The desire to fight a “culture war” is the preserve of a small group on the political extremes that does not represent most British voters, according to a major new project on political polarisation in the UK.
A disproportionate amount of political comment on social media is generated by small, politically driven groups, according to the analysis. It found that there was actually widespread agreement in the UK over topics such as gender equality and climate change – often seen as culture war issues.
The findings come from a study that attempted to map the mood of the country before and during the Covid-19 pandemic by the More in Common thinktank founded after the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox. Based on a 10,000-strong political polling panel, academic interviews and focus groups over an 18-month period, the report split British voters into seven distinct “tribes”, based on their core beliefs.
It states that 12% of voters accounted for 50% of all social-media and Twitter users – and are six times as active on social media as are other sections of the population. The two “tribes” most oriented towards politics, labelled “progressive activists” and “backbone Conservatives”, were least likely to agree with the need for compromise. However, two-thirds of respondents who identify with either the centre, centre-left or centre-right strongly prefer compromise over conflict, by a margin of three to one.