Who trusts Britain’s politicians? Over 80% of the public don’t

Theresa May PM meeting with European Parliament President

The latest Veracity Index from Ipsos-MORI indicates that politicians are the least trusted group of professionals amongst the British public.

The Veracity Index, which has been running for thirty-six years puts politicians at the bottom of the league table on 17%, slightly below government ministers (19%), professional footballers (26%) and journalists (27%).

Compared to the index one year ago, there has been little movement at the bottom of the table.

It is also worth noting that this polling was conducted in October, however, a follow-up wave in early November indicates a slight increase in trust of politicians and government ministers by three points each despite recent sexual harassment allegations.

Strikingly, pollsters are much more trusted that politicians (50%) even though one might have expected a much lower score due to June’s surprise hung parliament, last year’s shock Brexit vote, the 2015 Conservative majority and Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton last year.

Donald Trump Points & Smiles

However, it is worth pointing out that YouGov’s multilevel regression post-stratification model correctly predicted a hung parliament this year showing that pollsters have not got it all wrong, and that polls in America were generally correct as Clinton did win the popular vote.

Meanwhile, nurses (94%), doctors (91%) and teachers (87%) sit at the top of the table.

Analysis:

Politicians have long been viewed with negativity by the population at large, and this latest index confirms that such views have not shifted. In fact, the data show that in the long history of the Veracity Index, politicians have consistently been one of the least trusted groups of professionals in Britain.

The latest wave of Westminster scandals has probably made very little difference to public trust in politicians because the bar was so low in the first place.

The problem is that politicians should be trusted. Politicians should be seen as figures people can go to when they need a representatives to hear their views in order to change the world for the better. Elected politicians are just one part of the political system, but they are the life-blood of our representative democracy, and this latest poll further confirms that more must be done to strengthen the connection between politicians and the public.

The full results of the poll can be accessed here.