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Public divided on ID cards, poll reveals

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The public is evenly divided on whether or not identity cards are a good idea, with 50 per cent supporting the introduction, and 48 per cent opposing it, according to a new poll conducted on behalf of campaign group No2ID.

No2ID says the results show a fall in support for the government's plans. It asked exactly the same question back in June. Then, 55 per cent of respondents said they were in favour of identity cards, and 43 per cent opposed them.

Phil Booth, NO2ID's national coordinator, says the results indicate that support has now reached tipping point, and that the government can no longer claim clear support for its plans. He argues that in the last five months, the Home Office has failed to make its case to the British public:

"For public support to slip still further after the terrorist atrocities in London this summer reveals just how little the public actually trust the reasons they are being given for ID cards. In fact, the more people hear, the less they like the idea," he said.

"Introducing compulsory registration and State ID control when half the country is against you has more than a hint of the jackboot about it."

The poll asked whether the person thought the government proposals for a £93 combined ID card and passport is a very good, good, bad or very bad idea.

The group says it stuck with the £93 figure despite the government's proposed £30 ID card-lite because: "Home Office ministers have admitted that this price is merely 'indicative' and detailed costings by the LSE and others still appear to place the unit cost of registration and issuing an ID card at or above £300", according to a press statement.

Women are slightly more likely overall to support the ID cards proposal (53 per cent think it is a good idea, vs. 48 per cent of men) but men are more likely to hold extreme views either way, choosing the "very good" or "very bad" options. Women are also more likely to be undecided, choosing this option three times more frequently that the men.

Support for the cards is strongest in the Midlands and in Scotland, and weakest in Wales and the south west of England. ®

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