Swampy and co fail to change public opinion

Anti-road protesters Swampy and Animal may be winning the battle for hearts but they are failing to change any minds, according to exclusive research commissioned by PR Week from NOP.

Anti-road protesters Swampy and Animal may be winning the battle

for hearts but they are failing to change any minds, according to

exclusive research commissioned by PR Week from NOP.



The survey found that 82 per cent of adults were familiar with the

activities of the protesters who hit the headlines in January when they

dug tunnels to halt the building of the A30 in Devon. Of these, 59 per

cent said they thought the protesters were doing a good job of raising

awareness of the environmental arguments against building more

roads.



However, 71 per cent said the publicity had not altered their view on

road building. A mere 21 per cent said they were now less in favour of

building more roads and seven per cent said they were now more in

favour.



Yet the protesters do seem to have evoked considerable sympathy for

their actions. On whether this kind of direct action is a legitimate

tactic for pressure groups to employ, opinion was more evenly split with

45 per cent in favour to 50 per cent against.



The results appear to show that while protesters are failing to shift

public opinion, they are achieving high levels of awareness and public

sympathy.



The telephone survey was conducted among 995 adults as part of NOP’s

Weekend Telebus on 8 to 10 March.



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