Worlds Apart?

A Global Survey for the BBC Crossing Divides season

The author(s)

  • Kully Kaur-Ballagan Public Affairs, UK
  • Glenn Gottfried Public Affairs, UK
  • Cameron Garrett Research Executive Ipsos Mori
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A new global study by Ipsos for the BBC Crossing Divides season carried out online among adults under 65 across 27 countries highlights that people are split over whether differences in political opinions in their country are healthy or dangerous for society.

The study also finds that:

  •  Two in five (41%) think their country’s society is more at danger because of divisions between people with different political views than it was twenty years ago
  • Half of all people (50%) say that it is important to listen to people who are different to themselves, even if they disagree with the other person
  • At the same time, and the same proportion (49%) agrees that people’s political views are entrenched and those with opposing political views to them are unlikely to change their opinions regardless of the evidence presented
  • And while the majority of people (61%) agree that social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are giving a voice to people who would not normally take part in debates about social issues, over half (54%) believe that social media is making these debates much more divisive than they used to be

MAIN FINDINGS

  • While people around the world agree there are political divisions in their country, they are split over whether these divisions are healthy or dangerous for society
  • Half believe that it’s important to listen to people with different viewpoints, but only a third say they talk to others who have opposing views on a weekly basis
  • Politics is a thorny subject - only one in three say they’re comfortable sharing their political views with other people
  • Political views are fairly entrenched; half of all people think that people with opposing views are unlikely to change their opinions regardless of the evidence presented
  • Social media – boon or curse? Views are mixed; it has enabled more people to join in on social debates, but it has made society more divisive.
  • Globally, more think that immigration has had a negative impact on their country rather than positive impact, but the British are most positive

The author(s)

  • Kully Kaur-Ballagan Public Affairs, UK
  • Glenn Gottfried Public Affairs, UK
  • Cameron Garrett Research Executive Ipsos Mori

Society