What’s the difference between BNP/UKIP voters?

Colleagues/friends Matt Goodwin and Jocelyn Evans have created quite a stir with their report on the attitudes of BNP and UKIP supporters/voters. Obviously, UKIP is not happy at all about being lumped together with what remains of Nick Griffin’s party. Being introduced as a ‘polite alternative’ to the BNP (albeit with a rhetorical question mark) does not help, either. Today, Matt responds to their critics over at the Guardian’s ever more popular Comment is free section.

Whether UKIP likes it or not, this is fascinating stuff (for us aficionados). That their respondents predominantly young, male, undereducated and deeply worried about Muslims/immigrants hardly comes as a surprise. But there are some real innovations in this paper.

  • First, the N is huge (you need yougov or a very solid skull to interview ~2000 right-wingers). The sheer number of interviews makes it possible to differentiate between members, identifiers, supporters, and voters, something that is not normally possible.
  • Second, comparing BNP and UKIP supporters on the basis of a large sample makes a lot of substantive sense, whether UKIP likes it or not.
  • Third, Goodwin/Evans cleverly included items tapping into attitudes towards politically motivated violence in their survey. This allows them to connect existing research on voters with the sparse literature on militant activists.
What's the difference between BNP/UKIP voters? 1

Journos: Back to stats 101!

The other day, a (rather clever) student told me that she has no real need for all these stats classes, because she will be a journalist. I told her that the world would be a better place if all journalists underwent compulsory numeracy classes. Here is the proof from my favourite newspaper. How long does it take you to spot the glitch?

Young people in the East Midlands were the most down-to-earth of those surveyed, expecting an annual salary of £33,468 by the time they reached their mid-thirties. However, even this figure is still around £4,000 higher than the average.

Two-thirds of respondents also thought they would own a house by the time they were 25. In reality, only 14% of homeowners are aged 25 or under.

With the rising cost of higher education hitting students hard, recent figures suggest young people will be left with more than £20,000 of debt by the end of their courses. But the poll shows today’s school children do not realise how out of pocket they will actually be: the average expected figure was just half the reality.


A New Approach to the Expenses Scandal: sleaze@home

The publication of thousands of claims by members of parliament that have the most interesting parts are blacked out has triggered a new wave of outrage over members expenses. Now, even the Guardian has to recognise that the Telegraph was instrumental in uncovering the scale of the mess we’re in. And so, in a bid to keep pace, they have released an innovative crowdsourcing tool that mirrors the principle behind NASA’s “Clickworkers” project (and Amazon’s Mechanical Turk). Over at http://mps-expenses.guardian.co.uk/ you can wade through 457,153 pages of claims and help the good people of the Guardian to identify the juiciest bits.

The task is daunting. My MP (Bob Russell) alone has put in a mere 800 pages of  claims and receipts.  But you can win a duck island.

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