The poor old Indie runs a piece this morning following research by the Royal Statistical Society and KCL that 'proves' that the public is 'wrong' on a whole range of social issues; for instance "Benefit fraud: the public think that £24 of every £100 of benefits is fraudulently claimed. Official estimates are that just 70 pence in every £100 is fraudulent - so the public conception is out by a factor of 34."
To a point, Lord Copper. It depends how you define 'fraudulently' - the researchers interpreting it in the strictest sense, whilst the public no doubt including 'undeservingly' in their definition. And the public's view that one-in-four on the dole needn't be is probably more accurate. Nil points, KCL.
Likewise 'Teen pregnancy' - the public figure almost certainly includes single mums in their early twenties who may have been older than 19 when they gave birth but are included in the generic cohort . And immigration. And crime.
In fact, all that Hetan Shah's little exercise proves is that on a sensible definition of social issues the crowd one again has the wisdom whilst the officious office-holder is exposed as a nitpicking disingenuist. No doubt there is research that 'proves' that only 0.87% of them actually are ....