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National Assembly for Wales: Public Attitudes 2008

6. Conclusions

What does this research tell us about the attitudes of people in Wales towards devolution, their levels of interest in and knowledge of the National Assembly, and the sources of their information about it?

A general picture of a Mr/Mrs/Ms Average drawn from the data would suggest that such a person could be characterised in the following manner:

  • He/She is likely to be broadly in favour of devolution.

  • He/She is likely to have some knowledge of the basic parameters of the devolution settlement under which Wales is now governed, but except for on a matter like Education where it has a direct impact on them, knows much less about the details of devolution. In particular, they will likely have little understanding of the distinction between the National Assembly and the Welsh Assembly Government: an executive/legislative distinction that is fairly fundamental to an understanding of any political system.

  • He/She is likely to have some interest in learning more about the National Assembly, but not so much interest that they are likely to go much out of their way to do so.

  • Finally, he/she is most likely to find out about politics in general, and the National Assembly in particular through TV news. However, they will also be quite likely to draw on a variety of other sources of information, including local papers, and a variety of radio stations, in learning about politics.

This mythical Mr/Mrs/Ms Average, in the characteristics outlined here, differs little whether based in any of the different regions of Wales. However, differences across age groups are more marked. A younger version of this person would be probably more enthusiastic about self-government for Wales, but less well-informed about politics, and less interested. This younger person would also be more likely to use new media and commercial radio as sources of information about politics. An older equivalent is more cautious about devolution, but generally more interested in politics and more knowledgeable, drawing their information to a greater extent from TV News and BBC radio.

The findings outlined here provide the Assembly Commission with a valuable, informative, baseline understanding of how the Assembly is perceived and understood by various age groups in geographically defined areas of Wales. It suggests that by tailoring its communications activity appropriately, it should be possible to increase the Welsh electorate’s interest and understanding of the relevance and impact of the Assembly and devolution on their lives.  This is a task we know to be at the very heart of the Assembly Commission’s strategy for the coming years

Other Sections

Executive Summary

1. Scope of the Research

2. Conduct of the Survey

3. Public Attitudes towards the National Assembly and Devolution

4. Levels of Public Interest in, and Knowledge of, the National Assembly and Devolution

5. Sources of Public Knowledge and Information

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