My UK colleagues just released this study on trust in politicians, business and the media. It makes for depressing reading, though responses to such direct questions do tend to be led by the question a little I find. The idea that our most trusted current party leader (Gordon Brown) scores a miserly 28% “yes” to the question “do you trust him to do the right thing?’ should worry everyone interested in the health of UK politics. Margaret Thatcher’s high score demonstrates the UK’s taste for nostalgia and underscores the political cleverness of Gordon Brown inviting her for tea to number ten so that he could bask in her brand halo. However, it would appear that we trust Gordon more than Tony which is about the only ray of sunshine in this bleak little poll. Time for another holiday I think.
- Nearly two out of every five surveyed (39%) said they had more trust in politics with Gordon Brown as Prime Minister rather than Tony Blair.
- When asked which past, present, national or international leader they would most trust to do what was right, Baroness Thatcher received more votes of confidence than all other ranked Labour leaders put together – Gordon Brown, Tony Blair, John Smith, Neil Kinnock and Harold Wilson*.
- Just over half (51%) of all respondents said that they don’t trust Gordon Brown, although more than a quarter do (28%). However the Prime Minister is trusted more than the two main party leaders; David Cameron secures a trust score of 17%; Sir Menzies Campbell rates at 14%.
- If there was a General Election today, when asked who the respondents would most like to see as Prime Minister, Gordon Brown again comes out on top. More than a third (36%) would vote for him, less than a quarter (24%) would vote for David Cameron while Sir Menzies Campbell attracted the support of only 7%.
- Gordon Brown is most well regarded for being experienced (39%), committed (38%) and competent (30%) but scores less well on being impartial (3%) and listens to what people like me say (5%)
- David Cameron rates highly for being open-minded (25%), committed (23%) and listens to what people like me say (16%). Although respondents identified being a strong leader (8%) and experienced (5%) as being potential weaknesses
- Sir Menzies Campbell rates highly among voters for being experienced (26%), committed (21%) and fair (17.5%), but fared less well for leading by example (4%) and being a visionary (3%)
- However there were significant regional differences when it comes to trust in politics with Tony Blair or Gordon Brown as Prime Minister: more than two thirds (67%) trusted more politics with Gordon Brown in charge in the West of Scotland, while only three in ten (29%) had the same view in the North East of England, which includes Tony Blair’s former Sedgefield constituency.
- Seven out of ten say they do not trust politicians (71%). The most sceptical age group are the 35 to 44 year olds (75%)
- Nearly seven in ten (69%) do not trust the media
- Business leaders are also trusted more than politicians and the media – nearly a quarter (24%) of those asked said they trusted them; the levels of distrust were also far lower (55%).
The study was conducted by international market research consultancy StrategyOne between 4th and 7th September 2007 who say: “The survey was conducted online among 1,000 respondents representative of the general public in Britain”.