A series of polls conducted in the
First up, ICM interviewed a random sample of 1002 adults aged 18+, by telephone between
The question asked: “The government has proposed the introduction of identity cards that, in combination with your passport, will cost around £93. From what you have seen or heard do you think that this proposal is a:
The poll shows that 52% are in favour of ID cards and 46% are against. Commenting on the results, editor of Security Document World, Mark Lockie said: “Bearing in mind the vocal anti-ID card campaign, the generally negative opinions voiced in the mainstream press, and opposition by Conservative and Liberal Democrats, the Government will probably be feeling quietly pleased that the results were not much worse. The bottom line is that the sustained barrage of anti ID card publicity has only managed to sway opinion by 20-30%, showing that there is still core support for the idea. The Government will not want support to slip further, but setting aside the issues of costs, technical feasibility and privacy, it is clear that people’s gut feeling towards the principal concept of ID cards is still positive, which is unsurprising in light of today’s increasingly vulnerable society.”
Another poll conducted by YouGov for The Daily Telegraph newspaper also showed that a majority of people back the plans. The newspaper’s article commented: “People doubt whether cards will materially assist in the war on terror and clearly think that a national scheme will be shot full of holes. Yet a small majority, 52% persist in saying that the cards should be brought in.”
In both instances, the polls show that support is lower than the 80% often claimed by Government Ministers. However, as one commentator pointed out to SDW, a poll demonstrates public sentiment only as a snapshot in time. The timing of the polls in this instance is following a sustained war of words against ID cards, making the downswing in support less surprising, and one that could easily reverse.
The YouGov poll found that two thirds of people believe cards will reduce benefit fraud and "health tourism", while a similar majority believe that cards will make it easier for the authorities to catch bogus asylum seekers and those attempting to avoid deportation.
Opinion was split on whether ID cards would make it easier for police to catch criminals and there was also an almost equal division on whether having cards will make people’s lives more convenient.
Only 21% of people believed cards would reduce the chances of further terrorist atrocities, the YouGov poll showed.