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UnHerd Values Survey

A survey of British adults and a survey of US adults on behalf of UnHerd on political, religious, and social values.

Global threats

  • Equal proportions of British and American adults (80%) say that terrorists are the most dangerous force in the world today.
  • Beyond this, however, the two countries perceive global threats today quite differently.
  • One of the most striking differences overall is that religious leaders are seen as the second most significant threat by Britons (31%) but far less so by Americans (14%).


  • While Americans are more evenly split on whether or not more Christianity is needed in their nation’s life, there is a very clear age divide in British opinions on the issue.
  • 59% of British 18-34 year olds say that less Christianity is needed in their nation’s life, compared to only 26% of those aged 65+.
  • This trend is absent in the US, where similar proportions of 18-34 year olds and those aged over 65 say that less Christianity is needed in American life (53% v 54%).
  • It is notable that a far higher proportion of older Americans than Brits think less Christianity is needed in their nation’s life.

Political ideology

  • Older Americans are significantly more likely than younger Americans to consider political ideology dangerous: 34% of those aged 65+ say that right-wing pundits, politicians and donors are dangerous in the world today compared to only 14% of 18-34 year olds.
  • On left-wing unions, politicians and campaigners, 22% of those aged 65+ say they are dangerous in the world today, compared to 12% of 18-34 year olds.
  • However, this trend is only partially reflected in Great Britain, where those aged 65+ are significantly more likely to see left wing unions, politicians and campaigners as dangerous than those aged 18-34 (27% v 10%).
  • Conversely, 18-34 year olds see the right wing in the same light, with a fifth (21%) saying they are dangerous compared to one in nine (11%) of those aged 65+.

Freedom v Equality

  • The generational split which was clear in the General Election of 2017 is also evident in British adults’ attitudes to freedom – but far less so in the US.
  • British 18-34 year olds are significantly more likely than those aged 65+ to say that equality is more important than freedom (40% v 13%).
  • It is important to note however that most young Britons still count freedom as more important than equality (60% of 18-34 year olds say this).


  • There is also a generational split over the main causes of crime.
  • In Britain, 18-24s are split evenly (49% to 51%) over whether crime is mainly due to ‘unfair and unequal social conditions’ or ‘bad moral choices by individual people’, whereas the split among 65+ is 19% to 81% respectively.
  • Among Americans there is no significant difference between those age groups.

Loving home v Good school

  • Another area where there is difference across the Atlantic is in respect of whether a loving home or good school is more important for a child’s future.
  • There is again no significant difference across age groups among either the American or British public although, while Americans are split evenly over this question, a loving home is seen as being overwhelmingly more important by Brits by a ratio of around nine to one.

Role of country abroad

  • Although in both Britain and the US there are generational differences in how the public see the role of their country abroad, generational opinion points in different directions when comparing the two countries.
  • In Britain, young people are more likely than older people to say that Britain usually does harm when it acts abroad (53% of 18-34 year olds vs 31% of those aged 65+).
  • In the US, however, young people are more likely to say that America does good when it acts abroad than the old (52% of 18-34 year olds vs 47% of those aged 65+).

Date Published: 05/09/2017

Categories: Faith | GB | Politics | Public and communities | Social

Client: UnHerd


ComRes interviewed 2,059 GB adults online between 7th and 8th August 2017 and 1,011 US adults online between 7th and 9th August 2017. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of all adults in both countries by age, gender and region.

  1. UnHerd-Values-Survey-UK-Data-Tables 0.02 MB.
  2. UnHerd-Values-Survey-USA-Data-Tables 0.02 MB.

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