What the public really think about campaigning

NCVO have just launched a new set of discussion groups about campaigning over at www.ncvo-vol.org.uk. I posted  on the ‘Campaigning Landscape’ board last week about recent research into public attitudes to different campaigning tactics carried out by the think-tank Theos.
Do visit the discussion group to read the full post, including some reflections on the implications for campaigners.
Some of the headlines from the research include;

  • 36% of those asked had ‘signed a petition’ in the last 12 months, while another 15% have ‘contacted a politician’ or ‘started, followed or supported a campaign using social media’ in the same period. Only 2% have ‘taken part in a public demonstration’.
  • 72% of people would be willing to ‘sign a petition’, 50% would consider ‘contacting a politician’ and another 29% would consider ‘going on a public demonstration’.
  • Scepticism exists about the effectiveness of many of the most popular tactics. Only 44% thinking that ‘signing a petition is likely to change rules, law or policies’ while 37% thinking ‘a public demonstration’ is likely to be effective. ‘Contacting politicians’ (46%) or ‘the media’ (45%) are believed to be the most effective but are actions taken by much smaller numbers.
  • Domestic issues like fuel prices (52%), public service cuts (47%) and tax rises (41%) are the issues that the public are most likely to take action on, with climate change (17%) and global poverty (19%) some of the least likely.