Majority of answers on key issues factually incorrect.
by Jonathan Paige
A new survey for the Royal Statistical Society and King's College London shows public opinion is repeatedly off the mark on issues including crime, benefit fraud and immigration.
The research, carried out by Ipsos Mori from a phone survey of 1,015 people aged 16 to 75, lists ten misconceptions held by the British public. Among the biggest misconceptions are:
Benefit fraud: the public think that £24 of every £100 of benefits is fraudulently claimed. Official estimates are that just 70 pence in every £100 is fraudulent – so the public conception is out by a factor of 34.
Immigration: some 31 percent of the population is thought to consist of recent immigrants, when the figure is actually 13 percent. Even including illegal immigrants, the figure is only about 15 percent. On the issue of ethnicity, black and Asian people are thought to make up 30 percent of the population, when the figure is closer to 11 percent.
Crime: some 58 percent of people do not believe crime is falling, when the Crime Survey for England and Wales shows that incidents of crime were 19 percent lower in 2012 than in 2006/07 and 53 per cent lower than in 1995. Some 51 percent think violent crime is rising, when it has fallen from almost 2.5 million incidents in 2006/07 to under 2 million in 2012.
Teen pregnancy is thought to be 25 times higher than the official estimates: 15 per cent of of girls under 16 are thought to become pregnant every year, when official figures say the amount is closer to 0.6 per cent….
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