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Last Updated: Friday, 11 May 2007, 10:25 GMT 11:25 UK
Things can only get better..?
Montage of images: surgeons, money, wind farm, man in handcuffs

The electorate do not believe that "things have only got better" in the 10 years of Labour rule, according to a specially commissioned survey on public perceptions of life in Britain.

The BBC One Politics Show commissioned a balanced survey of 4,000 adults across Britain during April and May 2007, through ICM Research, to uncover public perceptions on a number of issues affecting society today. These included public services, prosperity, the environment and crime.

The questions were not about Tony Blair - they did not even mention his name - they were about the way the country has changed in the last decade.

On public services...

Pie chart

Across the country, 27% of people thought schools and hospitals had improved during that time, but 34% thought they had stayed the same and 36% thought they had become worse - despite huge increases in government spending.

But, interestingly, there were sizable regional divisions.

On schools and hospitals, respondents in the North East narrowly felt things had improved: 33% to 30%.

In the South/South East it was massively negative: 22% thought they had improved and 40% thought they had become worse.

On prosperity...

Pie chart

Voters were asked whether people were better off.

On the whole, the people who thought prosperity had increased (38%) outnumbered those who thought things had become worse (30%) but again there were regional variations.

In London, it was only 34% positive to 34% negative, even though London is, by some margin, the richest per capita.

The most positive region was Scotland (45% to 25%).

On the environment...

Pie chart

We asked people about the environment - things like housing, shops, roads and countryside.

Across the country, as a whole, people were evenly divided as to whether things had become better or worse: 31% thought things were in better shape, 38% about the same, and 30% worse.

But again, that masked huge variations.

The North East was heavily positive (37% to 24%), while the West/South West was overwhelmingly negative (26% to 37%).

Every region, from the Midlands north, had a net positive score, and every southern region was negative.

And crime...

Pie chart

Although politicians argue constantly about crime figures, most agree that, by any measure, the headline figure for the total number of crimes committed has fallen sharply since the mid 1990s.

But that is not the perception of voters in our poll.

Overwhelming majorities of voters in every region believe crime and antisocial behaviour have become worse in the last 10 years.

Only 11% thought things had improved, 31% stayed the same and 56% thought crime and antisocial behaviour had become worse - and those figures were almost uniform across every region.


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The Politics Show Sunday 13 May 2007 at 12:00 BST on BBC One.

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