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BBC Survey on Trust Issues

Published:22 January 2008
Fieldwork:3 - 6 January 2008
Source:BBC

The survey was intended to enhance our understanding of the public's beliefs and attitudes on a variety of subjects; in particular the trust they place in various organisations.

The speech The Trouble With Trust: Building Confidence In Institutions given by Mark Thompson, BBC Director-General at QEII Centre, London, on Tuesday 15 January 2008 featured data from this survey.

Topline Results

  • Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,070 adults aged 16+ in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
  • Interviews were carried out on the telephone between the 3rd and 6th January, 2008.
  • Quotas were set to reflect the profile of the UK population.
  • The data are weighted to the national socio-demographic profile.
  • The figures quoted are percentages based on 1,070, unless stated otherwise.
  • Where figures do not sum to 100 per cent, this may be due to computer rounding the decimal places up or down, to multiple responses or to the exclusion of "Don't know / Not stated" responses.
  • An asterisk (*) denotes a figure of greater than zero but less than 0.5%.

Q1 On balance do you believe …

  %
1) Princess Diana's death was the result of …
   a) a conspiracy 24
   b) an accident 64
   Neither / don't know 12
2) We are pulling our troops out of Basra, Iraq either because …
   a) there is little chance of our being successful in restoring peace to the area 69
   b) we have successfully completed our mission there 18
   Both / Neither / Don't know 13
3) Climate change and global warming is …
   a) a natural phenomenon that happens from time to time 42
   b) is the result of recent human and animal activity 47
   Both / Neither / Don't know 11
4) That the people behind the 9 / 11 tragedy were …
   a) American radicals 6
   b) Foreign terrorists 85
   Neither / Don't know 9
5) That …
   a) evidence of UFO landings are being hidden from the public 30
   b) that there have not been any UFO landings 61
   Neither / Don't know 8

Q2 For each of the following, please tell me which of these you believe in — or do not believe in?

  % believing in
Ghosts 42
Life after Death 50
Witches and Wizards 16

Q3-14 I am going to read out some statements and would like you to tell me whether, on balance, you agree or disagree with each. Firstly …

  Agree Disagree DK
  % % %
I'm worried about global warming 69 30 1
I tend to believe what my friends tell me 35 63 2
I think most people can be trusted 54 45 1
Most TV competitions involving voting are fixed 62 32 5
Britain accepts too many asylum seekers 75 22 3
I tend to believe what I see & hear on the TV & Radio 33 65 2
There should be the death penalty for certain kinds of murder 66 32 2
When journalists and interviewers challenge politicians and officials with tough questions they are more likely to get at the truth 44 55 1
I am more likely to trust / believe those politicians who concentrate more on explaining their own policies than those who concentrate more on attacking other politician's policies 79 17 4
I use energy efficient light bulbs in my home 78 21 1
In general, I tend to trust politicians 16 83 1

Q14a Why do you not trust politicians?

  %
"Lie / mislead / don't tell the truth" 31
"Don't keep their promises / don't do what they say they will do" 22
"Work for themselves / their own ends" 17
"Say what they want people to hear (to get votes)" 12
"Evasive / don't give straight answers / two-faced" 10
"Have their own agenda" 7
"Line their own pockets / corrupt" 6
"Only interested in power / own egos / conceited" 5
"Don't represent their constituents' views" 5

Q15 I am going to read out a list of 7 organisations, and would like you to tell me which you trust the most? Which do you trust the next most?

  Most Next most Most / Next most
  % % %
The BBC 27 23 50
The NHS 27 20 47
The Church of England 18 18 36
The Military 14 15 29
The Media in general 4 10 14
The Government 4 6 10
Big British Companies 3 6 9

Q16 Which you trust the least? Which do you trust the next least?

  Least Next least Least / next least
  % % %
The Government 46 19 65
The Media in general 25 19 44
Big British Companies 12 23 35
The NHS 4 11 15
The Church of England 5 10 15
The Military 5 11 16
The BBC 2 5 7

Q17 In general, whose interests do you think MPs put first … those of …

  %
Their own 55
Their Party's 34
Their constituents' 6
The Country's 4
Don't know 1

Q18 Which of the following would you trust the government's advice on?

  %
The effects of smoking 77
The dangers of speeding 76
The effects of alcohol or drugs 72
Protecting the environment 52
Your or your child's diet 42
The impact of immigration on the UK 26

Q19 Which of the following did you vote in?

  %
Last General Election 68
Last Series of X Factor 10
Last Series of Strictly Come Dancing 9

Q20 Thinking of what influences and affects society and people's day to day lives in Britain today, which one of the following, if any, do you think has the most powerful influence? Which has the least powerful influence?

  Most Least
  % %
TV and radio broadcasters 34 5
Celebrities 25 24
Newspapers 21 7
The Government 10 14
Big companies 7 15
Public officials or civil servants 3 36

Q21 'To what extent do you trust … (regular station / channel) … to tell the truth? On balance do you trust it a great deal, trust it somewhat, a little or not trust it?

Trust a great deal / somewhat %
Radio 4 95
Other BBC radio 87
BBC Two 85
Other BBC TV 84
BBC One 83
Local commercial / non BBC radio 77
Channel 4 74
ITV 66
Five 64
National commercial / non BBC radio 64
Sky 62

Q22 'To what extent do you trust … (paper read in past week or two) … to tell the truth? On balance do you trust it a great deal, trust it somewhat, a little or not trust it?

Trust a great deal / somewhat %
Daily + Sunday
Guardian 94
Telegraph 93
Times 89
Mail 67
Express 62
Mirror 55
News of the World 31
Sun 29

Sample base too small for other newspapers

Q23 Which political party do you tend to support?

  %
Conservative 24
Labour 32
Liberal Democrats (Lib Dem) 9
Scottish or Welsh Nationalists / Plaid Cymru 1
Green Party 2
UK Independence Party / UKIP 1
Other 2
None / undecided 25
Refused 4

Q24 Do you regularly access any websites on the internet for information?

  %
Yes 53
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