muslims throughout England are necessarily represented by the 40% of the sample who live in London

  37. Surely working from a figure of 64,000,000 overstates things since this would include one-year-olds. How many one year olds were there in the control sample? Would the one year olds within the Muslim group from densely Muslim areas be inclined to be more sympathetic to violence? I want answers!
    :)

  38. MARK S
    “P.S It’s a hell of a long survey – I think that I would have lost the will to live about halfway through if I was the one being asked all those questions! :)”

    Perhaps the survey should have come with a health warning: “If you feel as though you’re losing the will to live at any point during this survey you should stop immediately”.

    The last thing we need is a survey which starts radicalizing people!
    :)

  39. CANDY:

    What about Muhsin Ahmed?
    I know Muslims who get assaulted fur their appearance. I’ve heard of mosques being torched. There was a case of a man in a supermarket who hacked nearly to death for appearing, to the attacker, to be a Muslim. People do and will die at the hands of extremists, yes, even in England. It’s deeply unhelpful and factually wrong to think that it’s only Muslims who do it. And it would appear you’re ignoring both the news and the polling that we are all here for.

  40. RAF
    “Barring a few very leading questions, I think ICM has done a good job, and it’s unfortunate that C4 gave the gig to Trevor Philips (who unfortunately has form in these matters) to sensationalise something quite unremarkable.”

    I disagree. I have a lot of respect for TP. Instead of glossing over difficult issues, he is in a position to highlight them and discuss them in a way that a white person, however respected, would be unable to do.

    Too many on the left simply want to brush these difficult issues under the carpet and not face them head on, as we have seen in Rochdale quite recently. Problems in our society should be confronted and errant sections dealt with with conviction. The message needs to be that such attitudes will simply not be tolerated.

    The problem isn’t just with some Muslims, it is with some east Europeans, who also have little respect for women, homosexuals and our open society generally.

  41. ROBERT

    I agree with you about TP. Many years ago he bravely said that Multiculturalism was causing segregation & cultural ghettos . He has always confronted these issues with honesty.

  42. Oh great, an opinion poll on a segment of the country that makes up less than 5% of the population….

    It’s actions like this that contribute to the rise of home-grown terrorism. The constant picking on the Muslim minority is just a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s something the UK has historically done since the dawn of time. In the late 19th century, all the problems in the UK were committed by Jews. Now, the Muslims are the bad guys….

    In contrast, about 7% of Guyana’s population is Muslim, and they don’t have a problem with home-grown terrorists. That’s largely because they don’t treat Muslims in Guyana as a separate group of pariahs, as they do in places like the US, Canada, the UK, and France.

    The only “Guyanese” terrorists I’m aware of are those who’ve lived in places like Canada, and that’s where they get radicalised. It’s about time North Atlantic countries realise that these terrorists are created by home conditions….

  43. AW misses the obvious other issue of polling is whether the answers are truthful. Anyone remember the “cricket test”? I remember some journalist thrusting a microphone in front of a British Indian and asking who they wanted to win between England and India in cricket and the answer was England. OK this was in front on the media but almost certainly a ridiculous untruth like anyone cares anyway.

    I’ve never been that concerned about the terrorist angle but even with zero paranoia about the security services it would be a bit unlikely you;d admit online or by phone or face to face if you did feel some sympathy with terrorism.

    The bits that really concerned me were:

    “52% disagreed that homosexuality should be legal, 39% said wives should always obey their husbands.”

    Truly shocking figures and, on the wives question a bit unexpected, and something Muslim leaders need to address. Hopefully something that will disappear down the generations.

  44. Is it correct that the control sample was polled by telephone and not face-to-face like the Muslim sample?

    I’d call that a big methodological problem. Would have been worth the extra expense to poll both F2F.

  45. SHEVII

    @”Hopefully something that will disappear down the generations.”

    That would be a reasonable hope if one didn’t know that homegrown Islamist radicals tend to be young people.

    There are many complex issue-the influence of “cultural” norms as well as religious teaching. The connection between criminality & radical islamist activity. The relationships & conflicts between an older generation cocooned by MultiCulturalist segragation, and their children more exposed to modern western culture & norms………………

  46. @ AU

    ” Too many of them have a Sunni disposition.

    I’ll get my coat.. ”

    I thought Sunni and Shia were a well known seventies singing duo …… I’ll get mine !

  47. Sorbus – it is correct. There are some questions where there is a clear mode effect, particularly on don’t knows. There are some questions where about a quarter of the sample said DK in the face-to-face element, but hardly anyone said DK over the the phone.

  48. Interesting to see Cons falling in the latest Welsh poll. There does seem to be a slight but consistent move downwards in Con support across the board. If this does signify anything, I’m sure that in time it will be blamed on the tax storm, although in truth the evidence of it emerged even before the budget.

    It we are seeing a genuine move, understanding what is behind it is important. I’m struck by the deterioration of many economic figures. In recent weeks we have seen significantly downbeat PMI data from all sectors of the economy (including services) we’ve seen some particularly serious isues emerging in manufacturing and the export sector, the fiscal deficit is not hitting targets and today we have something of a jump in inflation.

    There is a general sense that things are not as benign as we were told at the turn of the year, and this seems to be feeding through into the real world experiences of voters.

    I suspect that things like omnishambles budgets and media frenzies over offshore trusts are all well and good, but don’t really shift many votes across the divide if they occur against a generally benign backdrop. The impact of such negative stories might start to become more serious for a government if they take place within the context of things generally going wrong, and there are the first signs that this might be where we are heading.

    So far, Osborne has brushed much of this off by blaming global events (with reasonable cause, it must be said). However, if other stories impact upon trust in general terms, it gets harder to hold this line, as people can stop listening.

    Taken together, I suspect we are seeing the start of a significant period of risk for the government.

  49. I am gay and not shy about it. I live in Easton in Bristol, a place often referred to by idiots as a Moslem ghetto.

    My partner and I have never been insulted by anyone who appeared to be Muslim. We have experienced it from white people only, outside of our community.

    What we do get from our Moslem neighbours is friendliness and shared food.

    Shame on those squeeking on about integration and ghettos. You have no idea. People are much the same, we just all get on, like people do .

  50. Good afternoon all from a sunny central London

    MARK S

    Firstly, yes my admit my Cornish comment was silly and if I could delete it then I would.

    However

    ”would completely sympathise with/ would sympathise with to some extent” does not = would do the same thing!

    This is the full question:
    Q. Some people think that violence is justified in some situations, while others think that violence is never justified. For each of the following examples, please tell me whether you sympathise with or condemn people who take part in…
    Base: All respondents (Muslims survey: 1,081; Control group survey: 1,008)
    Suicide bombing to fight injustice
    A:
    Completely sympathise 1
    Sympathise to some extent 3
    _____

    It’s quite a level of drilling down on one question but the fact remains that 4% of those polled in one section of the population and 1% in the rest of the population have sympathy of sorts for acts of terrorism in this poll.

    I find that quite disturbing so many in this poll would even contemplate sympathising with such barbaric cowards, even if they said “I don’t really sympathise with terrorism” I would still be astonished that someone living in the UK could not bring themselves to fully condemning acts of terror.

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