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A new report points to the limitations of Eurobarometer surveys and proposes a way forward.

What do people fear in the contemporary world? Simply asking the question raisesa host of related problems. Some are methodological – could the act of asking be considered leading? And how ought we measure fear anyway? Others are conceptual – what actually is fear? And how does it come about? Still others relate to the complexity of human beings – do they behave in accordance with their stated responses? 

This report, by Professor Bill Durodié, argues that European elites have little understanding of or interest in the hopes and fears of ordinary Europeans. It raises serious questions about the accuracy and validity of the Eurobarometer series of public opinion surveys. The report identifies a major gap between the fears of ordinary people and the obsessions of elites. While ordinary people are worried about jobs, health and education, elites try to conjure up concerns about climate change, cybersecurity and identity politics.