Billy Bragg Survey

18Aug08

On June 18th (2008), we interviewed members of the audience as they came out of a Billy Bragg show at the Club Soda theatre in downtown Montreal. We got 55 respondents within about 15 minutes. In general the people were very open to talking to us about politics and music and we believe that we collected some interesting data. Here are the initial results:

Breakdown:

55 respondents
Nationality: 43 Canadian, 8 American, 2 Australian, 1 Italian
Sex: 29 Male, 26 Female
Age: 1 teen, 22 20-somethings, 16 30-somethings, 11 40-somethings, 3 50-somethings, 1 60-something

The responses:

When responding to the question of how political they (and others) consider themselves to be, 19 respondents answered: Politically Aware, 18 answered: Politically Aware and Active, 16 answered: Somewhat Politically Aware, 1 answered: Not Very Politically Aware and 1 answered: Completely Apolitical. Based on these results, only 2 people out of the entire group considered themselves to be either not very politically aware or completely apolitical. Those who considered themselves politically aware and both politically aware and active made up the two largest groups and a slightly smaller group considered themselves to be only somewhat politically aware.

A large group (25) responded that they attended the Billy Bragg show for both his political ideas and his music, a slightly smaller group (23) responded that they came for the music but also like the fact that he’s an activist, 2 came only for the music, nobody responded that they came for his political ideas only, and 4 responded that they came for reasons other than those offered.

When asked whether they had learned anything at the show related to politics or political ideas, a large group (27) responded “No”. A slightly smaller group (23) responded “Yes” and a small group of 4 responded “Maybe”. Based on the dialogue during the answering of this question, at least part of the “No” group responded that way because they were already quite knowledgeable about the politics that Bragg talks about.

A majority of respondents (38 – no) did not believe that the night’s performance had influenced their opinion about any political issues. Two smaller groups of 9 each responded “Yes” and “Maybe” respectively. At least two people who had responded “No” mentioned that the show had only confirmed their already existing opinions.

An overwhelming majority of respondents (47) answered that in their opinion, music has more impact when heard live than when it is heard on a recording. Smaller groups of 4 each responded “No” and “Maybe” respectively.

When asked if they had been inspired at the show that night to get involved in political activity of any kind (ie: join an organized political group, send a letter to the gov’t, start a blog, talk to friends and family), the “Yes” (21) and Maybe” (22) responses were pretty near even. 12 people responded “No”. Out of the “No” group, at least one person explained that they were already inspired before attending the show.

When probed about whether they thought they would actually get involved, the largest group (21) responded with a conservative “Maybe”, while 15 said “Yes”, and 14 said “No”. Out of the “No” group, at least four respondents said that they had already begun to get involved prior to the show.

Thanks to Solon M. and Sophie H. for helping with the data collection.

© 2008 Alison Notkin

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