And that was 2016. Britain exits the year with only 37% thinking the country is heading in the right direction, down from 44% in September. A similar 33% think the government is handling Brexit well, but more are negative. As concern about Brexit has risen, it is now seen as the most important issue facing the UK by the public – ahead of immigration and the NHS, but the public remain pretty much as divided as they were on 23rd June.
Despite this Theresa May’s personal ratings remain strong (51% satisfied), ahead of her government. The Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn can not be said to have had a good year, and only 21% expect him to have a good 2017 either.
Elsewhere we look at who we trust to tell the truth – for the first time doctors have been knocked off top spot, but only by nurses. Trust in journalists and politicians both fell, in the case of politicians to 15%. Given our challenges, trust in pollsters also suffered in 2016, but remains at 49%, a healthy score compared to business leaders.
December saw the release of our annual Perils of Perception study. In 2016, where “post-truth” is the word of the year, it is fascinating to see that people all over the world believe their fellow citizens are more miserable than they actually are, massively over-estimate the number of Muslims in their country (Americans believe 17% are Muslim, 1% actually are) and generally expect the majority to be much less liberal than they actually are, on all sorts of dimensions, from abortion to homosexuality. We think knowing more about where the public are out of kilter with the “facts” matters.
For public policy people we look at housing, social care, cancer and the plight of the Roma across Europe.
We review 2016 in full in our annual Almanac which you can download inside, with articles on everything from polling Brexit, feminism, brands and customer experience to Donald Trump.
All that remains is for me to wish all our clients and friends a very happy Christmas and a peaceful and successful 2017.
Ben Page Chief Executive Ipsos MORI