Monday 11 March 2013

Is the BBC trusted?

How many people trust the BBC in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal and its various self-inflicted traumas at Newsnight (including the smearing of Lord McAlpine)? 

YouGov conducted a survey for Prospect magazine last month that gave some striking results. 

The survey reveals that the BBC is the fourth most-loved British institution, behind the NHS (61%), armed forces (52%) and the monarchy (41%). 

Good news for the BBC that, even though the figure for "Which are you most proud of?" stands at a fairly low 28% - which is only twice as much as the figure for "Which are you most ashamed of?", which comes in at 14%. 

Less good news is that comparisons with previous surveys reveal a dramatic decline in support for the BBC in recent years. In 2003 the same question resulted in a jaw-dropping 81% approval rating for the BBC. The plummet from 81% to 28% over the last decade is a huge turnabout in fortunes for the corporation.

On the question of whether the BBC is biased in its coverage of British politics, the overall results show:

35% think it is "Fair
17% think it's "Biased towards the left-of-centre"
16% think it's "Biased towards "establishment' views rather than left or right
4% think it's "Biased towards the right-of-centre"
28% "don't know

So 35% think the BBC is fair but 37% think it's biased - in some way.

It's interesting that so few people believe it to have a right-wing bias, but the overall number believing it to have a left-wing bias isn't that huge either, is it? 

However, the survey then broke down those figures between Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat supporters and found that the BBC has a real problem with Conservative voters, 34% of whom believe the BBC to be biased to the left and only 29% of whom think the BBC's coverage is fair. 

(Wonder what UKIP voters would have said? I suspect the result would be even worse for the BBC.)

Is that the same with Labour voters? Very strikingly, no it isn't. Only 6% of them believe the BBC is biased to the right (and 5% of them say it is actually biased in favour of the left!) while 45% of Labour supporters find the BBC's coverage fair. 

Lib Dem supporters give even more favourable results, with 50% saying the BBC's coverage is fair, though 17% of them believe the organisation to be biased to the left. Only 2% believe it has a right-wing bias.

So mixed results for the BBC then. And mixed results for all bloggers who believe the BBC to be biased and want something done about it.

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