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Mandela most admired campaigner says Christian Aid poll

The United Kingdom rates committed campaigners such as Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King far more highly than celebrities such as Sir Bob Geldof and Angelina Jolie, a new poll from Christian Aid shows.

More than one in five (21 per cent) of those polled chose former South African President Mandela, who spent 27 years in prison for his opposition to apartheid, as the campaigner they most admired.

Martin Luther King, who campaigned for the rights of black people in the United States, was second choice with 14 per cent of those polled. The suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst came third with 12 per cent.

Sir Bob Geldof, rock star and founder of Live Aid, was chosen by six per cent of voters, and actress and Angelina Jolie, who does humanitarian work with refugees, drew two per cent of the vote.

The online poll was commissioned by Christian Aid to highlight the launch of its Transformation project taking place in towns and cities across the UK in September and October. A series of events will show people how to campaign more effectively on issues such as climate change, and global poverty.

‘We wanted to find out who people in the UK most admired when it came to campaigning, which global problem worried them most, and what they would be prepared to do about it. The results were fascinating,’ said Christian Aid campaigns manager Rhian Beynon.

The three biggest concerns of those polled were ‘poverty, hunger and disease’ (31 per cent) ‘war and human conflict’ (29 per cent) and ‘climate change’ (15 per cent).

The United Kingdom is sometimes labelled a nation of moaners, but the poll showed that a large proportion of people are prepared to take action on issues of concern to them.

Some 75 per cent of respondents said they would sign a petition highlighting an issue of importance to them, 65 per cent would vote for a party promising to tackle the issue,  49 per cent would lobby their MP and more than a quarter, 27 per cent,  would go on a demonstration.  Startlingly, more than one in ten (11 per cent) would be willing to break the law in a non-violent way (e.g. trespassing) for a cause that was close to their heart.

Seventy per cent said it was their right to hold the government to account for its decisions. More than half of respondents (54 per cent) felt that the actions of individuals could help change the world. And more than a quarter (27 per cent) agreed that they want to show solidarity with those directly affected by world problems.

More than half (51 per cent) of people polled said they would donate to a charity that aims to tackle the problem of concern to them, while 19 percent of respondents said they regularly support a campaigning charity.

Only 6 per cent of those polled were members of a political party while 13 per cent attended a church or faith group. Trade union membership stood at 17 per cent.

‘It is very encouraging that such a large proportion of people regard poverty, hunger and disease as matters of real importance – rather than just something that happens to people in poor countries,’ said Rhian Beynon.

‘And it is also encouraging that so many are prepared to take action to help tackle issues of importance to them by using their votes and signing petitions.

‘Almost half of those polled, for instance, 49 per cent, said they would consider using their right to write or meet with their MP about issues of concern to them. We now want to reach those in the other 51 per cent who may either lack the confidence, or just don’t know how to set about arranging such a meeting.

‘There is a lesson here for people actively involved in politics,’ she added .‘Churches, faith groups and campaigning charities have the support of more than a third of the population (32 per cent) while political membership in the poll stood at just six percent.

‘Politicians need to listen to the issues that concern people and act accordingly. Sixty five per cent of those polled said they would vote for a party tackling a cause dear to their heart.’

The Transformation events will give people access to decision makers such as MPs and MEPs, and offer participants workshops on how to lobby effectively.

Participants will be asked to take a ‘Countdown to Copenhagen Pledge’, which commits them to campaigning for a fair international deal on climate change.

Their first task will be to campaign on the climate change agreement which governments must finalise in the Danish capital Copenhagen in December 2009.  Christian Aid says the agreement must enshrine the developing world’s right to economic development.

In addition, it should require rich countries, which are overwhelmingly responsible for the climate crisis, to supply the funding and technology that developing countries need for clean development.

For more press information, please call Rhian Beynon on 0207 523 2079/079102 48417 or Andrew Hogg on 0207 523 2058/07872 350534

Notes to Editors:

1) All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1965 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 5th - 7th August 2008.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).The online poll was carried out among 1,965 adults by YouGov Plc. The geographical location of the regional breakdown, and breakdown for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, is based on the government office boundaries.

2) Age differences:

Among the18-24 age group, Martin Luther King (23 per cent) was more admired than Nelson Mandela (17 per cent). The respondents aged 18 -24 were more likely to break the law in a non-violent way (14 per cent) than those 55 and over (10 per cent), while older survey respondents would rather write or email their MP (51 per cent of age group 45-54 and 56 per cent of age group 55 and over) than donate to charity (48 per cent  and 46 per cent respectively).

3) Gender differences:

Women were more likely to be concerned about human suffering than men. Among women, 34 per cent chose poverty, hunger and disease as the biggest problem facing the planet, while only 28 per cent of men did so. More women than men also cited war and conflict as the biggest issue – 31 per cent against 26 per cent. And four per cent of women identified human rights abuses as the biggest problem, compared to three per cent of men.

Seventeen per cent of male respondents identified climate change as the key problem, compared to 14 per cent of women, 15 per cent of men identified rising fuel prices compared to 10 percent of women, and eight per cent of men opted for rising food prices and shortages against four per cent of women. In addition, more women opted for Emmeline Pankhurst (16 per cent) than Martin Luther King (13 per cent) as ‘most admired campaigner’.

4) Regional differences:   

London: Martin Luther King enjoyed more support from London than anywhere else in the UK. Eighteen per cent of those polled regarded him as the campaigner they most admired compared to the poll average of 14 per cent. A greater proportion of Londoners also voted for Burmese democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi (9 per cent) than any other region. The poll average in her case was six per cent.  A greater proportion of people in London regarded climate change as the biggest problem facing the planet (21 per cent) than from elsewhere in the UK. The poll average was 15 per cent.

Londoners proved the least cynical of any group of people from the United Kingdom. Only one per cent, when asked what they would do to support a cause that was important to them, said they would do nothing as ‘the government and big businesses never listen to what people want anyway.’ And they scored highest in wanting to draw attention to issues they were concerned about.

Sixty per cent of London respondents to the survey endorsed the notion that ‘the action of individuals can help change the world’, compared to the poll average of 54 per cent. Thirty one percent agreed that ‘I want to show solidarity with those directly affected by the world’s problems’, compared to the average survey response of 27 per cent. And 27 per cent felt they had a moral duty to highlight the world’s problems, compared to the poll average of 23 per cent. Londoners also scored highest for supporting a campaigning charity – 23 per cent compared to the 19 per cent poll average. And they were the most politically active of those polled, with 11 per cent belonging to a political party, compared to the six per cent poll average.

Transformation event : 13 September, London church.co.uk, 1A Kennington Road, Waterloo, Lambeth, London SE1 7QP. Lunch will be provided. Attendance is free, but Christian Aid invites a donation of £5-10 from each adult attending.

http://www.christianaid.org.uk/getinvolved/events/transformation.aspx

South East:  Sir Bob Geldof as a campaigner has his biggest fan base in the South East, North East and Yorkshire and Humberside. Some nine per cent of people polled in each of the three regions regarded him as the campaigner they most admired, compared to the six percent poll average.  In addition, those in the South East, alongside people in the North East and West Midlands, were most likely to vote for a political party that supported a cause that was important to them. Sixty nine per cent from each of three regions said they would do so, compared to the 65 per cent poll average.

Transformation event : 13 September, London church.co.uk, 1A Kennington Road, Waterloo, Lambeth, London SE1 7QP. Or 27 September, Vineyard Church, Unit 7, Brick Knoll Park, Ashley Road Industrial Estate, St Albans AL1 5UG. Lunch will be provided. Attendance is free, but Christian Aid invites a donation of £5-10 from each adult attending.

http://www.christianaid.org.uk/getinvolved/events/transformation.aspx

South West: The smallest fan base for Sir Bob Geldof as a campaigner is in the South West, where just three per cent of those polled said he was the campaigner they admired most, compared to the six per cent poll average. The same was true for John Bird, founder of the Big Issue, who polled just one per cent of the vote in the South West (and East Midlands) compared to two per cent of all respondents. People surveyed in the South West (and Scotland) were the least concerned in the country about fuel price rises and shortages. Just nine per cent identified these as the biggest problem facing the planet, compared to the 12 percent poll average.  People in the South West are also the least likely in the UK to belong to a trade union – just 11 per cent of those polled said they did so, against a poll average of 17 per cent.

Transformation event : 6 September, Belmont Chapel, Western Way, Exeter

EX1 2DB. Lunch will be provided. Attendance is free, but Christian Aid invites a donation of £5-10 from each adult attending.

http://www.christianaid.org.uk/getinvolved/events/transformation.aspx

East of England:  People in the East of England are the most likely in the UK to make the government pay for its mistakes. Some 78 per cent of those polled said it was their right as a voter to hold the government to account for its decisions, compared to the 70 per cent poll average. More people polled in the East of England (and Scotland) believe food price rises and shortages are the biggest problem facing the planet than anywhere else in the United Kingdom. Some eight per cent in both places said that was the case, compared to the six per cent poll average. Fewer respondents in the East of England saw poverty, hunger and disease as problems than elsewhere – 26 per cent compared to the poll average of 31 per cent.   Nelson Mandela, meanwhile, received more votes from the East of England as the campaigner than anywhere else – 29 per cent against a poll average of 21 per cent. Emmeline Pankhurst also received more support from those polled in the East than anywhere else - 15 per cent compared to an overall survey average of 12 per cent. Conversely, Martin Luther King got the lowest rating in the East of England and Yorkshire and the Humber, 10 per cent against a poll average of 14 per cent.

Transformation event : 27 September, Vineyard Church, Unit 7, Brick Knoll Park, Ashley Road Industrial Estate, St Albans AL1 5UG. Lunch will be provided. Attendance is free, but Christian Aid invites a donation of £5-10 from each adult attending.

http://www.christianaid.org.uk/getinvolved/events/transformation.aspx

East Midlands:  A greater proportion of people surveyed in the East Midlands are prepared to break the law (in a non violent way) to support a cause that is important to them than anywhere else in the country – 16 per cent against a poll average of 11 per cent.  Nelson Mandela, however, received the lowest proportion of ‘most admired campaigner’ votes in the East Midlands and the North East – 17 per cent in both regions compared to the poll average of 21 per cent. Former US Vice President Al Gore, who now campaigns on climate change, meanwhile, attracted no votes whatsoever in the East Midlands (poll average three per cent). 

Transformation event : 4 October, Birmingham and Midland Institute, Margaret Street, Birmingham, B3 3BS. Lunch will be provided. Attendance is free, but Christian Aid invites a donation of £5-10 from each adult attending.

 http://www.christianaid.org.uk/getinvolved/events/transformation.aspx

West Midlands: A greater proportion of people surveyed in the West Midlands believe that human conflict and war are the biggest problem facing the planet that anywhere else in the UK – 34 per cent compared to the poll average of 29 per cent. And a greater proportion of respondents in the West Midlands, the North East and the South East would turn to the democratic process to tackle a problem concerning them than anywhere else in the country. Sixty nine per cent in each region would vote for a party aiming to tackle the problem, compared to a total survey average of 65 per cent.

Transformation event : 4 October, Birmingham and Midland Institute, Margaret Street,

Birmingham, B3 3BS. Lunch will be provided. Attendance is free, but Christian Aid invites a donation of £5-10 from each adult attending.

http://www.christianaid.org.uk/getinvolved/events/transformation.aspx

Yorkshire and Humber: Sir Bob Geldof as a campaigner has his biggest fan base in Yorkshire and Humberside, the South East and North East. Some nine per cent of people polled in each of the three regions regarded him as the campaigner they most admired, compared to the poll average of six per cent Conversely, fewer respondents voted for Martin Luther King than elsewhere in the UK, 10 per cent compared to the poll average of 14 per cent. A lower proportion of respondents said they regularly support a campaigning charity than elsewhere in the UK – 12 per cent against a poll average of 19 per cent, and the region has the lowest proportion of people attending a church or faith group – eight per cent against a poll average of 13 per cent. A smaller proportion of people in the region believe they have a moral duty to highlight world problems than anywhere else in the UK – 17 per cent against a poll average of 23 per cent. The region also had the lowest number of respondents who would sign a petition about a cause that was important to them, 71 per cent compared to the poll average of 75 per cent.

Transformation event : 11 October, St John University, 44 Lord Mayors Walk, Heworth, York, YO31 7EY. 10am-4pm. Lunch will be provided. Attendance is free, but Christian Aid invites a donation of £5-10 from each adult attending.

http://www.christianaid.org.uk/getinvolved/events/transformation.aspx

North West:  A smaller proportion of people in the North West would donate to a charity tackling a problem of concern to them than anywhere else in the UK – 42 per cent compared to a poll average of 51 per cent. The region, together with the North East, East of England, South West and Northern Ireland also has the largest proportion of people polled who would do nothing to support a cause that is important to them because ‘the government and big businesses never listen to what people want anyway.’ Eight per cent voted accordingly in each area, compared to a six per cent poll average.  And a larger proportion of respondents in the North West and East of England chose suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst as the most admired campaigner than anywhere else in the country of those surveyed - 15 per cent in each region against a poll average of 12 per cent. However, a smaller proportion of people in the North West and Northern Ireland chose Aung San Suu Kyi as the most admired campaigner than elsewhere – she polled three per cent in each compared to a poll average of six per cent.

Transformation event : 6 September, University of Cumbria, Wyresdale Rd, Lancaster, LA1 3DY 10am - 4pm. Lunch will be provided. Attendance is free, but Christian Aid invites a donation of £5-10 from each adult attending.

http://www.christianaid.org.uk/getinvolved/events/transformation.aspx

North East:  Nelson Mandela received the least number of ‘most admired campaigner’ votes in the North East and the East Midlands polling 17 per cent in both regions compared to the poll average of 21 per cent. The Dalai Lama received the highest number of votes as most admired campaigner in the North East and Scotland – eight per cent in each compared to a poll average of five per cent. And Angelina Jolie also got the highest score as most admired campaigner in the North East – five per cent against a poll average of two per cent. Sir Bob Geldof as a campaigner also has his biggest fan base in the North East, as well as the South East and Yorkshire and Humberside. Some nine per cent of people polled in each of the three regions regarded him as the campaigner they most admired, compared to the six per cent poll average.  However, people in the North East have a rather pessimistic view of the power of the individual to change the world. Just 41 per cent voted that individuals have that power, compared to the 54 per cent poll average. The region also has the lowest number of respondents in the country wanting to make their voice heard on matters of concern to them - 40 per cent compared to the poll average of 48 per cent. And it also has the smallest proportion of respondents who wanted to ‘show solidarity with those directly affected by world problems’ – 21 per cent compared to a poll average of 27 per cent. It also has the smallest proportion of people surveyed who would go on a demonstration about a cause that was important to them – 20 per cent compared to a poll average of 27 per cent. And together with the North West, East of England, South West and Northern Ireland, it has the largest proportion of respondents who would do nothing about a cause that was important to them because ‘the government and big businesses never listen to what the people want anyway’ – eight per cent in each area against a poll average of six per cent of respondents. A smaller proportion of people in the North East regard food price rises and shortages as the biggest problem facing the world today than anywhere else in the country – one per cent against a poll average of six per cent.

Transformation event : 11 October St John University, 44 Lord Mayors Walk, Heworth, York, YO31 7EY. 10am-4pm. Lunch will be provided. Attendance is free, but Christian Aid invites a donation of £5-10 from each adult attending.

http://www.christianaid.org.uk/getinvolved/events/transformation.aspx  

Wales: Wales has the largest proportion of trade union members in the country, according to the poll – 29 per cent against a poll average of 17 per cent. Only one per cent of Welsh people – the lowest number in the country - regard human rights abuses as the biggest problem facing the world today. The poll average was three per cent. Emmeline Pankhurst the suffragette leader received the least number of votes as ‘most admired campaigner’ in the country – six per cent against a poll average of 12 per cent. However, John Bird, founder of the Big Issue, got four per cent of the vote as ‘most admired campaigner’ – the highest in the country.

Transformation event : 27 September North East Wales Institute, Plas Coch,

Mold Road, Wrexham /Wrecsam, LL11 2AW, Wales, UK. 10am-4pm. Lunch will be provided. Attendance is free, but Christian Aid invites a donation of £5-10 from each adult attending.

http://www.christianaid.org.uk/getinvolved/events/transformation.aspx

 

Scotland: A greater proportion of people in Scotland would go on a demonstration to support a cause important to them than anyone else in the country – 36 per cent compared to a poll average of 27 per cent. And a greater proportion would also bring the issue to the attention of their MP by contacting them via letter or email – 56 per cent of those polled against an overall survey average of 49 per cent. More respondents in Scotland and London believed they have a ‘moral duty to highlight world problems’ than elsewhere in the country. Twenty seven per cent of those polled in both places agreed with that statement, compared to a poll average of 23 per cent. And a greater proportion of respondents in Scotland and the East of England believed that food price rises and shortages is the biggest problem facing the world than anywhere else in the UK – eight per cent of those polled in both places voted accordingly. The poll average was six per cent. Anita Roddick scored the least number of votes in Scotland as ‘most admired campaigner’ – polling just one per cent against a poll average of five per cent. Conversely, the Dalai Lama received the highest number of votes as most admired campaigner from Scotland and the North East – eight per cent in each compared to a five per cent poll average.

Transformation event : 6 September, Dewars Centre, Glover Street, Perth PH2 0TH

10am-4pm. Lunch will be provided. Attendance is free, but Christian Aid invites a donation of £5-10 from each adult attending.

http://www.christianaid.org.uk/getinvolved/events/transformation.aspx

Northern Ireland: According to the poll, Northern Ireland appears to have the lowest proportion of political activists in the country – none of those whose opinions were canvassed said they were members of a political party against a poll average of six per cent. However, it has the largest proportion of people in the UK who said they attended a church or faith group – 34 per cent against a poll average of 13 per cent. And it has the largest proportion of people who would donate to a charity tackling an issue of concern to them – 57 per cent against a poll average of 51 per cent.

People polled in Northern Ireland are the least likely in the UK to make the government pay for its mistakes. Some 64 per cent said that it is their right as a voter to hold the government to account for its decisions, compared to the 70 per cent poll average. However, it had the highest proportion of people wanting to make their voices heard on matters affecting them according to the survey – 58 per cent against the 48 per cent poll average.

It has the lowest proportion of respondents that would vote for a party tackling issues of concern to them – 58 per cent against a poll average of 65 per cent. And it has the lowest proportion of people in the country prepared to break the law in a non-violent way to support a cause important to them – five per cent of respondents compared to the 11 per cent poll average.  It also has the lowest proportion of people who would write to their MP about a matter of concern to them – 31 per cent against the poll average of 49 per cent. And, together with the North West, East of England and South West, it has the largest number of respondents who would do nothing about a cause that was important to them because ‘the government and big businesses never listen to what the people want anyway’ – eight per cent in each area against a poll average of six per cent.

 However, it has the largest proportion of people polled who would sign a petition about matters of concern to them – 80 per cent against a poll average of 75 per cent.

A greater proportion of the population in Northern Ireland regard poverty, hunger and disease as the biggest problem facing the world today than elsewhere in the country - 46 per cent against a poll average of 31 per cent.  And a greater proportion of respondents in Northern Ireland regarded fuel price rises and oil shortages as the biggest problem facing the world today– 24 per cent against a poll average of 12 per cent.  However, a smaller proportion of the population regard human conflict/war as the main problem than else where -15 per cent against a poll average of 29 per cent. And a smaller proportion regard climate change as the main problem – seven per cent against a poll average of 15 per cent. In the ‘most admired campaigner’ category, the Dalai Lama received no votes – the only place in the country where that happened. The poll average was five per cent. Angelina Jolie also received no votes – once again, the lowest score in the UK where the poll average was two per cent. Aung San Suu Kyi also fared badly. In both Northern Ireland and the North West, she received just three per cent of the vote of those surveyed. The poll average was six per cent. However, Anita Roddick, founder of the Body Shop, got the largest proportion of the vote in the UK – 11 per cent against a poll average of five per cent. Al Gore also received the highest vote in the UK – seven per cent against a poll average of three per cent, and Mahatma Gandhi, who campaigned for India’s independence,  also got the highest score of those polled – 16 per cent against a poll average of seven per cent.

Transformation event : 13 September, Grosvenor House Conference and Training Centre,  5 Glengall Street, Belfast BT12 5AD. 10am-4pm. Lunch will be provided. Attendance is free, but Christian Aid invites a donation of £5-10 from each adult attending. http://www.christianaid.org.uk/getinvolved/events/transformation.aspx

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