British Social Attitudes: Exploring today’s attitudes for tomorrow’s election

This year's British Social Attitudes survey explores the public's attitudes in a post-Brexit, post-pandemic society.
  • Event time:
    12th June 2024 10:00 – 11:30
  • Format:

On 12th June, the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) published the results of its latest British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey. For over 40 years, we have been charting people's social, political, and moral attitudes, reporting on what they feel it is like to live in Britain, and examining how well they think the country is run. Britain had experienced unprecedented levels of change and disruption since the last General Election in 2019. The UK had withdrawn from the European Union, suffered a global pandemic, witnessed the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine war, endured the highest level of inflation since the 1970s, lost its longest ever reigning monarch, and been led by three different Prime Ministers.

As the country anticipates another General Election, this year’s British Social Attitudes analysed the impact of these developments on public opinion, assessed whether the contours of public opinion had been fundamentally reshaped, and considered the implications of its findings for the challenge facing the parties at the next election. Had the public’s faith in how they were governed been shaken? Had voters’ expectations of what government should do changed? What now divided Conservative and Labour supporters? Were attitudes to immigration changing and did it remain a polarising issue? And did voters’ perceptions of what it meant to be British now look different from in the past?


  • Natalie Maplethorpe
    Research Director National Centre for Social Research
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    Natalie is a Research Director at NatCen and currently leads the Survey of Londoners and the European Social Survey. She returned to NatCen in 2021 after working for M&C Saatchi World Services and Plan International. In her previous role at NatCen, she managed a number of large-scale quantitative projects including the National Diet and Nutrition Survey and a study of sodium intake in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

    She has a BSc in Psychology from the University of Warwick and a MSc in Social Research Methods from the University of Surrey.

  • Sir John Curtice
    Senior Research Fellow National Centre for Social Research
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    Sir John Curtice is Senior Research Fellow at NatCen, Professor of Politics at Strathclyde University, and Chief Commentator on the What UK Thinks: EU and What Scotland Thinks websites.

    He has been a regular contributor to the annual British Social Attitudes report since 1986 and an editor since 1994. He has also been a Co-Director of the Scottish Social Attitudes survey since its foundation in 1999, and his analyses of Scottish public opinion in the run up to the independence referendum were frequently featured throughout the campaigns.

    In 2018, he received a knighthood in the New Year's Honours list. Sir John is a regular media commentator on both British and Scottish politics. 

  • Rob Ford
    Professor of Political Science University of Manchester
    Robert Ford is Professor of Political Science at the University of Manchester and Senior Fellow at the UK in a Changing Europe. His research focuses on public opinion, electoral behaviour and political choice. He is the author or editor of a number of books including "Brexitland", "The British General Election of 2019" and "Sex, Lies and Politics"
  • Sunder Katwala
    Director British Future
    Sunder Katwala is the Director of British Future. He has previously worked as a journalist. He was General Secretary of the Fabian Society think tank from 2003 to 2011, and was previously a leader writer and internet editor at the Observer, a Research Director of the Foreign Policy Centre and commissioning editor for politics and economics at the publisher Macmillan. He celebrated his 10th wedding anniversary with his wife, Stacy, in 2011, and is the proud father of four children, Zarina, Jay, Sonny and Indira. His support for Everton and Southend United football clubs reflects an upbringing in Cheshire and Essex, though he was born in Doncaster, Yorkshire, to parents who came to Britain from India and Ireland, to work for the NHS.
  • Paula Surridge
    Professor of Political Sociology University of Bristol
    Paula Surridge is Professor of Political Sociology at the University of Bristol and Deputy Director at UK in a Changing Europe. She has been studying the British Electorate for thirty years, using the British Social Attitudes surveys extensively in her work. Her research focusses on social and political values and political behaviour. She is co-author of the ‘British General Election of 2019’, published by Palgrave.


  • Gillian Prior
    Deputy Chief Executive National Centre for Social Research
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    As well as the Deputy Chief Executive at the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen), Gillian is Director of NatCen's Social Surveys Department.

    Gillian leads a large team of researchers, data specialists and operational staff, including NatCen’s interviewers and biomedical fieldworkers. She oversees the design, management and delivery of NatCen’s portfolio of social surveys in a wide range of policy areas, covering housing, education, health and transport. She also has oversight of the Scottish Centre for Social Research (ScotCen), and our award-winning NatCen Opinion Panel.

    Gillian has spent her career in applied social research and has over 25 years’ experience of managing social surveys and leading research teams. She regularly appears in the national press and broadcast media, talking about social trends. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and a trustee of the Social Research Association.