Politics, Government & Current Affairs

Rupert Murdoch, James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks will face a Commons select committee next week, what is the backdrop of public opinion on the key issues? (Survation for Progressive Polling)

With the news that Rupert Murdoch, James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks will face a Commons select committee next week, what is the backdrop of public opinion on the key issues?

The culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has now asked Ofcom, headed by Ed Richards who, together with the Office of fair trading must now decide if News Corp is a “fit and proper” owner of the existing stake as well as being allowed to bid for the shares they do not currently own of BSkyB in the future. Additionally, Hunt will ask Ofcom whether the closure of the News of the World means the media plurality landscape in the UK needs re-examination. What do the UK public think? Responses were gathered between the 11th and the 14th of July 2011, and a total of 1089 responses were achieved. Data were weighted by age, gender and region. A summary of all the questions and weighted answers and full data tables can now be viewed here;

Key Highlights

  • In our survey 72.5% thought that Rupert Murdoch has “too much influence in British Politics” vs 8.5% that thought he does not and 7.9% that thought his influence “appropriate”, while 11% “don’t know”
  • Regarding News International’s existing level of media ownership, 79.9% felt it should be reviewed vs only 12.4% not.
  • On the question of David Cameron’s judgement in his relationships with the press, 66.9% of those surveyed deemed Cameron’s relationship with the press either inappropriate or highly inappropriate and his judgement as Prime Minister to be affected or badly affected.
  • 69.3% of those surveyed believe that News Corp “is unfit to own all of BSkyB”, with 17.3% believing it is too early to judge.
  • Although News Corp have now withdrawn their bid for further BSkyB shares, 77.3% of responders thought in the light of the allegations that they should withdraw their bid, with only 12.1% of responders believing they should not.
  • As to whether News Corp’s existing stake in BSkyB should be reviewed in the light of the hacking allegations, 79.9% of those surveyed and expressing an opinion said yes it should versus only 12.4% opposed
  • With speculation that Rupert Murdoch will extend The Sun newspaper to 7 days to be his UK Sunday Newspaper vehicle, 69.5% deemed this “a cynical move” versus 16% of respondents having no issue with this “as Britain has a free press and Newspaper proprietors should be allowed to launch whatever publications they choose”, 4.3% deeming the NOTW issues specific to that newspaper and not connected to The Sun and 3.8% believing a fresh start was best.
  • On the potential loss of jobs of 200 News of the World staffers and senior management being currenly unaffected there was strong sympathy for the workers, with 78.9% deeming this “unfair”, 9.4% neither fair nor unfair and 8.1% not unfair.
  • On the question of what advertisers in other News International titles should do, over half of those surveyed (53.1%) felt advertisers should suspend their advertising in those publications now until the facts of the allegations against News International executives are established
  • 78.2% of those surveyed did not believe that executives at News International were unaware of the new hacking allegations such as that of Milly Dowler until July 4th (versus 72% in our July 4th-July 6th survey for Channel 4).

The Leaders?

David Cameron – over the whole affair, 35.3% feel that the Prime Minister has handled the matter adequately or well.  As regards the Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg, 46.1% believe he has handled the matter either adequately or well. For Ed Miliband 66.1% feel that the Leader of the Opposition has handled the matter adequately or well.

Personal Responsibility? In terms of who the public feel bears responsibility for the allegations should they prove accurate, Rebekah Brooks (70.9%) was the top answer, followed by Rupert Murdoch (56.5%) Andy Coulson (54.4%) and 22.6% believing specific journalists involved rather than executives bore responsibility.

Comment from Neil Foster of Progressive Polling On Twitter – @progpoll
“Whilst the withdrawal of the BSkyB takeover bid clearly reflects public thinking, there is an appetite for further action from politicians and a re-examination of media ownership. Our poll shows there is strong support in the country for a review of all media outlets currently owned by News International. The challenge for the Prime Minister is that his judgement has been called into question over this affair. Our findings suggest he needs to do more to meet what the public expect in light of the very serious allegations.”


  • The Survation / Progressive Polling – News Corporation survey is a nationally representative online survey of adults aged over 18 years old living in the UK
  • Online surveys were conducted using respondents from the Survation and Toluna online consumer panels
  • Responses were gathered between the 11th of July and the 14th of July 2011, and a total of 1089 responses were achieved
  • Data were weighted to ensure the final results were representative of the UK using census information in terms of age and gender and region
  • Data were analysed and weighted by Survation using SPSS

For further information please contact;

Damian Lyons Lowe
Survation Ltd

020 7490 4094

Survation are a member of The British Polling Council and abide by its rules

Survation Ltd  Registered in England & Wales Number 07143509

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