Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Perils of Perception Survey

The Royal Statistical Society and King's College London have commissioned an Ipsos MORI poll on public perception of society.

1,000 people across the UK were interviewed on a range of topics. The results are fascinating and show how, in some cases, public opinion can be very divergent from reality and the results show how divergent public opinion can be from reality. For example:

Q : Which do you think the UK Government spends more on, Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA) or state pensions?
The British Public said : Pensions (47%)
The reality is : Pensions (£74bn vs £5bn for JSA). Well done British Public.

BFTF notes that the results from this particular question were presented somewhat differently in the survey's press release:

" 9% of people think we spend more on JSA than pensions, when in fact we spend 15 times more on pensions (£4.9bn vs £74.2bn)"

Q: What percentage of the British population are Muslim ?
The British Public said : 1-10% (modal choice) or 24% (mean value), which just goes to show how even the choice of statistic can convey different meanings
The reality is : 5%, see below for some of the data
Proportion of the population the people think are Muslim

Q: Which two or three, if any, of the following areas do you think the UK Government spends the most money on?
The results from this question are shown below, ranked in order of actual spend – it can be seen that "Overseas Aid" is thought by many to be a much bigger recipient of funds than it actually is.

What people think the Government spends money on,
 versus what the Government actually spends money on

Q: Which one of the following do you think saves the most money?
A: The results (shown below) suggest that the British Public broadly understand which measures save the most money – except for the household benefit cap, which stands out as being something that many people believe will save a significant amount of money but, in reality, won't. Who, BFTF wonders, is responsible for giving the public this misleading impression…

What people think will save the government money,
vs what will actually save the government money

Q : In your opinion, what proportion of girls under the age of 16 years in Britain get pregnant each year?
The British Public said : 15%
The reality is : 0.6%

Q: True or False : Crime is falling.
The British Public said : 58% of respondents said this was False
The reality is : True, crime has fallen by 53% since 1995

Hetan Shah, executive director of the Royal Statistical Society, commented that:

"We need to see three things happen. First, politicians need to be better at talking about the real state of affairs of the country, rather than spinning the numbers. Secondly, the media has to try and genuinely illuminate issues, rather than use statistics to sensationalise. And finally we need better teaching of statistical literacy in schools, so that people get more comfortable in understanding evidence.’

While Bobby Duffy, Managing Director of Ipsos MORI Social Research Institute and Visiting Senior Research Fellow at King’s college London added that :

“However, we need to avoid dismissing public opinion: everyone has a vote, misperceptions have always been with us and they may reflect concerns – that is, people may over-estimate issues because they are worried about them, not the other way round. A lack of trust in government information is also very evident in other questions in the survey – so “myth-busting” is likely to prove a challenge on many of these issues. But it is still useful to understand where people get their facts most wrong.”

Press Release,Full Survey

June 2013 - Updates and past posts

BFTF is conscious that those of you who keep up with the blog via email notifications will not be aware of the many updates that posts are given (as the email engine on blogger only sends out notifications when the post is first published, not if it is subsequently updated.

And the other thing that has been preying of BFTF's mind is that there is now quite a lot of archive material on the blog, much of which is as valid today as when it was written.

So, here is the latest monthly post summarising what updates have happened over the last four weeks or so, and also looking back on the most interesting posts from this month in previous years

Updates this month
03 Jun : Another entry to the "Proof that Activism Works" page

18 Jun : George the Gorilla can help ID wildlife in your garden

18 Jun : Received a response on issue of Night Shelter funding

19 Jun : Challenging the Gov't to protect the nations forests.

Interesting posts from previous years

2012 : A frequently updated post on the 92nd Scout Group

2012 : Mining Memories

2012 : Uncle and Proud!

2012 : Well Done Martha Payne !

2012 : Challenging the government on airstrikes that kill civilians

2012 : BFTF lost faith with BBC news over their poor coverage of the NHS reforms

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Kicking it with Faith 2013

Sunday 30th June saw the "Kicking it with Faith" tournament at The Forest, at which several youth football teams from differing faith (or no faith) communities took to the field for a great tournament of football.

Organised by the Nottingham Interfaith Council in partnership with the Nottingham Forest Football Club's Diversity Academy.

The worthy winners on the day are shown below :

9-12 years old
1)Winners - Karimia FC
2)Runners up - Carribean Cavaliers

13-15 years old
1) Winners - East African Education Centre (Radford Slam 3)
2) Runners up - Karimia

16-18 years old
1) Winners - East African Education Centre (Radford Slam 1)
2) Runners up - Punjab Colts

Get In !
(Image courtesy of event organisers)