The results of the summer readers’ poll (2)

Last week I promoted a poll on this blog and through social media on people’s views on a variety of issues. One of those issues was ‘On a scale from 0-9, how in favour or against grouse shooting are you, where 0 is ‘very much against’ and 9 is ‘very much for’?’.

What I’ve done here is to contrast the responses to other questions in the survey from those who were ‘very much for grouse shooting’ (ticking 9, n=423 ) and those who were ‘very much against’ (ticking 0, n=1368)(leaving 507 who scored the question 1-8, and 98 who skipped the question). So the following comparisons are between those respondents who were keenest (Pro-DGS I will label them) and those least keen (Anti-DGS I will label them) on the subject of grouse shooting.

Pro-DGS are Conservative (85% where the choice is either Con or Lab)

Anti-DGS are Labour (86% where the choice is either Lab or Con)

Would you vote for Brexit?

Pro-DGS 69% Yes, 25% No

Anti-DGS 13%, Yes, 84% No

Is climate change happening?

Pro-DGS 45% Yes, 26% No

Anti-DGS 97% Yes, 0% No

Is climate change caused by our activities?

Pro-DGS 32% Yes, 43% No

Anti-DGS 94% Yes, 2% No

Will impacts of climate change on humankind be harmful?

Pro-DGS 41% Yes, 34% No

Anti-DGS 97% Yes, 1% No

Can we reduce impacts of climate change through our actions?

Pro-DGS 25% Yes, 43% No

Anti-DGS 78% Yes, 3% No

Are there too many birds of prey in the UK?

Pro-DGS 27% Yes, 34% No

Anti-DGS 2% Yes, 97% No

Are you keen on rewilding?

Pro-DGS 15% Yes, 64% No

Anti-DGS 94% Yes, 1% No

Do you object to or support badger cull?

Pro-DGS 10% Object, 80% Support

Anti-DGS 93% Object, 3% Support

Pro-DGS rsdspondents are more likely to be male (81% cf 63% of Anti-DGS respondents) and more likely to be younger than 50 years (52% cf 23% of Anti-DGS).

Make of that what you will. What I take from it is that to a rather remarkable extent, those who are Pro-DGS are more likely, indeed much more likely in this pool of responses, also to be Conservative-leaning voters, who are pro-Brexit, sceptical, unconcerned and unmotivated by climate change, against rewilding, in favour of the badger cull and think there are too many harmful raptors in the UK than are those most Anti-DGS. This is not very surprising as a general difference, but it did surprise me how massive the difference was. It’s almost as if strong feelings over grouse shooting are an indicator of completely differing world views on a range of issues. Maybe they are.

Has it always been so? I went back to the 2016 dataset and looked at the data in this same way and found that all the differences were in the same direction but they were rather less marked.

If you want to get rid of driven grouse shooting then it seems as though your supporters are likely to be Left-leaning individuals who want Remain and are worried about climate change, don’t want a Badger cull and are in favour of rewilding. People like me in fact. How cosy!

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26 Replies to “The results of the summer readers’ poll (2)”

  1. Is that really right, that pro-DGS have a younger demographic than anti-DGS? It's not what you would expect from the other opinions. In fact, given their opininions, I would have expected them to be at least 65 million years old, as they appear to be total dinosaurs. They're probably pro-first-past-the-post too, despite it's total distortion of our democracy!

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    1. m - I think we can probably thank a bunch of gamekeepers for their views (but that's a bit of a guess).

      Of course, all responses could come from liars.

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      1. So I did read the age profile correctly. I think you're right: it's only going to be the younger part of the DGS tribe who will bother with social media / blogs etc (mostly anyway), and that will have skewed their average age down.

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  2. I can't fathom the pro-DGS community being opposed to rewilding, given how popular (and challenging) hunting is in wilder landscapes. DGS is not a challenge - it's a single species shoot-em-up-killing-fest. Wilder landscapes are surely a much more challenging context to hone one's skill? Perhaps those partaking in driven grouse shooting are not that bright, just low-skilled bankers, cricketers, 'celebs' etc?

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    1. They don't want a challenge. They just want something they can claim is a challenge. The pro-DGS brigade are the same people who cheat at solitaire and then brag how they never lose a game of it. They want something that confirms their prejudice that they are anointed for success and are inherently special, not a sport that might shake that belief.

      Also in the rest of Europe, and particularly in America, hunting tends to be more blue collar than DGS is. Inclusionary, rather than exclusionary. They don't want to share with the filthy proles. These are the type of people who when going pheasant shooting make the same joke every time that they want to drop the "h" from it.

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      1. Can I just point out that most shooters, pheasant, pigeon, wild fowlers and a surprisingly big portion of grouse shooters are actually not toffs or upper landed gentry.

        Personally I have met everyone from builders, nurses, teachers, carpenters, shop workers, house wives/husbands, military (all ranks not just the officer class), police and many more normal and mundane jobs (many of which don’t pay that well) that shoot.

        Shooting is a pastime that anyone can do, you don’t have to be rich, you can shoot if you are disabled or able bodied, male or female, young or old and no matter what race.

        Shooting actually helped me through school (council run comprehensive where bullying was strife and I still have the scars to prove it) thanks to a forward thinking teacher that encouraged people like myself to challenge themselves and try something different. If he hadn’t of started up an air rifle club that shot every dinner time, I wouldn’t have made it through school and that just proves that your comments are wrong.

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        1. Black Country, that is true of shooting in general but you won't find many ordinary people on the average driven grouse shoot at an average of around £1,000 per day!

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  3. Interesting results. They seem to me to reflect more polarisation in British politics generally these days. I'm not sure where that leaves the middle ground on DGS and other issues.

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  4. It is a culture war. Now left leaning people will be almost instinctively cringing and knee jerking defensively over that statement, I can already hear the keyboards hammering out that they are not fighting a culture war; thing is though, we are.

    Left leaning people might not think of themselves as doing it, might recoil from the accusation, might never have intended to do so; but the right leaning people decided that it was and decided to treat it as one. So we are in one. We might not want to be, but we are whether we like it or not. And we are losing it.

    The modern left's fear of confrontation and cringing away from the accusation (so often used by the right, and their denial of doing so themselves even when enacting culture war tactics) is the right's greatest weapon. We need to get over the fear and denial of it, and learn to start fighting back on all fronts and with the same weapons and tactics. If we don't then we are screwed.

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  5. I did respond to your Poll and don't really fit with the "Average Response" Demographic. However I am opposed to Rewilding for one main reason, it is a bit of a ridiculous concept on our congested island. The term suggests a hands off, leave it to "Nature" approach, which the uneducated masses probably feel would work well. I am working in this field every day and we get fantastic results, lauded by RSPB et al, but the projects are very carefully managed to achieve the desired outcomes. Knepp Castle is a wonderful project, but no-one shut the gate and watched what happened? There has been a careful management plan in place and some "Wild" processes have been allowed to take precedence, but is not unmanaged. I truly believe that we should be careful with the language we use so that the public are not misled.

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    1. By suggesting our land is too congested, you’re inadvertently making the case for much more rewilding. If we do have limited space, that’s precisely why we should be using it in the most sympathetic way, rather than clinging on to historic management regimes which have lead to our completely impoverished ecosystems. Your anthropocentric viewpoint is precisely why we are one of the most nature depleted countries on earth.

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      1. Holly,

        Unfortunately virtually all that you see as "wild" in the Uk is a result of human interaction which is why "rewilding" in the pure sense of the term is a nonsense.

        Real nature conservation requires careful management in order to achieve the desired results, but don't take my word for it ask some of the organisations that have been successfully involved in conservation for many decades!

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    2. Yes, if you are going to be that literal, that degree of rewilding is impossible here, but what's been achieved at Knepp is a massive step in that direction and is undoubtedly the way forward> The only hope for conservation of a large number of species, not just birds like nightingale and turtle dove.

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    3. Andy - I agree, the term "rewilding" needs to be used carefully and qualified. And in most cases you are going to have to decide what you want to end up with. Even when you've restored a natural wilderness like the flow country you still need to control deer numbers, for example, because we have no large predators. But I don't think our island is too crowded to "re-wild" large areas as I personally interpret the term.

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  6. Mark

    Is it me or have you in this turned a question about “grouse shooting” in your survey into grouping answers by those pro or anti “driven” grouse shooting? As you know, the two are very different beasts. Respondents to questions about grouse shooting might reply very differently to questions about driven grouse shooting. Thank you.

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    1. Robin - you have a point, but not much of one really. Yes the question was about grouse shooting not driven grouse shooting. Yes I labelled the answers proDGS/antiDGS (because they are more familiar to people) but I did explain what the analysis was. If you really thinks it makes any difference then I’d disagree. But as you read down the list you can edit out all the DGS and make them GS in your head - that’s all you have to do. Thanks for your comment.

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      1. Mark - I'm afraid I didn't get round to doing the survey but I would have answered differently to questions about "walked-up and shooting over dogs" and "driven". Just "grouse shooting" would have left me in a quandary. Enjoyed your excellent, very fair paper in BB btw.

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  7. Might also have been interesting to ask pro and anti DGS respondents about their attitude to wild life crime, satellite tagging and brood management vs supplementary feeding of Hen Harriers.

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  8. Well surely a blogger against Grouse shooting could have predicted exactly the results.
    Whereas a pro shooting blogger could predict exactly the opposite.
    Still it filled a gap on the internet.
    Page isn't even working it says.

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    1. Dennis - you sound very grumpy. This blogger against driven grouse shooting did recognise that - see the earlier blog?

      If you mean that the survey isn't working - no, it is closed now.

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  9. Only our island is not congested: there are huge areas of open land not used for agriculture, housing or transport infrastructure. Unfortunately, too much of our land is in the hands of too few, greedy, selfish, usually right-wing people. We need land reform: not right to roam, but no right to own, outside of your home: clearly with exceptions for genuine agriculture (as opposed to the sham agriculture used to siphon off agricultural subsidies by the shooting industry).

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    1. ‘Land reform’ could potentially just lead to a massive expansion of suburbia and consequential ecological depletion.

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