Politics & Social Attitudes

Political and social attitudes in the UK are changing. Recent referendum results highlighted divided views on European Union membership and Scottish independence. Understanding Society can be used to investigate the evolving political and social landscape. 

Questionnaire Grid

Understanding Society has many questions that related to political and social attitudes. The following grid highlights which qustions we ask, what types of information is included, and how often the questions are included. Some questions are answered by adults (aged 16 and over), whilst others are answered by children aged 10-15. 



How often asked?

Broad content

Data on adults    



Political party support, voting intentions, interest in politics

Identity (self completion)

Three yearly

Importance of domains (such as profession, political beliefs and age) on sense of self




Wave 1 and 6

Wave 3, ethnicity strand only

Importance of being/feeling British

Political engagement


Waves 2 and 3, ethnicity strand only

Wave 6

Voting intentions, importance of voting, value of voting

General election

Waves 2 and 7

Whether voted, which party voted for

Political efficacy

Three yearly

Feeling informed or qualified to discuss politics, feelings about government institutions 

News and media use

Three yearly

News sources and preferences, newspaper readership, hours spent watching television

Gender attitudes (self-completion)

Waves 2 and 4

Views on men and women’s roles in family life

Religious practice

Wave 4, ethnicity strand only

Effect of religion on everyday life decisions


Wave 1(or panel entry)

Current religion, childhood religion, religious practice

Data on children aged 10-15


Two yearly

Own religion

Political attitudes

Two yearly (from Wave 3)

Political party would vote for, interest in politics