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
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
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
The telephone survey was conducted among 995 adults as part of NOP’s
Weekend Telebus on 8 to 10 March.