Majority of Lib Dems support ‘No more page 3’ campaign (but big differences between women/men’s views on issue)

by Stephen Tall on November 14, 2012

Lib Dem Voice polled our members-only forum recently to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 550 party members have responded, and we’re publishing the full results.

44% of party members back ‘No more Page 3’

LDV asked: The ‘No more Page 3’ campaign was recently launched urging The Sun’s editor to drop pictures of topless women from the newspaper. What is your view?

    10% – I support the ‘No more page 3’ campaign and would also support government regulation (either an outright ban or restrictions on the sale of newspapers/magazines publishing such pictures)
    44% – I support the ‘No more page 3’ campaign but would not support any government regulation
    29% – I neither support nor oppose the ‘No more page 3’ campaign
    15% – I oppose the ‘No more page 3’ campaign
    1% – Don’t know

Overall, there’s clear majority support for the recently launched ‘No more page 3’ campaign: a total of 54% (options 1 and 2) support it. However, there’s also a clear majority against any move towards government action to ban or regulate nudity in The Sun and other publications: a total of 59% chose options 2 and 4. A substantial minority, 29%, chose the option of neither supporting nor opposing the campaign.

However, it’s clearly a issue were the two sexes have different views, as this table reveals:

Women Men
I support the ‘No more page 3’ campaign and would also support government regulation (either an outright ban or restrictions on the sale of newspapers / magazines publishing such pictures) 21% 8%
I support the ‘No more page 3’ campaign but would not support any government regulation 52% 43%
I neither support nor oppose the ‘No more page 3’ campaign 18% 32%
I oppose the ‘No more page 3’ campaign 7% 17%
Don’t know 1% 1%

I need to add a caveat to this data. Responses to our surveys are heavily skewed towards men. On most issues this seems to make little difference to the results: whenever we’ve tested it, the views of female Lib Dem members and male Lib Dem members do not appear to differ significantly on political issues. I suspected they might on this topic, though. However, the numbers of women who responded (c.100) mean the data is more prone to sampling error than is the case with our overall sample size of c.550.

That caveat inserted, it’s noticeable what a difference there is between the views of the women and men who answered. Women are far more likely to be in favour of banning/regulating Page 3-style material than men; men are far more likely both to oppose the ‘No more Page 3′ campaign than women and far more likely to declare themselves neutral.

However, the single most popular option for both women and men is the position of the campaign: for The Sun voluntarily to drop Page 3 without formal government intervention. Here’s a sample of your views…

I believe the paper needs to have a change of heart; however I believe that change of heart won’t occur without pressure from the public. The state is not called for in this instance.

Page 3 has effects in society far beyond the issue of newspapers being able to print what they want. When we have a truly liberal society that doesn’t denigrate and subjugate women, we can then let national newspapers print pictures of bare breasts.

During an industrial placement as a young student I was constantly tormented by older man comparing my body with today’s page three girl. I was the only young woman brave enough to go on the shop floor. It was a hideous, terrifying experience and made normal work difficult.

page 3 is now more a quaint tradition than much else, a mature approach to accepting modern attitude to sex & at the same time respect to each other, will not be achieved by banning a sexy type of picture, of either women or men

Another piece of silly nannying that treats voters like children.

Four countries in the world have nude models in their papers. I am not against topless modelling, I am against it (a) being available for children to view (b) it’s contribution to the sexualisation and objectification of women and (c) it being considered news. Not to mention the dire dire misogyny and gender divides it breeds.

I think newspapers should be entitled to print pictures of topless women, but that the particular case of the Sun doing it and making them mouthpieces for their editorial opinions is repugnant. It is a matter for consumer pressure rather than for government regulation, however.

Page 3 = very bad. (And one of many good reasons never to buy the Sun.) But government banning/restricting it would be so much worse. We’re a liberal party, right?

I am deeply disappointed that Nick Clegg has refused to sign up. The campaign is not calling for a ban – it is calling for The Sun to decide of its own volition that public opinion is against this use of naked women. Nick has missed the point completely

Newspapers publishing ‘page 3′pictures should be allowed to do so but should be restricted to the ‘Adult’ categories. When their sales began to fall they would soon stop publishing such pictures.

  • Over 1,200 Lib Dem paid-up party members are registered with LibDemVoice.org. Some 550 responded to the latest survey, which was conducted between 28th and 31st October.
  • Please note: we make no claims that the survey is fully representative of the Lib Dem membership as a whole. However, LibDemVoice.org’s surveys are the largest independent samples of the views of Lib Dem members across the country, and have in the past offered accurate guides to what party members think.
  • For further information on the reliability/credibility of our surveys, please refer to FAQs: Are the Liberal Democrat Voice surveys of party members accurate? and polling expert Anthony Wells’ verdict, On that poll of Lib Dem members.
  • The full archive of our members’ surveys can be viewed at www.libdemvoice.org/category/ldv-members-poll
  • * Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum, and also writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.