The British Social Attitudes Survey, running annually for over 30 years, has tracked the slow acceptance of new moral standards by the general population. Now it reveals at least one group of citizens is bucking the trend and retaining social conservatism.
While the newly released figures for the 2014 survey show agreement with the death penalty for certain crimes has dropped below a majority for the first time, UKIP supporters retain a level of support for the measure at a level last seen among the general populace in 1993, when it stood at 74 percent. Although the last execution in the United Kingdom was carried out in 1964, public support remained high and steady for decades after, suggesting the government reforms were well ahead of public opinion and desire for change.
Although combined belief in the death penalty has now dipped below 50 percent for the first time, when ‘aren’t sure’ respondents are stripped out, those who are ‘actively’ in favour still outnumber those who are ‘actively’ opposed to execution.
Despite this, there were a number of areas where UKIPs policies seemed broadly in line with that of the population. There has even been some good news for the government. While the public position on the European Union remains relatively static, as it has done for decades, it shows a strong majority of 62 percent of British people wish to either leave or reduce the powers of the EU.
UKIP supporters also agreed with the wider majority of British people on other social attitude indicators, such as stronger sentencing for offenders, with which 73 percent of the population agreed, and that: “Young people today don’t have enough respect for traditional British values”, with which 66 percent agreed.
The report found that although UKIP supporters felt marginally more strongly about most social attitudes, their views were in no way exceptional and they had common ground with most other Britons. Other findings by the survey will gladden the hearts of senior Conservatives.
Despite the high visibility anti-cuts campaign launched against the present government, the survey found the majority remained supportive of reducing the welfare bill and were against raising taxes.