The Thick of It


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Decline in trust?

An interesting circular about social media arrived on my desk from one of our competitors yesterday. The un-named company quoted data from Datamonitor's 2003 Euromonitor survey, where people in several Western European countries were asked whether they trust:

The press
Political parties
Big companies
Religious institutions

For the UK, according to the survey, 78% of British people don't trust the press. This is a typical result. People frequrently say they don't trust journalists, politicians and estate agents. Nothing new there, people are never going to admit to believing everything they read if you ask them. However, compare the supposed distrust of the press with some views you often hear on the doorstep and the reality is somewheat different.

Quite often people will tell me that eastern Europeans/asylum seekers/immigrants have taken all the housing. Where do they get this information from? It must be the press. According to a survey reported today, only 1% of social housing has gone to east European migrants.

Interestingly, the French and Germans are less trustful of politicians than the British. The Dutch are the most trusting. Voter turnout in these countries doesn't seem to be affected by a direct relationship to the trust levels. In elections since 1960, turnout in Germany is 86%, in France and the UK are identical at 76%. This shows that trust is only one factor to take into account, though obviously still important.

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