MPs who take comfort in the old adage that while people don’t like politicians, they do like their own MP, may have to think again, according to new research from the British Election Study (BES).
Professor Philip Cowley, a BES Associate based in The University of Nottingham, says contrary to the popular perception, most people rate their local MP in a similar way to MPs in general.
Only a minority of people, he says are slightly more positive about their local MP than they are about MPs in general.
The British Election Study is managed by a consortium of leading political scientists at The Universities of Manchester, Oxford and Nottingham and funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.
Professor Cowley, of the School of Politics and International Relations, said: “After years of bad press and public hostility, it’s become a bit of a comfort blanket that the animosity towards MPs is nothing personal; it’s the other politicians who are the unpopular ones.
“But this is only partially true. In reality, the difference is exaggerated so whatever you might feel about MPs, it’s certainly not love.”
One of the questions in the BES data sample of over 20,878 people, asked about trust in MPs generally, as well as their own MP.
Though 45 per cent of the respondents trusted their local MPs more than MPs in general and 16 per cent trusted MPs in general more than their local MPs, the figures, say Professor Cowley hide some less reassuring news for MPs.
Around 40 per cent trusted their local MPs and MPs generally in equal amounts. And taking into account the seven point scale used by the BES, a full 70 per cent gave an answer that was either identical for both groups or at most a point different.
He added: “When we say ‘people’ are more positive about their MP than MPs in general, we are only talking about a minority of people, albeit a sizeable minority.
“So the idea that we really rate our local MP while hating MPs in general is wide of the mark.
“Most people rate their local MP pretty much the same as they rate MPs in general, and a minority are a bit more positive about their local MP than they are about MPs in general.
“Whatever you may think about them, it’s not going to be love.”
— Ends —
Our academics can now be interviewed for broadcast via our Media Hub, which offers a Globelynx fixed camera and ISDN line facilities at University Park campus. For further information please contact a member of the Communications team on +44 (0)115 951 5798, email email@example.com or see the Globelynx website for how to register for this service.
For up to the minute media alerts, follow us on Twitter
Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with campuses in China and Malaysia modelled on a headquarters that is among the most attractive in Britain’ (Times Good University Guide 2014). It is also the most popular university in the UK among graduate employers, in the top 10 for student experience according to the Times Higher Education and one of the world’s greenest universities.
Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest-ever fundraising campaign, is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…