Internationalism Index: How does it work?

To mark Best for Britain's campaign relaunch in Spring 2021, we have commissioned a cutting-edge new analytical tool: The Internationalism Index.

This is a brand new way of understanding opinion polling through segmenting the population by attitude, rather than demography or geography. The Index will allow a more nuanced understanding of how people in the UK view international co-operation.

How does it work?

Simply put, we determined voters’ attitude by asking a series of base-questions that gauged people's views on the role of international organisations, on COVID, on asylum seeking, refugees, trading standards and much more. We used these questions to divide the UK into people with ‘High’, ‘Medium’ and ‘Low’ internationalist sympathies.

These segments are tools with which to analyse how people's views on other things like voting, topical issues, fundamental values in other areas, vary between those who are more internationalist in outlook and those who are less internationalist.

What does this mean for Best for Britain?

The Internationalism Index means we can, for the first time, really understand how people's opinions on issues are affected by their attitudes to international cooperation. It means we can show when assumptions in the national media are wrong about how certain types of person see the world. It means we can track changes in attitudes among UK voters to international co-operation over time.

The Index shows that the median British voter supports cooperation with other countries on a wide range of issues. Within the ‘Medium Internationalism’ group, 76% believe that overall Britain is better solving the world’s greatest challenges through cooperation, while only 15% disagree.

There was also considerable support for global cooperation amongst the least internationalist grouping, with 45% saying the world’s greatest challenges must be met in cooperation with international partners.

Read the full report here.

What next?

The Internationalism Index will be updated on a regular basis to understand how public attitudes towards international cooperation change over time. We believe it will become a powerful tool for understanding public opinion in light of the major challenges facing the UK and the world.

As nations, international organisations and people across the globe grapple with climate change, COVID and the intricacies of trade and the global marketplace Best for Britain will be looking to understand what people in the UK really think. And to provide analysis of why people have formed certain opinions.

Keep up to date with our publications by joining Best for Britain here.

The technical detail...

Number Cruncher Politics, who provided the Internationalism Index, explain the basics:

The Best For Britain internationalism index is a segmentation of UK adults based on the extent to which they hold internationalist attitudes. The measure is calculated at individual level, and by extension can also provide a measure for groups within the population (such as demographic, geographic or political subsets).

Polling results are often analysed by various breakdowns, with election and EU referendum votes, together with age and education, often acting as proxies for attitudes. This can often lead to wrong conclusions, because these proxies, while useful, are usually far from perfectly correlated with how people feel about any particular issue (or set of issues). Put simply, people decide how to vote for a variety of reasons, and neither groups of voters nor demographic groups are homogenous. In order to understand best how opinions differ between people with different attitudes, then it makes sense to measure those attitudes

Segmentation of the type made possible by the index enables us to do this. The index combines answers to a battery of questions with statistical modelling to determine how internationalist an individual (or group) is. The segments derived from the index provide the tools with which to analyse how views on things like voting, topical issues, fundamental values in other areas, and so on, vary between those who are more and less internationalist.

Read the full Technical Note on the first Internationalism Index here.