Drive a Land Rover? Fond of Roquefort quiche?

You must like the University of Cambridge, says YouGov

November 27, 2014

Source: Alexander Kuguchin/Shutterstock.com

Did you know that people who went to the University of Manchester are bad at listening and shop at Lidl? Were you aware that those who like the University of Edinburgh also love lentil casserole? And did you have any idea that graduates of the University of Bristol find apple pie delicious and spend their time relaxing to the music of folk prog-rockers Jethro Tull?

This is all according to YouGov, the polling company, which has created a fiendishly addictive new online application that allows you to see how people who identify as fans of just about anything (including football teams, foodstuffs and the universities of the UK) live their lives.

To work out everything from people’s favourite food to the car they are most likely to drive, YouGov filters results from what it calls a “connected data vault”, which holds more than 120,000 data points collected from 190,000 UK YouGov members. If they say they are a graduate of the University of Leeds, for example, then you can look at what opinions they hold on a huge range of issues.

Graduates of Leeds are generally right-wing females over the age of 60, it seems. They consider themselves to be good company, but are untidy and lacking in self-confidence. Meanwhile, those who like Newcastle University are partial to cheese soufflé and tend to mute the adverts when watching television.

People who like the University of Cambridge are most likely to drive a Land Rover and really enjoy eating Roquefort quiche and chicken kalia (a Mauritian curry made with yoghurt, in case you were wondering). Those with an affinity for the University of Oxford, meanwhile, are more likely to own an Audi and to revel in both a game of Scrabble and ice dancing (although presumably not at the same time).

University of Reading graduates love the film Finding Nemo and the music of Eminem. Those who studied at The Open University “simply don’t understand vegetarians”. If you like Durham University, then there is a high probability that you shop at Waitrose.

The list goes on. If you like David Willetts, the former universities and science minister, for example, then YouGov thinks you probably drive a Mercedes-Benz, own a dog and read The Daily Telegraph. As for new minister Greg Clark, you’re most likely to find his supporters shopping in Waitrose and reading The Guardian, before going home to watch Newsnight and cult comedy The IT Crowd.

You may be wondering, “What does YouGov think about me?” Well, the app can also filter out “readers of Times Higher Education”, so we can tell you. You’re a pretty odd bunch.

You have a very narrow palate, with every one of your favourite foods originating in the Middle East or North Africa. If the data are to be believed, you are most likely reading this while munching on some falafel, lamb kebabs or kofta, while very much looking forward to your baklava dessert. In all probability, according to YouGov, you have a cat, enjoy rugby union, are keen on the music of Otis Redding and like no one on earth more than the journalist Jon Snow. On Twitter, you follow Mary Beard (@wmarybeard) and on Facebook, you “like” Ed Miliband. This last point explains why we’re taking these findings with a pinch of salt.

Send links to topical, insightful and quirky online comment by and about academics to chris.parr@tesglobal.com

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