Who’s signing the road pricing petition?

Some great analysis from Heather Hopkins of the traffic (and by extension, the 1.7m signatories) to the now legendary e-petition on road charging. Heather notes that the Daily Mail website is the fourth largest provider of traffic to the petitions site (behind Google, Hotmail and the No10 site itself).

Further demographic analysis shows that almost half the site’s visitors are aged 55+, and living in southern England, with particularly strong representation for the South West and South East (not including greater London) regions. I don’t think this necessarily undermines the value of the signatures – but you have to admit, this is precisely the demographic you’d expect to be most naturally hostile to the plans.

8 thoughts on “Who’s signing the road pricing petition?”

  1. It certainly is. It’s odd though, as the Mail’s website doesn’t carry links to other websites those readers must be seeking out the petition having read about it.

    It’s not really surprising, is it, that the people who would be against the plans are the ones who are signing the petition?

  2. This is actually quite useful evidence. It provides measurable evidence of the unrepresentative and self-serving cohort that is generating the volume of protest on the site – that’s giving for many people a false impression of some sort of popular, across-the- population revolt. I don’t think there are many outwith London, bus or train commuters in amongst the typical protestors.

  3. Ian – reading Heather’s comments, she’s pretty clear that they are following direct links from the Daily Mail site to the No 10 petitions site. (Not being a regular visitor to dailymail.co.uk, I don’t feel able to comment on their linking policy.)

    I don’t think it’s about excluding people because of the reason for their objections… but if a government policy is going to be torn up, it would be nice to know that the policy was the reason for the opposition, rather than the government. And if the Mail readership is driving this (pardon the pun), then I fear we can’t say that.

  4. I’ve been following the Mail’s coverage pretty closely and I haven’t found any direct links. I think it’s more likely they went straight there after reading the mail (a level of internet literacy you might not expect from the but that they seem to be exhibiting). Or maybe I missed the link, it’s altogether possible.

    I see what you mean, but I do think it’s the policy not the government. The Mail readership, no doubt, are hugely anti-Labour, but they are only coincidentally anti-road pricing. They would be equally against a tory or libdem policy that mena they’d be monitored and risk paying more for driving their cars to work.

    There are, after all, several other key Labour policies that are being protested against on that website (ID cards, for example) and they haven’t attracted nearly as much traffic.

  5. Simon, thanks for the compliment and for passing the word. I thought the stats were pretty funny as they indicate that older people in the south are really up in arms about this issue. I mentioned Hotmail in my post, but should mention that 21.11% of visits came from web based email services.

    Cheers, Heather

  6. Simon, I posted a bit on this too at eDemocracy Update. I made the point that the inclusion of Hotmail as the fourth largest referrer seems to reinforce the fact that there was a (misleading?) email based campaign under-way to dive up signatories. Heather’s comment aboce goes even further to reinforce this.

  7. Hang on a minute. Why the assumption that an email campaign would be misleading? Has anyone here seen an email? I know I haven’t.

    A lot of people don’t want road pricing. Ordinary everyday people.

    They might well want less global warming and congestion, but road pricing’s really a pretty bad idea. The 4×4 people will probably benefit from it as it’s not based on fuel consumption or carbon generation, but it’d be hugely expensive to administer and is very bad for people who genuinely do need their cars at peak times. Surely we can come up with something a little less brainless?

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