“No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise,” said Winston Churchill. “Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”
But oh dear, the public. The gap between their perceptions and reality makes you shudder, as shown by pollster Ipsos-Mori in its end-of-year review. How many lone parents do you think there are out of every 100 people in Britain? The public’s mean estimate in a poll of 1,000 people is 28. The correct answer is three.
Similarly, the public thinks that 22 per cent of people are Muslim (in reality 5 per cent); that 22 per cent are unemployed (actually 8 per cent); that 30 per cent are black or Asian (11 per cent); that 36 per cent are aged 65-plus (16 per cent); and that 34 per cent are Christian (59 per cent).