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Poll finds most people support student demo


9:40 am - November 15th 2010

by Sunny Hundal    


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A poll by YouGov for the Sunday Times yesterday [link changed] found that the vast majority of the public had sympathy for students on their demonstration.

They didn’t look so kindly at the violence however.

State funded education is still very popular.

Question: The goverment has proposed increasing the cap on university tuition fees to £9000. Students would not have to pay the fees upfront, but would instead pay they using student loans that they would have to pay back as graduates once they were earning £21000. Wealthier graduates would have to pay a higher interest rate on their loans. Do you support or oppose these proposals?
Support: 35%; oppose 52%; don’t know 13%.

Guess who predicted violence? (Sky News, 11 April 2010)

Nick Clegg: “There’s a danger in having any government, of whatever composition, led by a party which does not have a proper mandate across the country, trying to push through really difficult decisions. I think a lot of people react badly to that.”

Presenter: “But rioting in the streets? It’s a bit much…”

Nick Clegg: “I think there’s a very serious…risk.”

YouGov questions on the actual demo:

Question: Earlier this week there was a violent demonstration against the proposed rise in tuition fees, which included protesters invading and damaging the building containing the Conservative party’s headquarters. How much sympathy do you have with the demonstration?
I sympathise both with the demonstration and the direct action against the Conservative party headquarters – 13%
I sympathise with the demonstration, but not the damage caused to the Conservative party headquarters – 52%
I do not sympathise with the demonstration, nor the damage caused – 32%

Question: More generally, do you think VIOLENT protest is ever justified in a democratic country?
There are instances when violent protest is acceptable in a democracy – 19%
There are no instances when violent protest is acceptable in a democracy – 75%
Don’t know – 5%

And my favourite question….

Would you support or oppose increasing taxation on the very rich to reduce the difference in earnings between the richest and the poorest?
Support 77%
Oppose 17%

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


No surprises here really.

Polls also show a support of the death penalty.
The substance of an argument is not improved by the number of its supporters.

Yougov seem to have removed that link – can you check and try again?

And here’s another one: the newly elected President of the Liberal Democrats:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/nov/11/tuition-fees-poll-tax-our-generation

2 “Polls also show a support of the death penalty.
The substance of an argument is not improved by the number of its supporters”

Clearly this is wrong as there has never been a mass demonstration to bring back the dealth penalty.

jojo,

2 “Polls also show a support of the death penalty.
The substance of an argument is not improved by the number of its supporters”

Clearly this is wrong as there has never been a mass demonstration to bring back the dealth penalty.

In what way is Andreas “clearly” wrong?

“the death penalty is consistently supported by a majority of the public, indeed it is normally given as the classic textbook example of an issue where MPs consistently vote in a way that does not reflect public opinion” – Polling Report UK

“MORI gave people a list of crimes and asked which, if any, people thought the death penalty should be the maximum penalty for in the UK. Altogther 70% of people thought the death penalty should be available for at least one of the crimes, somewhat higher than other recent polls on capital punishment. However, only 51% thought it should be available for the murder of an adult, which is what most polls on the subject tend to ask about.” – Polling Report UK

Perhaps people don’t protest about it because they think there is no point.

If link in article is broken, try here:

http://today.yougov.co.uk/sites/today.yougov.co.uk/files/YG-Archives-Pol-ST-results-121110_0.pdf

Stuff on fees from page 5

“The substance of an argument is not improved by the number of its supporters.”

You are right. But since nobody has said it is and the original post does not imply such your response is irrelevant.

6
I think that you’ve answered your own question, although I would suggest that most people who thought the death penalty should be available are not as passionate as those who believe that tuition fees should not be increased.

“There are no instances when violent protest is acceptable in a democracy – 75%”

75% of people are complete morons then. Presumably “no instances” would include genocide, the introduction of slavery, and discrimination – so long as it was “popular”.

What twats.

11 – I assume these people believe that such things would not happen in a democracy. Either that or they believe that a democracy in which these things happen is no longer a democracy. They may be conflating democracy with liberal society.

13. Roger Mexico

Oddly enough I think the public are more ambiguous about political violence than is usually thought. Of course 69% say the violence doesn’t help the students’ cause, but it’s noticeable that in the last month since similar questions were asked, as shown in these results:

http://today.yougov.co.uk/sites/today.yougov.co.uk/files/YG-Archives-Pol-Sun-TuitionFees-14102010.pdf

opposition to the proposals has risen from 45% v 37% to 52% v 35%. (Questions aren’t exactly the same but they are nearer than the more detailed ones in the Sunday Times following that date). What the violence does do is draw attention to the cause. if the cause is supported and the violence not seen as part of it, then, like it or not, violence may indirectly increase support

Polls in the past have shown considerable backing for various forms of civil disobedience, even including violence against property (though never against people). It must be said that this support is usually for the suffragette option – being prepared to suffer the legal consequences of your actions – but it is still support.

People are cynical about the news values of the media and realise that if the student march had passed off peacefully, it would have got 10% of the coverage it did. Many people acknowledge this problem and blame the media for encouraging the effectiveness of violence.

There’s another point not generally realised. Violence tends to taint both sides in a dispute in the long run. Even if the violence itself is felt to be unjustified, the fact that people were driven to it tends to rebound on those they are protesting against. This depends on general support for the aims of the protesters, but for example the poll tax riots affected Thatcher’s standing and were the beginning of the end for her – even though the riots were condemned and not popular in themselves.

So maybe it isn’t a surprise that Sunday’s poll also showed Labour ahead of the Tories for the first time (for YouGov) for a while.

The Lib Dems do need to worry though. Since the poll of a month ago, feeling against the abandonment of their pledges has gone from 46% v 41% against to 62% v 29% against. And remember this latest poll was taken before the latest revelations in Saturday’s Guardian about Clegg not caring much about the issue anyway. Most of the loss of support is among current Labour voters and Don’t Knows, but that may mean that this is an issue that sways votes.

Polls also show a support of the death penalty.
The substance of an argument is not improved by the number of its supporters.

In other words – I will only believe in what I want to hear.

[Link is also fixed – though the original YouGov file is taken off for reasons unknown to me]

@Andreas Moser (2) – “Polls also show a support of the death penalty.
The substance of an argument is not improved by the number of its supporters.”

Yep, especially when the supporters have not made up their own mind from the evidence but rather been told (usually in an inflammatory way) what they should think. Say the death penality was to be for any kind of murder. Have a conversation about the rapists or pedophiles who kill. 99% will support it. Have a conversation about beaten wives killing their abusive husbands and the support for the death penality would drop dramatically. That’s why polls are only a guide and not evidence that a policy is correct.

@Sunny (14) “In other words – I will only believe in what I want to hear.”

Isn’t that what people on in any group do? They’ve made up their mind which way to decide and will not budge even if told they are wrong with the evidence to back it. Witness the climate change argument and 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th hand smoking argument.

In other words – I will only believe in what I want to hear.

We know! *rimshot*

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Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

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  15. Wonko Le Sane

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  16. Captain Disco

    Wow. Great to see how much support there is for the tuition fees issue. Shame it won't influence policy tho http://ow.ly/39LWW

  17. Darren Johnson

    I agree with Nick? Pre-election interview with Clegg predicting riots if government cut services with thin mandate http://bit.ly/9l8K2i

  18. Little Metamorphic O

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  19. Oriel Kenny

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  24. Michael Coe

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  28. Kerry Abel

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  29. Paul McLaughlin

    RT @libcon: Poll finds most people support student demo, clip includes more embarrassing Clegg quotes http://bit.ly/9JRXVS

  30. Press Not Sorry

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  32. john miller

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  33. Pucci Dellanno

    RT @libcon: Poll finds most people support student demo http://bit.ly/9JRXVS

  34. MARIA AHMED

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  35. Solihull Green Party

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  36. Solihull Green Party

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  38. Poll finds most people support student demo | Liberal Conspiracy | The Daily Conservative

    […] the original: Poll finds most people support student demo | Liberal Conspiracy Share and […]

  39. Tami Peterson

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  40. cellabiao

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  41. Samira Shackle

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  44. Is Labour on a tuition fees fiasco bump? | Liberal Conspiracy

    […] is a good chance the debate over tuition fees, where the public overwhelmingly opposes Coalition policy, has had an impact. It has dominated political discussion over the past […]

  45. Will the violence lose students a lot of support? Not exactly | Liberal Conspiracy

    […] be funded entirely via taxation? Not really. The huge support for free education and the protests was maintained after the first Millbank protests despite the violence […]

  46. sunny hundal

    @johannhari101 @thewarmjets there is actually polling to back up the view smashing windows doesn't help the cause http://bit.ly/9JRXVS

  47. This is a crisis for education | Bright Green

    […] to tuition fees. We didn’t win but after occupations, sit-ins at the march on November 10th, we shifted public perception clearly in our favour and we built a movement that shook the […]





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