At the end of last year The List carried a readership survey, hoping to find out more about you and your opinions. We were inundated with replies. Many thanks to all who took the time and effort to return the form— here is the digest of what you said. The winners of the free film passes are pictured on the Competitions Page. Meanwhile, we welcome all letters and opinions from readers, so keep them coming.

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Well, we’ve waded through your completed reader survey questionnaires and can report that, as many of you complained in the miniscule space at the bottom of the form, the ink rubs off on your fingers. We have also emerged with an idea of the make-up of The List readership, its likes and dislikes, political orientation and leisure activities. Some people possessing this information might say that you’re a bunch of leftie alcoholic yuppies, but we prefer to think of you as caring and vivacious.

The largest single age group amongst readers is 18—24, though more than half of you are over 25. You are overwhelmingly single and childless, and a large proportion of you own your own homes. You go to the cinema often, the theatre, art galleries and concerts slightly less so, but still much more than the average amongst the population as a whole. Your most popular leisure activity, however, seems to be consuming vast amounts of alcohol: 63% of readers go to the pub more than once a week, and at least one reader appears to have been too pissed to fill in the reverse side of the questionnaire.

Over 20% of readers are students, and most of the rest are either in paid

employment or are house-persons, though 5.2% are unemployed. Of those readers who told us their profession, the largest single group were involved in teaching at one level or another of education (7.8%), the next largest in technical or scientific professions (6.5%), and the third largest is engaged in some managerial capacity (6.2%).

36% of readers felt that they had been discriminated against in the workplace, and the most frequent complaint was of sexual discrimination, about a quarter of these coming from men. Other reports were of racial discrimination and discrimination on the grounds of political beliefs, the most minutely described of these being ‘non-establishment views: nationalist, Gael, knowledge of and admiration for European life.’ Somebody else had been victimised for ‘not liking football’, and more than one person felt that they had been mistreated because of their height.

The Poll Tax got a decisive thumbs-down in the Survey, with only 20% of readers saying that they approved of it, and some of these were quite forthright about their motives: the words ‘1’” be better off” were appended as comment on that

question on quite a few forms. Of those who disapproved of the Poll Tax, a majority said that they would, however reluctantly, be coughing up the cash later in the year, but about a third said that they would not pay. We still have the completed questionnaires with their names and addresses filled in, but promise to incinerate these should the police arrive demanding a quick look at our files.

The section of the Survey headed SEX also threw up some interesting results. 57% of those who said what sex they were were male and, though

. you’ve probably worked this out for

yourself by now, 43% were female. Is this a true reflection of the make-up of the readership, or does it just indicate that men were slightly more likely to fill out this questionnaire than women?

The response to the second question in this section ‘Do you think your sexual behaviour has been altered by the threat of AIDS?’ was decidedly equivocal: 50% said that it had, the other 50% claimed the contrary. A sizeable minority of those who answered in the negative did so because, as one reader had it ‘l’m celibate already, so it hasn’t made the slightest difference.’ When it came to assessing the impact of the threat of AIDS on other people’s sexual behaviour, however, the response was slightly more concordant, though almost a third of readers maintained that other people’s sexual behaviour was unchanged.

Our question on the introduction of Section 28 of the Local Government Bill provoked some very strong reactions and 80.5% said that they did not approve of the measure, many writing ‘Definitely not’ and ‘Never in a million years’ on their forms. On the other hand, 14.5% said they did approve, and a further 5% either had mixed feelings or were unwilling to commit themselves one way or the other. One of those who did approve claimed that she did not have anything against gays and, indeed, had gay friends, so perhaps this 14.5% figure, which could be seen as worryingly significant, is not simply a straightforward reflection of a homophobic element amongst the readership, but is also due to other considerations.

The only questions upon which almost total unanimity was achieved were in the sections on health and on transport; almost nobody thought that sufficient provision is made for the disabled in public buildings or approved of charges for dental and eye check-up charges, and almost everybody thought that lead-free petrol should be more freely available. Response to the questions about privatisation in both areas was a little less clear-cut, with almost a third of readers approving of private medicine, and a sixth being in favour of privatising the railways and approving of the deregulation of the bus services.

Also in the section on transport, some of the answers to ‘Where did you spend your last holiday?‘ were full of pathos. Amongst the Egypts, Turkeys. Frances, Spains and USAs other people listed Golspie; in bed; Basingstoke; Burntisland; Poole, and, rather poignantly, Butlin’s Minehead 1978.

Politically, the readership is left of centre, though some are lefter than others. Of those readers who told us which way they voted at the last General Election, by far the biggest group (about two thirds). had voted Labour. the rest of the respondents voting, in descending order, Alliance, SNP and Conservative. About a fifth of readers said that they would vote differently today, with some Labour voters and some Alliance voters defecting to the SNP, and other Alliance voters defecting to Labour. There is also now a groundswell ofsupport for the Green Party. Not many people have a terribly high opinion ofThatcherite policies, three-quarters of readers saying that they have been of no benefit to Scotland, and a similar proportion claiming that the Welfare State is being dismantled. A third of all readers favour complete independence for Scotland (a figure which is much higher than that for voting for the SNP) and an overwhelming majority of the remainder favour devolution. Ifyou discount non-Scottish readers, not that we recommend this as a policy, about halfare in favour ofcomplete independence and almost all the remainder favour devolution.

The papers you read reflect your political beliefs: roughly equal numbers favour the Glasgow Herald, Scotsman, Guardian and Independent (though it is quite interesting to note that several readers of this last organ are unable to spell its name.) For actual news readers tend to go to newspapers and the radio, and there is widespread dissatisfaction with government policies on broadcasting, both as they apply to Northern Ireland and to secrecy, though there are some readers who don’t think there should be a Freedom of Information Act. Only one reader in eight intends to buy a satellite TV dish.

Not very many readers profess any religious beliefs at all, but most answered the question ‘Do you think that women should be ordained?’ in the affirmative, one reader adding as a corollary, ‘But not all of them,’ and another saying ‘Though why they should want to be beats me.’

The last section of the survey called for your comments. The most frequent response to this was to point out that the space was too small to say anything constructive, though one person did find the space to say, helpfully, ‘Bum!’ Most heartwarmingly, somebody wrote ‘Answered one of your classified ads we get married next year.’ The words of another respondent are apposite at this point: Oh shit, I’ve run out of spa

52 The List 10 - 23 February