UK cultural and political attitudes 2019

Hanbury carried out a poll of 4984 people in June 2019 on a range of cultural and political issues, on behalf of Politico. Data has been published by age, gender, region, referendum vote and political affiliation. The following is an analysis of some of that data.

The poll asked people to place themselves on a scale of 1-100 between two contrasting statements. In such polls there is a tendency for people to choose either the middle or the extremes. On most questions around a third of respondents chose the middle position, while a quarter chose one of the extremes. The summary below is based only on those who gave a very clear/extreme response (either choosing less than 11 or over 89). In most cases this accounts for a quarter of respondents.

Against each statement is a net score – the percentage agreeing minus the percentage disagreeing

This analysis identifies:

  • Issues where there is strong agreement across most groups
  • Issues where there is agreement but less widespread
  • Issues which divide people by age, party affiliation, or referendum vote

Most people strongly believe that

  agree disagree
the “country has moved [on cultural issues]… further away from my own views in the past decade“ 37 10
“making a decent living has got harder for people like me” 23 4
“the wealthiest have generally earned their money by exploiting others rather than hard work” 22 4
reducing the gap between rich and poor is more important than growing the economy faster 20 4
privatisation of utilities has been bad 20 5
society has become more divided 18 5

Most people also believe that

  Agree Disagree
a decline in marriage has led to “a decline in family commitments and values”, 17 7
efforts to reduce inequality between men and women needs to go further 16 7
government should guarantee a good standard of living for all working families 15 10
in criminal justice, punishment is more important than rehabilitation 15 11
the growth of living in cites has had a negative impact 14 4
too many young people are going to university rather than “technological” education 13 3
Faced with the choice between security and freedom, they prioritise security 13 7
economic factors have been more important than cultural in their own lives 13 9
globalisation has not benefited most people 12 4
society has been changed as much by economic as cultural factors 12 12
government should focus equally on economic and social priorities 10 10
technological change has been bad for jobs and wages, and all believe that globalisation has not benefited most people. 9 5

Two groups

On many issues, the population divides into two broad groups

Cluster A: Oldest, leavers, Brexit and Conservatives are more likely to:

  • believe that society has become more divided,
  • value tradition over change,
  • value security over freedom,
  • believe that globalisation has been bad for society
  • believe that living in cities has had a negative impact on society,
  • believe the decline in marriage has led to a decline in family commitments,
  • believe that too many people are going to university rather than technological education,
  • believe that immigration has been bad for the economy,
  • prioritise punishment over rehabilitation,
  • are less likely to believe that the government should guarantee a good standard of living for all workers
  • support government by “a strong leader who does not have to worry about Parliament”

Cluster B: Young, remainers, Labour, Green SNP, and LibDem voters are more likely to:

  • Value change more than tradition,
  • Believe that gender equality must go further
  • believe immigration has been good for the economy,
  • less likely to prioritise punishment over rehabilitation,
  • believe that government should focus on strengthening society over economic growth
  • believe that government should guarantee a decent standard of living for all workers
  • believe that wealthy people have become rich by exploitation, rather than hard work
  • most likely to prioritise equality over growth,
  • most suspicious of “strong leaders”


  • Leavers are most likely to prioritise culture over the economy
  • Brexit voters are least likely to believe gender equality has gone too far, but still evenly balanced
  • Conservatives are:
    • least likely to think that privatisation of utilities has been a bad thing,
    • least likely to believe that government should guarantee a decent standard of living for all workers
    • least likely to be hostile to a strong leader
  • Women strongly support the government supporting a good standard of living for all workers

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