Different people hold different views on issues related to what is increasingly described as a UK “culture war”. There are patterns to these differences which can be used to identify distinct groups within the population and build a picture of the types of individuals engaged (or not) in the culture war debate.

The Policy Institute has used a technique called latent class analysis, drawing on a major survey of 2,834 people in the UK conducted by Ipsos MORI on their random probability “KnowledgePanel”.

The key distinguishing features of the four groups are their attitudes towards expanding the rights of traditionally marginalised groups, and their pride in the UK and nostalgia for its history. Views on free speech and political correctness separate the most progressive group from the other three. Demographically, education and gender are important, with only one group majority male.

The four groups that the report outlines are as follows:

Moderates (32%) – Support greater rights for women and ethnic minorities – but less strongly than Progressives. Agree political correctness gone too far, yet not nostalgic for past nor proud of empire. This groups demographic make-up includes 33% aged 35-54 and 38% aged 55 or over. 53% of this group are female. This group is politically diverse compared to the others with 38% Conservative, 33% Labour, and 26% supporting other parties with 63% of this group supporting remain. This group is 12% ethnic minority, which is broadly in line with the 11% in the sample as a whole.

Traditionalists (26%) – Oldest and most heavily male group. Most nostalgic for country’s past and proud of British empire. 97% think political correctness gone too far, and most likely to feel UK has done enough on equal rights for historically marginalised groups. The demographics that define this group are 61% male with 56% aged 55 or older. 59% of this group support the Conservatives with 78% of the group identifying as Leavers. This group is 5% ethnic minority which is lower than the 11% in the sample as a whole.

Progressives (23%) – Youngest group, with highest education level. Most likely to think women’s rights, ethnic minority rights and trans rights not gone far enough. Most likely to be ashamed of British empire, and most in favour of political correctness. The demographics that define this group are 45% aged 34 or younger with 55% of the group female. Almost 50% have university degrees, the highest share of all the groups. 46% of the group support Labour and 41% supporting a third party. 94% of the group identify as Remain. This group is 12% ethnic minority similar to the 11% in the sample as a whole.

The Disengaged (18%) – Stand out for neutrality on politics and Brexit. Least likely to take a position on equal rights for women and ethnic minorities, and least likely to take stance on culture war issues. The demographics of this group are 40% aged 35 to 54 with the highest proportion of women with 58%. Lowest rate of home ownership (63%), and highest rate of social housing (17%). This group stands out due to their neutrality on politics and Brexit with 44% ‘don’t support any party’, and 37% don’t think of themselves as Leavers or Remainers. Those who do support a party are more like to support the Conservatives (28%) than Labour (16%). This group is 12% ethnic minority making it close to the 11% in the sample as a whole.

by Rebecca Benson and Bobby Duffy, The Policy Institute Kings College London

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