Populus Poll

The Saga Populus Panel is the largest research panel, gauging the attitudes and opinions of today's over 50s in the UK.
Saga/Populus Panel January 2018: Saga Populus logo

Saga/Populus Panel January 2018

Executive summary


The ideal partner

  • Saga respondents say companionship (41%), kindness (40%) and honesty (39%) are the most important qualities in an ideal partner. Ambition (1%), earning power (1%) and skills in the bedroom (1%) are mentioned least often.
  • For men, companionship (48%) is the most important trait in a partner, whilst for women kindness (45%) is most important. Men consider having good looks and domestic skills more important in a partner (6% each) than women (1% each).

Children at home

  • 12% of Saga respondents with children say they have at least one child living at home with them. This is more common among those aged 50-59 (32%) than those aged 80-89 (4%).
  • The majority of children living at home are aged 18-30 (54%).
  • Amongst those with children at home, never having moved out (38%) is the most common reason for them being at home. Saving for a deposit for a house (18%) and splitting up with a partner (10%) are also given as reasons.
  • Roughly half of respondents (47%) have altered their insurance to cover their child’s possessions – 44% have not. 40% say they do not intend on altering their insurance to cover their child’s possessions.


  • Saga respondents most often say they enjoy reading thrillers (19%) on holiday. Crime novels come second (16%), followed by historical fiction (9%). The least commonly enjoyed genres are graphic novels, cult novels and magical realism (all <1%).
  • Men (22%) are more likely than women (8%) to say they do not read on holiday.
  • Of those that say they read on holiday, three in five (63%) say they typically like to read a physical book. Three in ten (31%) like to read using an electronic reading device such as an ebook, nook or tablet.
  • When it comes to choosing a book to read next, Saga respondents cite browsing in bookshops (30%), reading book reviews (21%) and recommendations from friends (14%) as how they choose.

Children away from home

  • Of those with children, the average distance between their home and their children’s home is 35 miles. Though, two in five (39%) have a child that lives between 1-5 miles away.
  • When asked to estimate the distance between them and the parent that lives or lived closest to them, Saga respondents report a distance of 64 miles.


  • Half of Saga respondents (51%) believe that the NHS is in the worst condition of their lifetimes.
  • Three in five (58%) Saga respondents believe that the NHS has got worse over the last year and just under half (45%) believe that NHS treatment will change for the worse in two years’ time.
  • However, 40% of respondents believe that NHS treatment will be better in ten years’ time. Indeed, half of respondents (48%) believe that the NHS will survive to care for their great grandchildren.
  • There is recognition of the need for change in the NHS. A large majority (88%) believe that the NHS will have to dramatically change to meet the needs of an ageing population. 77% agree that expectations on the NHS are too high and that it cannot do anything and 68% say they are prepared to pay more tax to make sure the NHS provides care to everyone, free at the point of use.


  • 80% of Saga respondents say they would be more likely to shop in a supermarket which made an effort to reduce the amount of plastic waste used in its products.
  • However, if reducing plastic waste in supermarket products caused a 5% price increase in goods, only 62% of those previously saying they would shop at a supermarket that made an effort to reduce the amount of plastic waste would still shop there.

Long term relationships

  • Three quarters (74%) of Saga respondents answering the question say that monogamy is critical to the success of a long term relationship. The same proportion (74%) believe that monogamy is the consequence of a happy relationship.
  • 15% believe that monogamy is an old fashioned value. Men are more likely (17%) to say that monogamy is an old fashioned value than women (13%)
  • One in five (19%) Saga respondents answering the question say they have cheated on a partner. Men (20%) are marginally more likely to have cheated on a partner than women (18%).
  • 78% of Saga respondents say they have no regrets about their current relationship. 2% of respondents say they regret not pursuing a previous relationship, whilst 4% say they used to have regrets about their current relationship but no longer do.
  • Asked about how they feel about their current relationship, Saga respondents most commonly answer, “We have our ups and downs but generally we are generally happy” (44%) followed by “I wouldn’t change a thing, we are very happy” (40%).

Populus interviewed 10,507 Saga respondents, all aged 50+ online between 22nd and 29th January 2018. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules; for more information www.populus.co.uk.

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