• A post-truth era? Fake news and the general election

    A new survey has revealed a shocking 52% of British adults are struggling to tell the difference between real and fake news in the run up to the General Election.

    As campaigns from all parties ramp up ahead of 8th June, a quarter of those surveyed (25%) have seen fake news about the UK general election, rising to 43% among 18-24s. Despite scale of the fake news issue, only 6% have actually reported it to an authority.

    Most people point towards social media companies as a potentially untrustworthy source of information – half (51%) do not trust general election coverage on social media.

    Of the media outlets tested in the research, the BBC is the most trusted source for news about the General Election – however, less than half the population trust it at 45%. Only a quarter (27%) say they trust UK newspapers.

    The ICM survey also found:

    • A majority of the public believe that more action should be taken to deal with fake news about the election. Nearly one in three (28%) believe social media companies need to do more to deal with fake news, while around one in five say the same about UK newspapers (19%) and the BBC (18%).
    • One in five (21%) have cross-checked a news article about the general election to see if it was fake news, rising to 31% among savvy 18-24 year olds.

    There’s also a clear generational divide on fake news. Older people are significantly more likely to find it difficult to identify, with more than three in five over 65s (63%) saying they find it difficult to tell fake news from real news about the general election compared to around half in younger age groups. Younger age groups are also more confident about identifying fake news and are significantly more likely to have reported fake news.

    However, 14% say it’s not the responsibility of organisations to deal with fake news about the election, suggesting that individuals should be able to judge if something is fake news or not.

    ICM interviewed a nationally representative sample of 2,038 GB adults aged 18+. Fieldwork was conducted online between 5 May and 7 May 2017.

  • BBC Wales Poll, February 2015

    In the latest BBC Wales poll, the proportion of people seeking more powers for the Welsh Assembly has dropped by 9-points, down to 40%. This still confirms the overall picture that around half of Welsh people want more from the Assembly, with the other half content with it as it is (33%) or powers retreating either partially (4%) or more fundamentally toward abolition (13%).

    In general though, there does appear to be some affection for the Assembly, with more Welsh people having respect, trust and confidence in it to improve things than any level of government. This may explain why 44% want more AMs in it, with or without a compensating reduction in Welsh MPs or local councillors.

    Party leaders were also the focus of this poll, with David Cameron’s personal rating (34%) on being the best potential Prime Minister for Britain out-scoring that of Ed Miliband (23%) in one of the latter’s heartland communities. Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage hardly made the charts.

    Other questions focussed on the performance of Welsh local councils, whether the Welsh Government should pay for university students studying in England (61% think it should), whether the UK should remain in the EU (63% think it should), and what should happen to Severn Bridge tolls (50% think they should be set to cover costs and maintenance only).

    ICM interviewed a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults aged 18+ living in Wales. Interviews were conducted by telephone between 19th and 26th February 2015.

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  • Digital debate

    An online poll from ICM on behalf of The Guardian looks at the public’s view on whether and how leader’s debates before the next General Election should be shaped.
    Then public are enthused that they take place (64% say it’s important they do), and that both a live TV debate and a digital only debate are good ideas.
    Six in ten would like to see a well-stocked cast list, including the leader of the Greens, who had become David Cameron’s sticking point, but only 9% want to see Cameron vs Miliband only. If one leader failed to turn up, an empty is thought best placed to represent them (38%).

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