i Editor's Letter: i readers views

 

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The Independent Online

 

I approach statistics warily, remembering that cautionary truism about people using them as a drunk uses a lamppost, for support and not illumination. There isn’t time for a poll before deciding on the front page. No focus group will help you to make editorial judgements under pressure. (I sat on the other side of the one-way mirror at a focus group for The Independent some years ago. Asked which qualities they attached to the title, the subjects tucked into the crisps and warm white wine, before all gathering around the same answer: “Mm, yes… independence”.)

Fortunately, we already hear from many of you about the specific things you enjoy and dislike. You may remember that we also recently set up a readers panel, indyViews, allowing you to answer an editorial questionnaire online every three months, should you wish. About 1,500 readers signed up; 1,000 took part in the first survey. The results are in. (We weighted them slightly to reflect the wider i readership’s breakdown by gender, age, internet usage and so on.)

Back to that 93 per cent who are interested in politics, then. Based on your daily correspondence, this is obviously not support for Westminster, but interest in politics with a small “p” – for political issues that shape Britain and the world around us.

Asked what they think are the most important issues facing Britain today, the i readers said: living standards and poverty (87 per cent of respondents), the NHS (63 per cent), the economy (58 per cent), unemployment (50 per cent), education (50 per cent), immigration/race relations (39 per cent), housing (35 per cent) and pensions (34 per cent). Crime, roads and public transport were all lower.

This prompted plenty of debate among our editorial team. We’re already drafting questions for the next indyViews survey, which will go live at the end of May. Feel free to make suggestions via i@independent.co.uk, and you can join the panel at  indyViews.org.

Lastly, here’s a stat for Messrs Cameron, Miliband, Clegg, Farage, Salmond and the Greens’ Natalie Bennett: one-third of i readers surveyed said they have yet to decide who to vote for next year. Game on.

Twitter.com: @olyduff

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