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When metric-only education commenced in 1975, the government believed that the proportion of people thinking in UK units would decline as increasing numbers of school leavers replaced the previous generations. Thus, total metric conversion could be achieved at a future point with minimum dispuption to the public. In practice, this has not happened. The rejection of metric by the British population has been indicated by countless public or consumer surveys and polls:

Year Survey Sample Against Metric / For Imperial For metric Question
24 Feb 2006 Teletext 1,300 96% 4% Phone based poll: "Do you think road signs should be changed from miles to kilometres?"
24 Feb 2006 Manchester Evening News n/k (web poll) 76% 24% Web poll: "Should the UK spend millions on taking our road signs metric?"
24 Feb 2006 AOL News 30,000 82.5% 17.5% No further details
24 Feb 2006 This Morning TV n/k 97% 3% No further details
24 Feb 2006 Daily Express n/k 95% 5% No further details
24 Feb 2006 Metro (web poll) 2993 70% 30% "Would you back British road signs switching from miles to kilometres?"
August 2002 Auto Express magazine n/k 82% n/k No further details
Feb 2002 Teletext (phone in) n/k 61% 39% "Court defeat of the metric martyrs comes in the wake of Lord Howe calling for full metrification in the UK. Do you think it's time to go fully metric?"
Feb 2002 Carlton TV (phone in) 10,000+ 95% 5% Phone-in poll, asked viewers to express preference for either lb/oz or kg/g.
April 2001 Evening Standard (web poll) n/k 92% 8% No further details
March 2001 ICM Research 1,000 74% 26% A survey devoted to establishing public preferences for units used in weather reports.
23 Feb 2001 The Sun newpaper (web poll) n/k 80% 20% "Should we be allowed to keep imperial measurements (pounds, ounces etc)?"
Jan 2001 ICM Research 1,000 91% 9% "On the 15th January, a greengrocer in Sunderland will appear in court charged with weighing out fruit and vegetables in pounds and ounces, rather than in EU-approved kilos and grams. Do you think he should be prosecuted?"
Jan 2001 ITN (well poll) u/k 68% u/k No further details
Jun 2000 Tesco 1,000 90% 8% Internal survey of shoppers
Jul 2000 HTV West (phone in) 13,697 88% 12% "Do you prefer the use of metric measurements?"
July 2000 Good Morning TV (web poll) u/k 85% 13% "Do you prefer buying foods in pounds and ounces?"
Jul 2000 Teletext (phone in) 4,349 98% 2% "Do you agree that the greengrocer in Sunderland should be prosecuted for selling pounds and ounces?"
2000 Teletext (phone in) 7,229 97% 3% No further details
Jan 2000 BMRB 1,015 67% 16% No further details
Feb 1999 BMRB 1,010 72% 15% "Thinking about buying fresh foods, do you prefer to think of weight in pounds and ounces or in kilograms and grams?"
Aug 1997 Trago Mills (in-store survey, Devon and Cornwall) 3,780 83% 16% "Which units of measurement do you prefer to use?" See Note 1
Nov 1997 Research Services Ltd 1,000 74% 19% "Thinking about weights and measures, which kind of measurement do you generally find most convenient for everyday purposes: imperial measurements (such as feet and inches, pounds and pints) or metric measurements (such as metres, kilograms and litres)?" See Note 2
September, 1995 NOP 1,000 60% 11% "Generally speaking, do you find that you are: more comfortable using metric measures, like kilograms metres and litres; more comfortable using imperial measures, like pounds, yards and pints; equally comfortable with metric and imperial measures?"
1995 Gallup 1,082 52% 37% "Do you approve of the decision to switch over to the Continental system, using metres instead of yards and litres instead of pints?" See Note 3
Historical:
1975 Gallup u/k 53% 35% No further details
1965 Gallup u/k 46% 36% No further details


Note 1 Broken down, Trago Mills customers said:

pints 83%   litres 15%
pounds 82%   kilograms 16%
yards 72%   metres 25%
inches 75%   centimetres 23%
miles 87%   kilometres 11%

Note 2 RSL asked a second question: "On packaging for food and drink and in publications such as cookery books and magazines, how do you think weights and measures should be classified: pounds and pints only; kilograms and litres only; or both systems"? The survey found 21% wanted pounds and pints only, 7% wanted kilograms and litres only, and 70% wanted both systems.

Note 3 Gallup also asked respondents, "Do you normally think in [imperial or metric]...?" The results were:

miles 95%   kilometres 3%
yards 69%   metres 26%
pounds 87%   kilos 10%
pints 87%   litres 10%
fahrenheit 49%   centigrade 44%

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