New Poll Findings

There have been no substantive polls on religion in Britain during recent weeks, but here are a few findings from disparate surveys which BRIN has yet to report and which some of our readers may have missed:

Religious affiliation

56% to 58% of Britons consider themselves to be a ‘member’ of Christianity, and 7% to 9% of a non-Christian faith, while 32% to 33% claim they have no religion. 18-24s are most likely to say they have no religion (42% to 47%) and over-65s the least (20% to 24%). Non-Christians are most prevalent among the 18-34s and in London (where they form one-fifth of the population).

Source: Three Populus polls on (respectively) executive pay, the monarchy and the European Union commissioned by various clients, and undertaken online on 11-13 May, 25-28 May and 8-10 June 2012 among samples of approximately 2,000 adults aged 18 and over. Detailed statistics will be found in the classification section of the respective data tables at:

Interfaith matters

Religious ignorance is an issue in the UK, according to 64% of Britons. In seeming confirmation of this, only 43% know that Christians, Jews and Muslims believe in the same God (dropping to 29% of the 18-24s, compared with 57% of over-65s). Less than one-third understand that Jesus is recognized as a major prophet in Islam, with almost half thinking this to be untrue. 51% (including 60% of 18-24s) admit to making an initial judgment of a person based on their religion.

Source: Populus poll of adult Britons aged 18 and over, conducted for the Maimonides Foundation. Headline results were published on 29 May 2012 and featured in Church Times (1 June), Jewish Chronicle (1 June), Church of England Newspaper (3 June), and Daily Telegraph (9 June). Full tabulations and methodological details have not yet been disclosed, but BRIN has requested them. 

Religious education

Of those expressing an opinion, 58% of Britons agree that it is beneficial for pupils to study religious education (RE) at school, and 53% want it to remain a compulsory subject. Among 18-24s, with the most recent direct experience of school RE, the figure rises to 63% in each case. Again excluding the don’t knows, 50% of all adults regard RE as an essential component of a multi-faith society, against 9% who see RE as harmful and 13% who think it should not be taught in schools at all.

Source: YouGov poll for the Religious Education Council (REC) of England and Wales, undertaken online among 1,825 adults aged 18 and over in England and Wales on 9-12 March 2012. The REC tells BRIN that full data will not be available until the autumn. Meanwhile, a press release from the REC – dated 11 June, and the basis of various print and online media coverage – can be found at:

Same-sex marriages

68% of Scots agree that religious organizations should have the right to decide for themselves whether or not to perform same-sex marriages, with 21% disagreeing and 10% uncertain. Agreement is higher among women (72%) than men (64%), the over-55s (72%) than the 18-24s (64%), and Conservative voters (76%) than Scottish Nationalists (64%).

Source: Ipsos MORI poll for the Equality Network, conducted by telephone among 1,003 Scottish adults aged 18 and over on 7-13 June 2012. A press release and charts were published on 17 June and are available at:


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