Surveying the US and UK


in Geek stuff, Politics, The environment

This survey, comparing American and British attitudes on various subjects, contains some interesting bits of information. For instance, 2% of British people would be “angry” if their leader was an atheist, while 21% of Americans say they would be. Both sets of respondents are similarly negative when asked about a Muslim leader: 35% of Americans would be angry, compared to 34% of British people. Only 16% of Britains who believe in god also believe in hell, compared with 54% of Americans.

55% of Brits believe in anthropogenic climate change, compared to 49% of Americans, but neither country has citizens too keen on doing much about it. 79% of Yanks and 76% of Brits oppose higher gas taxes; half those polled in the UK oppose increased airline fares, compared with 67% of Americans. Opinions about nuclear are very similar in both states, with about 45% of people in favour of more stations and 30% opposed.

Asked to choose a new leader, the British respondents chose the following listing based on set options: Margaret Thatcher, Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Ronald Reagan. Americans preferred Reagan and Clinton, with Thatcher and Blair as a near-tie. Americans are much keener on character than experience (ranked higher by 63% compared to 28%), while British respondents preferred experience by 50% to 39%. Americans are much more likely to distrust university professors (17% of respondents compared to 2% in the UK), while Brits are much keener on free trade (52% generally in favour, compared to 31% of Americans).

Both sets of respondents also seem to have a similar overall view of the future, with about 40% expecting the next generation to be worse off than they are, 27% expecting them to be better off, and 18% expecting things to remain about the same.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Milan April 14, 2008 at 3:48 pm

I understand, up to a point
Sep 2nd 2004

“Cultural differences mean that a literal understanding of what someone says is often a world away from real understanding. For example, how many non-Brits could decode the irony (and literary allusion) which lies behind the expression “up to a point”, which is used to mean “no, not in the slightest”?

The problem is now so widely recognised that informal guides to what the French or the English really mean, when they are speaking their mother tongues, have been drawn up by other nationalities. Two modest examples recently fell into your correspondent’s hands. Both are genuine.

One was written for the Dutch, trying to do business with the British. Another was written by British diplomats, as a guide to the language used by their French counterparts. The fact that the Dutch—so eerily fluent in English—should need a guide to Britspeak is particularly striking. But the problem—to judge by the guide, which was spotted on an office wall in the European Court of Justice—is that Brits make their points in an indirect manner that the plain-speaking Nederlanders find baffling.

Hence the guide’s warning that when a Briton says “I hear what you say”, the foreign listener may understand: “He accepts my point of view.” In fact, the British speaker means: “I disagree and I do not want to discuss it any further.” Similarly the phrase “with the greatest respect” when used by an Englishman is recognisable to a compatriot as an icy put-down, correctly translated by the guide as meaning “I think you are wrong, or a fool.”

The guide also points out helpfully that when a Briton says “by the way/incidentally”, he is usually understood by foreigners as meaning “this is not very important”, whereas in fact he means, “The primary purpose of our discussion is…” On the other hand, the phrase “I’ll bear it in mind” means “I’ll do nothing about it”; while “Correct me if I’m wrong” means “I’m right, please don’t contradict me.””

. December 18, 2008 at 4:23 pm

Atheists and Anger

“One of the most common criticisms lobbed at the newly-vocal atheist community is, “Why do you have to be so angry?” So I want to talk about:

1. Why atheists are angry;

2. Why our anger is valid, valuable, and necessary;

And 3. Why it’s completely fucked-up to try to take our anger away from us.”

. February 22, 2011 at 8:19 am

Embarrassed Republicans Admit They’ve Been Thinking Of Eisenhower Whole Time They’ve Been Praising Reagan

The GOP’s humiliating blunder was discovered last weekend by RNC chairman Reince Priebus, who realized his party had been extolling “completely the wrong guy” after he watched the History Channel special Eisenhower: An American Portrait.

“When I heard about Eisenhower’s presidential accomplishments—holding down the national debt, keeping inflation in check, and fighting for balanced budgets—it hit me that we’d clearly gotten their names mixed up at some point,” Priebus told reporters. “I couldn’t believe we’d been associating terms like ‘visionary,’ ‘principled,’ and ‘bold’ with President Reagan. That wasn’t him at all—that was Ike.”

“We deeply regret misattributing such a distinguished and patriotic legacy to Mr. Reagan,” Priebus added. “We really screwed up.”

Following his discovery, Priebus directed RNC staffers to inform top Republicans of the error and explain that it was Eisenhower, not Reagan, who carefully managed the nation’s prosperity, warned citizens of the military-industrial complex’s growing influence, and led the country with a mix of firm resolve and humble compassion.

“Wait, you’re telling me Reagan advocated that trickle-down nonsense that was debunked years ago? That was Reagan?” Sen. John Thune (R-SD) said upon hearing of the mistake. “I can’t believe I’ve been calling for a return to Reagan’s America. I feel like an asshole.”

According to sources, millions of younger Republicans have spent most of their lives viewing Reagan a stalwart of conservative principles, and many were “horrified” to learn that the former president illegally sold weapons to Iran, declared amnesty for 2.9 million illegal immigrants, costarred in a movie with a chimpanzee, funneled aid to Islamic militants in Afghanistan, and suffered from severe mental problems.

In the wake of the GOP’s revelation, Congress has passed bills to rename Reagan National Airport and the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier in honor of Eisenhower. A number of potential 2012 Republican presidential contenders have also rushed to reframe their agendas in terms of “Eisenhower ideals” while distancing themselves from Reagan.

“It’s absolutely mortifying to suddenly realize that the man you had long credited as a champion of fiscal conservatism actually tripled the national debt and signed the largest peacetime tax hike in U.S. history,” said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, adding that he was ashamed to learn that the man he once called his hero stood by silently while the AIDS epidemic exploded.

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