How many people know what ‘pork barrel politics’ means?

A pig snout
Image by Pexels from Pixabay.

Another reminder that most people don’t pay that much attention to politics and so what’s obvious to those in politics can be baffling to those outside it. This time it is from some polling reported by Joe Twyman on Twitter:

Because Tim Bale asked (and would not shut up about it), here at Deltapoll we thought it would be interesting to test the British public’s understanding of the term ‘pork barrel politics’. We found that only 1% of adults in this country actually know what it means.

82% had not heard of the term.
11% said they had heard of the term but did not know what it meant.
7% said they had heard of the term and knew what it meant, but when asked to explain it gave the wrong answer.
1% said they had heard of the term and actually knew what it meant.

Almost as many respondents thought that it referred to politicians behaving like pigs as correctly identified that it refers to spending of public funds that are intended to benefit constituents of a politician in return for their political support.

It’s worth noting that if you don’t know what the term means, it’s still possible to reasonably guess that it’s likely to be a negative term. Being associated with pigs is rarely seen as a positive. If the phrase was eagle-nested politics, confusion would be even greater. But even with that helping hand, misunderstanding is widespread.