September 11, 2017

Brits and Americans are united on one thing – 80% of respondents on both sides of the Atlantic agreed that terrorists were among the most dangerous people in the world today. No surprise there. But after that? ComRes presented a list of other possible ‘baddies’. The full list was…

  • Big businesses… or High-taxing governments;
  • Capitalists… or Communists;
  • Fake news;
  • Left-wing unions, politicians and campaigners… or right-wing pundits, politicians and donors;
  • Military leaders;
  • Religious leaders;
  • And then Terrorists.

The main reason for our asking was to establish the popularity/unpopularity of left-wing versus right-wing flag-wavers. The overall totals suggest little difference in either suspicion of the two ideological camps or, indeed, between the two countries. 20% of Americans saw right-wingers as dangerous and, very nearly the same, 18% saw left-wingers as dangerous. The numbers in Britain were 17% and 16% respectively. As with the data we published last week, however, the totals hide a significant generation gap…

  • Within Britain, 27% of those aged 65+ see left-of-centre unions, politicians and campaigners as most dangerous – but only 10% of 18 to 24 year-olds say the same. All of the Tory efforts in the recent general election – focusing, for example, on Jeremy Corbyn’s historical links with IRA paramilitaries – did, indeed, fall on stony ground.
  • In contrast 24% of young Brits saw right-wingers as “most dangerous” and only 11% of older Britons agreed.

The numbers from America were, perhaps, more surprising…

  • Older Americans are significantly more likely than younger Americans to consider political ideology dangerous: 34% of those aged 65+ say that right-wing pundits, politicians and donors are dangerous in the world today compared to only 14% of 18-24 year olds.
  • On left-wing unions, politicians and campaigners, 22% of those aged 65+ say they are dangerous in the world today, compared to 12% of 18-24 year olds.

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ComRes interviewed 2,059 UK adults on 7th and 8th August. 1,011 US adults were interviewed between 7th and 9th August. Both surveys were conducted online.