Project 2010 public opinion survey
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Project 2010: public opinion survey. Prepared for: London Councils Date: May 2008. Overview. Telephone survey to understand local political awareness of Londoners and the ways in which London councils engage and communicate with their communities. More specifically:

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Project 2010 public opinion survey

Project 2010: public opinion survey

Prepared for: London Councils

Date: May 2008


Overview

Overview

  • Telephone survey to understand local political awareness of Londoners and the ways in which London councils engage and communicate with their communities. More specifically:

    -ascertain what residents know about their local council

    -determine whether residents would consider standing for election and why/ why not

    -assess how well local councils engage/ communicate with residents.

  • Campaign aims to promote community engagement and awareness of local councils and councillors, and to encourage people to stand in 2010 borough elections.

  • Survey results presented at 2008 London Councils Summit on July 12.


Methodology

Methodology

  • 1,001 ten-minute telephone interviews.

  • Conducted with a representative sample of London residents aged 18 and over.

  • Demographic quotas set to ensure responses broadly in line with Census data for Greater London (specifically: age, gender, social class, housing tenure, ethnic origin and inner/ outer London).

  • Interviews conducted by Ipsos MORI in-house telephone call centre, using a Random Digit Dialling (RDD) method and ‘CATI’ approach (Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing).


Project 2010 public opinion survey

Key messages


Londoners have relatively low levels of awareness about their council and local politics

Londoners have relatively low levels of awareness about their council and local politics…

  • There is a relatively even split between those who feel they know their council and those who don’t: 44% versus 55% - consistent with national findings.

  • Two in five (42%) residents know which political party is in control of their council

  • But, only 6% know the name of their local elected leader.

  • With the exception of rubbish collection and recycling, Londoners are unsure about which responsibilities fall under the remit of their local council.

  • Almost half (49%) think their council runs the police service and 45% the local hospital. Three in five (60%) think the council is responsible for the Freedom Pass.


Londoners are unsure of a councillor s role but think they do a good job on the whole

Londoners are unsure of a councillor’s role, but think they do a good job on the whole…

  • Londoners are unsure about the role of their local councillor – most (71%) understand they are paid, but a third (32%) think they must have a qualification, and half (52%) think that they must represent a political party.

  • On the whole, Londoners are more likely to think that councillors do a good job (45% say they are doing a very or fairly good job versus 27% a fairly or very poor job).


Project 2010 public opinion survey

Around a quarter of Londoners are interested in becoming a local councillor, but time and information – and making a difference – are an issue…

  • Almost three in ten (29%) Londoners have volunteered time to a club, society or charity in the last 12 months.

  • A similar proportion (31%) have taken action to solve a local problem, such as write to a local newspaper, attend a protest meeting or contact a local councillor or MP.

  • Around a quarter (24%) of Londoners are interested in becoming a local councillor.

  • Lack of time is the key factor which might prevent people from standing as a councillor (cited by 36% of respondents).

  • Feeling they could make a difference is the most important factor which would encourage them to stand - half (50%) cite this.

  • A third of respondents (34%) also want better information about what is involved in being a local councillor.


Project 2010 public opinion survey

Main findings


Relatively even split between those who feel they know their local council vs those who don t know

Relatively even split between those who feel they know their local council vs. those who don’t know…

Q. How much, if anything, do you feel you know about your local London borough council?

Don’t know 1%

A great deal

Nothing at all

A fair

amount

Not very much

Base: 1,001 adults aged 18+ in Greater London, 11 -18 April 2008


Knowledge about council

Knowledge about council

  • Older people are more likely to say they feel they know their local council a great deal/ fair amount; contrasted with young people who are more likely to say not very much/ nothing at all.

  • White respondents are more informed than those from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) backgrounds; 47% versus 36% say they feel they know their local council a great deal/ fair amount.

  • Overall, findings consistent with national 2006 figures.


Informed levels are consistent with findings from nationwide survey in 2006

Informed levels are consistent with findings from nationwide survey in 2006…

Q. How much, if anything, do you feel you know about your local London borough council?*

2008 (London only)

2006 (UK wide)

2003 (UK wide)

Base: 1,001 adults aged 18+ in Greater London, 11 -18 April 2008.

Audit of Political Engagement: face to face survey of 1,490 adults aged 18+ in the UK, 23-28 November 2006; 1,976 adults aged 18+ in the UK, 11-17 December 2003. * NB In 2006 & 2003 wording ‘ how much, if anything, do you know about your local council?’


Project 2010 public opinion survey

Just under two-thirds of Londoners think they know which political party is in control of the Council … and of those, two-thirds genuinely do…

Q. Do you know which political party is in control of your local London borough council?

Q. Can you tell me which party is in control of your local London borough council?

No –

no overall control

Don’t answer

correct party

Answer correct

party

No – don’t know

Yes

Base: 1,001 adults aged 18+ in Greater London, 11 -18 April 2008 Base: 656 who say they know which political party is in control


Project 2010 public opinion survey

Only one in five Londoners say they know the name of their local leader… of those who say they know, only one third actually identify the right person…

Q. Do you know the name of the local elected leader of your local London borough council?

Q. Can you tell me the name of the person who is local elected leader of your local London borough council?

Yes

Don’t answer

correct leader

Answer correct

leader

No

Base: 1,001 adults aged 18+ in Greater London, 11 -18 April 2008Base: 205 who say they know name of local leader


Project 2010 public opinion survey

And over half identify the wrong person altogether – local MPs being a popular wrong answer. Only 6% of Londoners overall know the name of their local elected leader…

Q. Can you tell me the name of the person who is local elected leader of your local London borough council?

Base: 205 who say they know the name of local elected leader, 11-18 April 2008

Base: 1,001 adults aged 18+ in Greater London, 11 -18 April 2008


Over two in five londoners think that councillors do a good job

Over two in five Londoners think that councillors do a good job…

Q. Overall, do you think councillors generally do a good or bad job?

Don’t know (5%)

Very poor

Very good

Fairly poor

Fairly good

Neither good nor poor

Base: 1,001 adults aged 18+ in Greater London, 11 -18 April 2008


Residents who are more informed about the council are more positive about councillors

Residents who are more informed about the council are more positive about councillors…

Q. Overall do you think councillors generally do a good or bad job?

NET GOOD = +38%

NET GOOD = -8%

Base: 1,001 adults aged 18+ in Greater London, 11 -18 April 2008


Project 2010 public opinion survey

With the exception of rubbish collection & recycling, Londoners are unsure about which responsibilities fall under their local council’s remit…

Q. I am going to read out a list of services and, for each one, I would like you to tell me whether you think it is the responsibility of you local London borough Council or not…

Base: 1,001 adults aged 18+ in Greater London, 11 -18 April 2008


And residents in outer london are more likely to think responsibilities fall under the council

And, residents in Outer London are more likely to think responsibilities fall under the council…

Q. I am going to read out a list of services and, for each one, I would like you to tell me whether you think it is the responsibility of you local London borough Council or not…

Base: 1,001 adults aged 18+ in Greater London, 11 -18 April 2008


There is some confusion about the role of a councillor

There is some confusion about the role of a councillor…

Q. I am going to read out a list of statements about the role of a councillor, and I would like you to tell me which you would say are true and which are false? Local councillors…

Base: 1,001 adults aged 18+ in Greater London, 11 -18 April 2008


More than a quarter have volunteered in their local community in the previous 12 months

More than a quarter have volunteered in their local community in the previous 12 months…

Q. In the last 12 months have you done any of the following?

% yes

National 2007

1%

1%

n/a

Base: 1,001 adults aged 18+ in Greater London, 11 -18 April 2008

*Citizenship Survey: face to face survey of 2,200 adults aged 16+ in England and Wales, 2007


Of those who have volunteered

Of those who have volunteered….

  • They are more likely to be from higher social classes (38% of ABs have volunteered in the last 12 months compared to 26% of C1s and 23% for C2DEs).

  • And, are owner-occupiers (32% compared to 29% overall).

  • They are more likely to have taken action to solve a local problem in the last 12 months (42% who have taken action have also volunteered compared to 23% who have not taken action).


Around a quarter are interested in becoming a local councillor

Around a quarter are interested in becoming a local councillor…

Q. How interested, if at all, would you be in becoming a local councillor, either now or in the future?

Don’t know (1%)

Very interested

Not at all interested

Fairly interested

Not very interested

Base: 996 who have not been a councillor in previous 12 months, 11-18 April 2008


Those already active are more interested in becoming a councillor

Those already active are more interested in becoming a councillor….

  • Those who are most interested in becoming a councillor are already active in the community:

    -33% of those who have been a school governor/ volunteered in the last 12 months say they are interested in becoming a councillor compared to 21% who have not been active

    -33% of those who have taken action to solve a local problem are interested compared to 21% who have not taken action.


And views vary by demographics too but what people say and what people do are different

… and views vary by demographics too… but what people say and what people do are different…

  • Those of working age (18-64 yrs) more likely to say they are interested than older people (65+yrs).

  • While there is little difference across the various age groups, younger people appear more interested than older people; 32% of 18-34 year olds say they are interested compared to 11% aged 65+. They are more likely to be fairly interested rather than very interested.

  • Residents from BME backgrounds say they are more interested than their White counterparts in becoming a councillor; 39% compared to 18%. Even though they are less likely to feel informed or know what their council does.

  • And, social renters also appear more interested than owner occupiers; 31% versus 21%.

  • We should treat the figures with some caution - we know from previous research that what people say they are willing to do in principle and what they do in practice can be different. To illustrate, most people support local area forums, but many fewer SAY they personally want to get involved, and in practice even fewer - only a tiny proportion - ever do…


Project 2010 public opinion survey

Previous research illustrates how there can be a mismatch between support in principle versus actual commitment…

QIn principle, would you support or oppose extending Community Partnerships to other parts of the borough?

QAnd would you personally be interested in getting involved?

Involvement

Support

Don’t know

Don’t know/no opinion

Depends

Yes

No, oppose

Actual Proportion - 2%

Yes, support

No

Base: All residents (1,021)

Base: All respondents who support the idea (835)


Over a third would be put off standing as a councillor because of a lack of time

Over a third would be put off standing as a councillor because of a lack of time…

Q. What might prevent you from standing as a local councillor?

Top answers cited:

%

Lack of time/too busy/other commitments/priorities

Not interested/lack inclination/too boring

Lack knowledge/understanding/ education/ability

Too old

Poor health/disability

Apathy/laziness/can’t be bothered/lack of motivation

Disillusioned/ cynical/ politicians untrustworthy

Age (unspecified)

Base: 996 who have not been a councillor in previous 12 months, 11-18 April 2008


And this is the same in london as across the uk

And this is the same in London as across the UK…

Q. What might prevent you from standing as a local councillor?*

Top answers cited:

Lack of time/too busy/other commitments

Not interested/lack inclination/too boring

Lack knowledge/understanding/education

Too old

Poor health/disability

Apathy/laziness/can’t be bothered/lack of motivation

Disillusioned/ cynical/ politicians untrustworthy

Age (unspecified)

Base: 996 who have not been a councillor in previous 12 months, 11-18 April 2008

Audit of Political Engagement: face to face survey of 1,490 adults aged 18+ in the UK, 23-28 November 2006

* NB Wording for 2006 survey ‘What factors, if any, prevent you from getting more involved in politics?’


Project 2010 public opinion survey

Making a difference and better information are most likely to encourage Londoners to stand as a councillor…

  • Feeling they could make a difference is the most important factor which would encourage Londoners to stand as a local councillor - half (50%) cite this.

  • A third (34%) also want better information about what is involved in being a local councillor.

  • Better information is even more important to younger people and those from BME backgrounds, e.g. 46% of 18-34 year olds and 44% of BME cite this as a factor.


Project 2010 public opinion survey

Half of Londoners say they would be encouraged to stand as a councillor if they thought they could make a difference…

Q. I am now going to read out a list of factors which might encourage people to stand as a local councillor, and I would like you to tell me which one of the following applies to you. You may choose up to three factors.

Feeling I could make a difference

Having more info about what was involved

Having more spare time

Knowing I would be paid regular income

If politicians had better reputation

Being given time off by my employer

Not feeling I had to join political party

None of these

Nothing would encourage me

Base: 996 who have not been a councillor in previous 12 months, 11-18 April 2008


Of all the factors making a difference is the most important one

Of all the factors, making a difference is the most important one…

Q. Of the two or three factors you mentioned, which one would most encourage you to stand as a local councillor?

Feeling I could make a difference

Having more info about what was involved

Having more spare time

Knowing I would be paid regular income

If politicians had better reputation

Being given time off by my employer

Not feeling I had to join political party

Base: 628 who have not been a local councillor in the previous

12 months and mentioned 2/3 things, 11-18 April 2008


Project 2010 public opinion survey

Almost a third of Londoners have taken action to solve a local problem… as with previous research they are shown to be white, middles class…

Q. In the past twelve months have you taken any action in an attempt to solve a local problem, such as write to a local newspaper, attend a protest meeting or contact your local councillor or MP?

SOCIAL CLASS

TENURE

ETHNICITY

Base: 1,001 adults aged 18+ in Greater London, 11 -18 April 2008


And they are shown to be older

… and they are shown to be older…

Q. In the past twelve months have you taken any action in an attempt to solve a local problem, such as write to a local newspaper, attend a protest meeting or contact your local councillor or MP?

46%

AGE

Base: 1,001 adults aged 18+ in Greater London, 11 -18 April 2008


We know from previous surveys about half of londoners feel their council keeps them informed

We know from previous surveys about half of Londoners feel their council keeps them informed…

Q. How well does your local London borough council keep you informed?*

BVPI results for London 2003/04

Base: London BVPI figures based on collated date from London Boroughs 2003/04: 37,029 adults in Greater London

*NB. BVPI question wording ‘how informed does your council keep residents about the services and benefits it provides’.


Better informed residents do not necessarily know more about the local politics

Better informed residents do not necessarily know more about the local politics…

  • Residents who say their council keeps them well informed are more likely to think that councillors do a good job than those who are less informed (56% versus 31%)

    BUT…

  • … they are no more likely to know the party in charge or the local leader

  • … nor, generally speaking, the services which come under the council’s remit

  • … nor, the role of a local councillors

  • … and, they are no more likely to be interested in being a councillor


Conclusions

Conclusions

  • There appears to be an encouraging proportion of Londoners who could be interested in standing as a local councillor (24% interested).

  • Londoners who are already active are more likely to be interested in standing.

  • But, lack of time is the key concern Londoners have about standing, and is something that could also be addressed through better communication.

  • It may also be necessary to acknowledge that what people say they are willing to do in principle and what they say they would do in practice can be different.

  • More information about what is involved, including information which helps people to understand that they can make a difference if they stand as a councillor, are the things most likely to encourage people to get more involved in local politics.

  • Related to this, the findings suggest communication about the role of local councils/ councillors more generally is lacking at present. Knowledge of local political parties/ elected leaders is fairly limited, as is knowledge of councils’/ councillors’ roles.


Sample

Sample


Technical note

Technical note

  • Results are based on 1,001 completed telephone interviews.

  • Fieldwork was carried out between 11th and 18th April 2008.

  • Where results do not sum to 100, this may be due to multiple responses, computer rounding or the exclusion of don’t knows/not stated.

  • Results are based on all respondents unless otherwise stated.

  • An asterisk (*) represents a value of less than one half or one percent, but not zero.

  • This report refers to ‘local London borough council’ in some of the questions. During fieldwork questions included the actual name of the respondents’ specific London borough council (e.g. ‘London Borough of Camden’).

  • This report refers to “net” figures. This represents the balance of opinion on attitudinal questions and provides a useful means of comparing the data for a number of variables. E.g. in the case of a “net interested” figure, this represents the percentage interested in a particular issue, less the percentage not interested. For example, if 24% of Londoners are interested in becoming a councillor and 75% are not interested, the “net interested” figure is -51%.

  • Data weighted to known demographic variables and for consistency with other relevant data collected by Ipsos MORI.


Guide to statistical reliability

Guide to statistical reliability

  • The variation between the sample results and the “true” values (the findings that would have been obtained if everyone had returned a questionnaire) can be predicted from knowledge of the sample sizes on which the results are based and the number of times that a particular answer is given.

  • For example, for all Londoners, on a question where 50% of the people respond with a particular answer, the chances are 95 in 100 that this result would not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3 percentage points.

  • NB: Strictly speaking the tolerances shown here apply only to random samples; in practice good quality quota sampling has been found to be as accurate

Size of sample which survey result is based (1,001)


Guide to statistical reliability cont

Guide to statistical reliability - cont.

  • When results are compared between sub groups (e.g. males versus females), different results may be obtained. The difference may be “real”, or it may occur by chance (because not everyone completed the survey). To test if the difference is a real one - i.e. if it is “statistically significant” - we have to know the size of the samples, the percentage giving a certain answer and the degree of confidence chosen.

  • For example, if 50% of males (base size: 478) give a particular answer, and 52% of females (base size: 523) give the same answer, there is not a statistically significant difference between the responses of the two groups.

  • If however, 57% of females give the same answer, then this is a statistically significant difference (since there is more than a six percentage point difference between the two).

  • In the computer tables the crossbreaks have been tested as to whether they contain statistically significant differences.


Further information

Further information

For further information contact:

[email protected]

or tel. 020 7347 3000


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