Myths and Facts: Public Perceptions and Policy in the UK

Dr Rod Abouharb, Dr Alex Braithwaite, Dr David Hudson & Dr Jennifer Hudson, Political Science, UCL School of Public Policy

In a recent survey of nearly 5,000 members of the UK public, 6.6% of respondents stated that they believed themselves to be “very likely” to be targeted by a terrorist attack in the next few years. This equates to a risk of approximately 1 in 16 people.

A more accurate risk rate—based upon experience across the past 30 years—would be closer to 1 in 1.1 million. A consistent finding of polls of public opinion sees respondents estimating that 20% of government budgets are spent on overseas development aid. In fact, the figure is less than 1%.

How can we account for such large discrepancies in understanding? How can research being carried out at UCL be used to change the way people look at policy?

Through this project, the team from UCL's School of Public Policy aims to engage with the voting public in assessing how people understand a range of UK policy domains, and work with people to find the sources of common misconceptions.

Three 1-day workshops will take place, each with a distinct, policy-orientated theme: overseas development aid, the UK terrorist threat level, and human rights.

Throughout this process, our interest is not in alienating the public or trying to accuse them of being ill-informed but, rather, to uncover best practice for communicating more accurate information on these key policy domains.

Page last modified on 25 apr 13 15:23