In this series, CDSM data from the latest British Values Survey, conducted at the end of 2015, has been analysed to understand respondent opinions in relation to two opposing statements on a six-point sliding scale.
A first cut analysis showed that 43% of the 2,020 adult respondent base agreed to some degree that the EU was a benefit to society, and 57% agreed that it was a detriment.
At the time of survey the EU referendum was a low engagement issue, about which most people were not predisposed to strong opinions. The data outlined here should therefore be viewed as a benchmark the place where British public opinion was before the referendum campaign brought the issue from the backbenches of the Conservative party to a national vote.
We have shown that a cohesive set of values underpins the nearly 30% of the population most likely to vote to 'Remain', with a different set of values for the 13% or so who feel generally positive about the EU but somewhat disinterested.
Now it's time to look at the potential 'Leave' voters - that 57% who agree that the EU is a detriment to society.
Though the base level of agreement is different between the two options - the 43% 'Remain' to 57% 'Leave' - the percentages within the range of opinion are remarkably the same for high and middle levels of agreement those most likely to turn opinion into votes.
High level of agreement
Middle level of agreement
Slight level of agreement
As many of the opinion polls are reporting during the first weeks of the official campaign, voting intentions are very tight and neither side has much of an advantage. This seems to be illustrated by the state of opinion on a low engagement issue five months prior to the poll. With approximately 30% agreeing with both ends of the scale (60% total) and 40% not interested very much either way it is likely that the 'slightly agree' component of either ilk will have a heavy influence on the final vote.
A useful measure in campaign planning is a values analysis of potential supporters - those predisposed to a positioning who can be transformed from supporters to voters. Here's the 'Leavers' Maslow Group profile.
High level of agreement
Middle level of agreement
Slight level of agreement
The figures for high levels of agreement that the EU is primarily a detriment show that Settlers are more than twice as likely to hold this opinion as the rest of the population Settlers make up 25% of the population and account for 50% of the respondents to this option. This is the heartland of support for the Leave campaign their Hard Core. Both the other two larger Maslow Groups (37% Prospectors, 38% Pioneers) index below average.
Getting the Hard Core out to vote wont be that difficult - but their votes alone will not be sufficient, especially in a high-turnout referendum. However, if the turnout is low and only the most engaged vote, this small Settler-driven group could have a big influence on the final result.
The middle level of agreement is slightly larger (16.9%) and although the Settlers have a similar index to the Prospectors (117-118), the larger numbers of Prospectors in the population leads to them having the most numbers of people within middle level supporters (44% to 29%). This means that a campaign with a Settler-driven base and some version of a Prospector appeal could be strong enough to retain people with this predisposition.
These two levels of agreement contain about 50% of all those who are of the opinion that the EU is more of detriment than a benefit. The role of campaign strategists would be to whip up their emotional engagement to vote to leave the EU in June.
The more difficult bit is to 'turn on' the 27% of the population that slightly agrees with the opinion. It is important to understand the Maslow Group profile of this group because this is the area that is likely to have most leakage - to be open to persuasion to change their 'weak' opinion into a vote for the Remain position, even if their support is only slight.
The strategic implications for the Leave campaign are enormous as almost 50% of their potential support is in this 27% of the population with weak commitment a bigger target than for the Remain campaign, whose 'slight support' is a much smaller 13.5% of the population.
The values set of those with high levels of agreement the Hard Core - looks like this.
The Terrain Map shows that Hard Core Leavers have a very coherent potential supporter base among the Settlers just as the data table has shown. Among the Settlers, Brave New World is just over two and three quarters times more likely to support a Leaver platform (index 279) and Roots is just under that figure at 270. This support is very different than that of the Remainers shown in a previous post. The very low index for the Pioneer Transcenders at the bottom of the map (19) indicates a support for this option that is 81% below the national average.
The Contour Map provides a deeper insight for analysts and decision makers and illustrates on which of the 108 Attributes of the British Values System they over-index. These indices can be used to frame campaigns, communications and events that will increase the engagement of their supporters. The over-indexed Attributes highlight the nature of the differences between potential supporters of the two campaigns.
Potential Remain campaign supporters are more inclined than the general population to support traditionally liberal factors like POVERTY AWARE, JUSTICE, GREEN INTENT, ADAPTABLE and GLOBAL. Meanwhile, potential Leave supporters have a list that over-indexes on SCEPTICAL, DISCIPLINE, WHIP, NATIONAL PRIDE, COASTING and SHANGRI-LA.
The next level of potential Leave support Fair Weather Friends retains the Settler support but finds its core in the Prospector Golden Dreamers.
Once again, there is a lack of traditional liberal Attributes as the more traditional and moralistic Attributes (Discipline, Patriarchy and Religious) are joined by a modern and divisive set - supporting Big Business as a benefit to society; believing it is natural that society is dividing, and accepting that there will be 'haves' and 'have nots'. Other associated over-indexed Attributes show that this orientation could quite easily attract supporters of a more judgemental and potentially more violent nature.
Together these two levels of agreement about the effect of the EU on UK society are quite coherent supporting each other with a significant fringe that are more negatively judgemental of other points of view, subscribe to relatively simple pragmatic rules and perceive others unlike themselves and their friends as 'outsiders' and potential enemies, rather than just people with a different point of view.
Though cohesive and fairly easy to 'stir up' on issues like immigration, national sovereignity and protecting the past, this grouping still makes up only about 30% of the population - very likely not enough to win an election when the Remain campaign is potentially supported by the same numbers of people but with a completely opposite point of view.
It is therefore essential for both campaigns to understand the opportunities to retain or attract potential supporters who are only slightly interested in the issue the 40% of the population that is unlikely to ever be very engaged with the issue but whose vote may swing a close election. When presented with the 'facts' in the June referendum their most likely response will be "Am I bovvered?
The Remain version of slight support was seen to be quite chaotic in a range of beliefs, as measured by over-indexed Attributes. Those who would slightly support a Leave campaign over a quarter of the population (27.0%) - are similarly chaotic and, as the Terrain Map shows, even more focused in the Prospector area of the map.
Even more significant is the emphasis in the middle of the map where many people exhibit less systemic values driven behaviours, changing them in a manner that can cause bedlam in lifestyles.
This group is also under indexed in the Pioneer Transcenders about 40% below the national average.
For those who prize relative stability and ordered change this 27% of the population present some quite frightening orientations. These potential supporters for a Leave campaign have a set of over-indexed Attributes that can be seen in other developed countries from Poland and Latvia to France and the United States to lead to violent rhetoric and confrontations between supporters of opposing points of view. Be aware that these are symptomatic of skirmishes in a Values War.
The top over-indexing Attributes include a range of violent beliefs including:
The final most significantly over-indexed Attribute is BUDGET BEDLAM. This is quite central in the UK map, so not important by itself but, aligned with the other Attributes among this group of people, it can be used as a 'trigger and bridge' issue something to fire off connections with other issues. In this case it would be easy to link their personal economic problems with other orientations, which could lead to anti-social activities and small scale acts of civil disorder actively performed by a small minority, but passively accepted and supported by a far larger group. With the urging of perceived 'strong leaders', they can be mobilized to turn their anger into ballots, but the campaign to engage them is fraught with danger to political and cultural discourse and the body politic.