Publication - Statistics

Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 2017: attitudes data

Published: 26 Jun 2018
Directorate:
Constitution and Cabinet Directorate
ISBN:
9781788519694

This survey provides an important source of data on attitudes to government, the economy and public services over this period.

Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 2017: attitudes data
1. Trust in government

1. Trust in government

The Scottish Social Attitudes ( SSA) Survey 2017 asked participants questions about trust in government:

  • Trust in government (Scottish and UK) to work in Scotland's best interests
  • Trust in government (Scottish, UK and local) to make fair decisions
  • How good government (Scottish, UK and local) is at listening before taking decisions

In this chapter we present headline findings at a glance, and highlight statistically significant differences in views between different groups in the population.

How much do you trust the government to work in Scotland's best interests?

In 2017, 61% of people said they trusted the Scottish Government 'just about always' or 'most of the time' to work in Scotland's best interests. This compared with 65% in 2016 ( Figure 1). 37% of people trusted the Scottish Government 'only some of the time' or 'almost never'.

The proportion of people who said they trusted the UK Government 'just about always' or 'most of the time' to work in Scotland's best interests was 20% in 2017. This compared with 25% in 2016 ( Figure 1). 78% of people trusted the UK Government 'only some of the time' or 'almost never'.

Since these questions were first asked in the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey, levels of trust in the Scottish Government to work in Scotland's best interests have been consistently higher than those in the UK Government. In 2017 there was a 41 percentage point gap between the proportion of people trusting the Scottish Government and the proportion of people trusting the UK Government to work in Scotland's best interests. The size of this gap is similar to that in 2016.

Figure 1 How much do you trust the Scottish and UK Governments to work in Scotland's best interests? (1999-2017, % trust 'just about always' / 'most of the time') [4][5]
Figure 1 How much do you trust the Scottish and UK Governments to work in Scotland's best interests? (1999-2017, % trust 'just about always' / 'most of the time')

Variations in attitudes between subgroups

Levels of trust in the Scottish and UK Governments to work in Scotland's best interests varied between a number of social groups, based on statistical significance, and are listed here. Variables with no statistically significant differences are listed in Annex A.

61% trusted the Scottish Government to work in Scotland's best interests 'just about always' or 'most of the time'. This varied by subgroup as follows [6] :

Trust in the Scottish Government to work in Scotland's best interests 'just about always' or 'most of the time'.

Subgroups %
Political affiliation
SNP supporter 81
Other 51
Age
16-24 77
25-39 70
40-64 60
65+ 46
Interest in politics
Any interest in politics 64
'No interest at all' in politics 41
Economic Activity
Education or full time training 86
In work or waiting to take up work 65
Unemployed 53
Retired 50
Support for a political party
Supported or felt close to a political party 66
Didn't feel close to a particular party 53
Educational Qualification
Degree or equivalent 76
No formal qualifications 56
National identity
More Scottish than British 66
Equally Scottish and British 48
More British than Scottish 56
Tenure
Home owners 60
Private renters 73
Social renters 55
Main Income Source
Wages or private income 64
State benefits 48
Sex
Female 56
Male 67

20% trusted the UK Government to work in Scotland's best interests 'just about always' or 'most of the time'. This varied by subgroup as follows [7] :

Trust in the UK Government to work in Scotland's best interests 'just about always' or 'most of the time'.

Subgroups %
Age
16-24 26
25-39 18
40-64 17
65+ 26
Support for a political party
Supported or felt close to a political party 20
Didn't feel close to a particular party 21
Political affiliation
SNP supporter 6
Other 28
Interest in politics
Any interest in politics 20
'No interest at all' in politics 22
National identity
More Scottish than British 12
Equally Scottish and British 27
More British than Scottish 46
Religious Identity
Religious 26
Non-religious 16
Political Spectrum
Right 51
Left 14
Urban-Rural
Urban 19
Rural 29

How much do you trust the government to make fair decisions?

In 2017, 37% of people trusted the Scottish Government 'a great deal' or 'quite a lot' to make fair decisions. This compared with 40% in 2016 ( Figure 2). 19% trusted the Scottish Government 'not very much' or 'not at all' to make fair decisions.

The proportion of people who trusted the UK Government 'a great deal' or 'quite a lot' to make fair decisions was 16%. This compared with 18% in both 2016 and 2015 ( Figure 2). 46% trusted the UK Government 'not very much' or 'not at all' to make fair decisions.

Around one quarter of people (26%) trusted their local council to make fair decisions in 2017. This compared with 32% in 2016 and 34% in 2015 [8] ( Figure 2). 26% trusted their local council 'not very much' or 'not at all' to make fair decisions.

People were more than twice as likely to trust the Scottish Government to make fair decisions compared to the UK Government. Trust in the Scottish Government to make fair decisions has been consistently higher than trust in the UK Government since this question was first asked in 2006.

Figure 2 How much do you trust the Scottish Government, UK Government and Local Council to make fair decisions? (2006-2017, % trust 'a great deal' / 'quite a lot') [9]
Figure 2 How much do you trust the Scottish Government, UK Government and Local Council to make fair decisions? (2006-2017, % trust 'a great deal' / 'quite a lot')

Variations in attitudes between subgroups

Levels of trust in the Scottish Government, UK Government and Local Councils to make fair decisions varied between a number of social groups, based on statistical significance, and are listed here. Variables with no statistically significant differences are listed in Annex A.

37% trusted the Scottish Government to make fair decisions 'a great deal' or 'quite a lot'. This varied by subgroup as follows [10] :

Trust in the Scottish Government to make fair decisions ''a great deal' or 'quite a lot'.

Subgroups %
Political affiliation
SNP supporter 52
Other 29
Interest in politics
Any interest in politics 38
'No interest at all' in politics 27
Economic Activity
Education or full time training 53
In work or waiting to take up work 39
Unemployed 20
Retired 32
Age
16-24 43
25-39 42
40-64 37
65+ 28
Support for a political party
Supported or felt close to a political party 39
Didn't feel close to a particular party 34
Educational Qualification
Degree or equivalent 44
No formal qualifications 35
Political Spectrum
Right 25
Left 37
Main Income Source
Wages or private income 39
State benefits 29
Sex
Female 32
Male 42

16% trusted the UK Government to make fair decisions 'a great deal' or 'quite a lot'. This varied by subgroup as follows [11] :

Trust in the UK Government to make fair decisions ''a great deal' or 'quite a lot'.

Subgroups %
Political Spectrum
Right 46
Left 12
National identity
More Scottish than British 11
Equally Scottish and British 21
More British than Scottish 28
Interest in politics
Any interest in politics 17
'No interest at all' in politics 7
Political affiliation
SNP supporter 11
Other 19
Economic Activity
Education or full time training 34
In work or waiting to take up work 14
Unemployed 7
Retired 17
Living Comfortably
Living comfortably on present income 18
Struggling on their present income 12
Support for a political party
Supported or felt close to a political party 15
Didn't feel close to a particular party 18
Religious Identity
Religious 20
Non-religious 13

26% trusted their local council to make fair decisions 'a great deal' or 'quite a lot'. This varied by subgroup as follows [12] :

Trust in your Local Council to make fair decisions ''a great deal' or 'quite a lot'.

Subgroups %
Economic Activity
Education or full time training 47
In work or waiting to take up work 24
Unemployed 15
Retired 27
Interest in politics
Any interest in politics 28
'No interest at all' in politics 12
Main Income Source
Wages or private income 28
State benefits 20
Age
16-24 38
25-39 26
40-64 23
65+ 27
Living Comfortably
Living comfortably on present income 28
Struggling on their present income 21
Educational Qualification
Degree or equivalent 31
No formal qualifications 25
Political Spectrum
Right 36
Left 24
Tenure
Home owners 26
Private renters 30
Social renters 24
SIMD Quintiles
Least Deprived 26
2 32
3 26
4 25
Most Deprived 22

How good is the government at listening before taking decisions?

Almost half (47%) of people said the Scottish Government was 'very good' or 'quite good' at listening to people's views before taking decisions in 2017. This compared with 54% in 2016 ( Figure 3). 48% of people said the Scottish Government was 'not very good' or 'not at all good'.

The percentage of people who said the UK Government was 'very' or 'quite' good at listening to people's views before taking decisions to people's views before taking decisions was 16% in 2017. This compared with 20% in 2016 ( Figure 3). 79% of people said the UK Government was 'not very good' or 'not at all good'.

In 2017, 41% of people said their local council was good at listening to people's views before taking decisions. This compared with 44% in both 2016 and 2015 ( Figure 3). 44% of people said their local council was 'not very good' or 'not at all good'.

Figure 3 shows the percentage of people saying that the SG is good or very good at listening to people's views before taking decisions since the question was first asked in 2004. It shows that, although this has varied over time, the percentage saying this is higher in 2017 than in 2004. Attitudes to how the UK Government is at listening to people's views before taking decisions have remained stable over time. Since 2004, between 15% and 22% of people have considered the UK Government to be good at listening.

Figure 3 In general how good would you say the Scottish Government, UK Government and your Local Council is at listening to people's views before taking decisions? (2004-2017, % 'very good' / 'quite good')
Figure 3 In general how good would you say the Scottish Government, UK Government and your Local Council is at listening to people's views before taking decisions? (2004-2017, % 'very good' / 'quite good')

Variations in attitudes between subgroups

Views on whether the Scottish Government, UK Government and Local Councils were good at listening before taking decisions varied between a number of social groups, based on statistical significance. These are listed here. Variables with no statistically significant differences are listed in Annex A.

47% said the Scottish Government was 'very' or 'quite' good at listening to people's views before taking decisions. This varied by subgroup as follows [13] :

The Scottish Government was 'very' or 'quite' good at listening to people's views before taking decisions.

Subgroups %
Political affiliation
SNP supporter 69
Other 36
Age
16-24 56
25-39 57
40-64 47
65+ 34
Support for a political party
Supported or felt close to a political party 52
Didn't feel close to a particular party 39
Interest in politics
Any interest in politics 49
'No interest at all' in politics 33
Economic Activity
Education or full time training 69
In work or waiting to take up work 50
Unemployed 40
Retired 37
Main Income Source
Wages or private income 50
State benefits 36
Political Spectrum
Right 30
Left 50
National identity
More Scottish than British 52
Equally Scottish and British 37
More British than Scottish 40
Tenure
Home owners 46
Private renters 58
Social renters 44
Educational Qualification
Degree or equivalent 56
No formal qualifications 44

16% said the UK Government was 'very' or 'quite' good at listening to people's views before taking decisions. This varied by subgroup as follows [14] :

The UK Government was 'very' or 'quite' good at listening to people's views before taking decisions.

Subgroups %
Political Spectrum
Right 30
Left 11
Support for a political party
Supported or felt close to a political party 14
Didn't feel close to a particular party 21
Interest in politics
Any interest in politics 22
'No interest at all' in politics 16
Age
16-24 28
25-39 16
40-64 13
65+ 15
Economic Activity
Education or full time training 33
In work or waiting to take up work 13
Unemployed 18
Retired 13
Political affiliation
SNP supporter 13
Other 18
Children in Household
No children 17
With children 15

41% said their local council was 'very' or 'quite' good at listening to people's views before taking decisions. This varied by subgroup as follows [15] :

Local Councils were 'very' or 'quite' good at listening to people's views before taking decisions.

Subgroups %
Interest in politics
Any interest in politics 43
'No interest at all' in politics 22
Political Spectrum
Right 49
Left 37
Age
16-24 52
25-39 40
40-64 38
65+ 40
Economic Activity
Education or full time training 56
In work or waiting to take up work 40
Unemployed 31
Retired 40
Main Income Source
Wages or private income 43
State benefits 33
Living Comfortably
Living comfortably on present income 45
Struggling on their present income 39
Support for a political party
Supported or felt close to a political party 43
Didn't feel close to a particular party 38

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