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Social and political attitudes of people on low incomes

Wigan High Street
Published: October 2017

People on low incomes have attitudes to politics broadly in line with the wider population, but feel less in control of their lives.

Aim 

This 2017 report expands on a report published last year that explores the issues that most concern people on low incomes, how they perceive politics and how in control they feel of their lives.

We have conducted this research on behalf of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Findings 

  • Money or debt is the most commonly selected concern for people in the lowest income group (45%). The next most common concerns are physical health (38%), caring for someone (30%), housing (30%) and immigration (30%).
  • Almost a quarter (24%) of people in the lowest income group do not support any political party; this is true of just 6% among the highest income group.
  • Overall, two-thirds (65%) support government responsibility for reducing income differences between the rich and poor.
  • All income groups are in agreement that the government should provide health care (96%) and a decent standard of living for the old (93%).
  • However, those in the poorest group are much more likely than those in the richest group to say that government should provide a job for everyone who wants one (62% vs 34%) and a decent standard of living for the unemployed (65% vs 47%.)

Methods

The analysis uses a wide range of measures collected as part of British Social Attitudes survey.

For this report we created a new total income measure that allows for a more detailed analysis of how attitudes vary across the whole income spectrum than previously.