Wednesday, 15 November 2017

The Two Tribes

Some interesting statistics from YouGov on the social and political views of Remain and Leave voters (see the links in this news story).

I have summarised the most striking findings below.  In recognition of the fact that polls are capable of being wrong, I have included only very large, yawning gaps of over 20%, well beyond any plausible margin of error.

The overall picture is one of a cultural divide between the conservative and liberal elements of British society, particularly on issues pertaining to nationalism and nativist sentiment.  The Remain/Leave division is less clear when it is analysed in more conventional political terms - that is, on the basis of classic left/right attitudes towards things like taxes and government involvement in the economy.  There was definite evidence that Leavers are more conservative on such matters, but that is only part of the picture.  For example, divisions in opinion on the proper role of the state in running utility companies, banks and the NHS were much smaller than the divisions on any of the issues listed below (less than 10 percentage points in each case).  It would seem that the right-wing libertarian wing of Leave isn't really what it's all about.

Nationalism and nativism

Agree with Trump's Muslim ban - Leave + 42%
Ban the burqua - Leave + 38%
Consider golliwogs acceptable - Leave + 35%
Agree with Trump's border wall - Leave + 27%
UK should leave Eurovision Song Contest [sic] - Leave + 24%

Socially progressive causes

Gay sex is natural - Remain + 32%
UK should stay in Paris climate agreement - Remain + 30%
Approve of gay men becoming parents - Remain + 25%
Concern about meat eating and the environment - Remain + 24%

Law and order

Main purpose of prison is rehabilitation - Remain + 23%
Security over freedom in combating terrorism - Leave + 20%


These figures are consistent with the results of Lord Ashcroft's illuminating survey from last year.....