Declining trust in politicians

The Committee on Standards in Public Life has published its latest survey of public attitudes towards public servants; and if anything, there’s a slightly more negative tone to this set of results, compared to previous surveys in 2004 and 2006.
For those of us who see engagement as a key area, there are some interesting numbers. 59% say it’s extremely important for public office holders to be in touch with what the public thinks is important; but only 28% said most/all MPs were, with Ministers faring even worse at just 20%. Three quarters say telling the truth is extremely important; but only 22% think most Ministers do, and MPs don’t do much better at 26%.
I’m surprised at the relatively low importance placed on MPs and Ministers explaining the reasons for their actions and decisions; but even in these days where Ministers have infinitely greater capacity to state their case, the survey shows a trend of increasing dissatisfaction. Then again, the same data shows we’re less likely to believe them anyway.
The survey also asked about news sources, with a whopping 70% saying they never look at websites with a political focus. However, as the report notes, among regular internet users, it was actually the 65-and-overs who were most likely to look at political sites (22%). You’d rightly expect readers to be more likely to be men, have degrees and read broadsheet newspapers; but there’s something intriguing about ’13 per cent of those with a political party affliation [reading political sites], compared with 9 per cent of those without one’.
You can download the full 130 page report from the Committee’s website; there’s bound to be some data in there to enrich your next PowerPoint presentation.

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