Herewith a round-up of recent YouGov polls touching on the interaction of religion and politics.
The majority of Britons are keen to keep religion apart from politics, according to a study published on 13 September 2012. 81% affirmed that religious practice is a private matter, which should be separated from British politico-economic life; 76% agreed that religious leaders should not influence how people vote in elections; 71% disagreed that religious leaders should have influence over the decisions of Government; 66% disagreed that politicians who did not share respondents’ own religious beliefs should not run for public office; and 65% disagreed that Britain would be a better place if more religious leaders held public office. Fewer than one in ten took the opposite stance on all these measures, with the remainder neutral or undecided, albeit as many as 16% wanted Christianity to play a greater role in British politics. Asked how much influence religion already has in British politics, 53% opted for the mid-positions (3-6) on a scale of 0-10, with 10% uncertain. Doubtless, the results were informed by the fact that 53% of the sample (including 69% of 18-24s) did not regard themselves as belonging to any particular religion.
Source: YouGov survey for YouGov@Cambridge in which 2,027 adult Britons were interviewed online between 10 and 19 August 2012. Data tables available at:
The survey was also conducted in the United States, France, Germany, the Middle East and North Africa, Pakistan and China. The multinational topline data are at:
Political parties of the far right are likely to take comfort from a poll released on 17 September 2012 which suggested that Islamophobia is a potential vote-winner. As many as 37% of electors indicated that they were more likely to vote for a party that promised to reduce the number of Muslims and the presence of Islam in British society, compared with 23% who said that they would be less likely to vote for a party pursuing such an agenda and 31% that it would make no difference. Those more likely to vote for a party under these circumstances were especially numerous among Conservatives (50%), the over-60s (49%), manual workers (45%), and Northerners (42%). Those less likely to vote for such a party were concentrated among Liberal Democrats (52%), the 18-24s (42%), Scots (33%), the 25-39s (32%), Londoners (31%), and non-manual workers (30%).
Source: YouGov survey for the Extremis Project (Matthew Goodwin) in which 1,725 adult Britons were interviewed online between 19 and 20 August 2012. Data tables available at:
Sunday Trading after the Olympic and Paralympic Games (1)
44% of Britons favour the permanent abolition of the legislative restrictions on the Sunday trading hours of large shops, which were temporarily suspended for the eight weeks around the Olympic and Paralympic Games. This would allow such shops to open for as long as they choose. 37% wanted to see the normal restrictions (a maximum of six hours between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.) reactivated, while 11% argued for an even tighter regime, with a total ban on large stores opening on Sundays. Advocates of permanent abolition were particularly to be found in Scotland (66%), to which the law does not apply, in any case. The over-60s (17%) most desired a return to the ‘traditional Sunday’, pre-dating the Sunday Trading Act 1994, a time when large stores ordinarily could not open at all.
Source: YouGov survey for The Sunday Times in which 1,731 adult Britons were interviewed online between 23 and 24 August 2012. Data tables available at:
Sunday Trading after the Olympic and Paralympic Games (2)
A similar number (45%) to the previous poll supported the permanent extension of Sunday trading hours after the summer Games, with 83% of them backing wholly unrestricted hours. 24% considered that such a move would boost the ailing UK economy, and 22% anticipated that they would shop more on Sunday if hours are liberalized. At the same time, although 82% were aware of the temporary relaxation in opening hours during the Games, only 24% of these overall (rising to 39% of 18-34s) had actually taken advantage of the change. 39% believed that the Government will eventually legislate to relax Sunday trading laws. 16% opposed shops being allowed to open at all on Sundays.
Source: YouGov survey for business law firm DWF in which 2,045 adult Britons were interviewed online between 24 and 27 August 2012. Summary findings only available in DWF press release of 7 September 2012 at: