General Election Voting and Other News

 

How religious groups actually voted

BRIN has covered several surveys which sought to ascertain how members of faith groups intended to vote in the UK general election of 7 May 2015. Thanks to Lord Ashcroft, we now have some information about what the three major groups (Christian, non-Christian, no religion) actually did, both as regards voting behaviour and the factors influencing it. Between 5 and 7 May 2015 Ashcroft interviewed, by a combination of online and telephone, 12,253 Britons who claimed to have voted (and it should be remembered that one-third of the country did not cast their vote on 7 May), of whom 31% had done so by post beforehand and 68% in person on the day. A selection of findings is tabulated below, with the full data available at: 

http://lordashcroftpolls.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Post-vote-poll-GE-2015-150507-Full-tables.pdf

In terms of voting at the 2015 general election, the data confirm the findings of other research, that: 

  • Christians are disproportionately Conservative
  • Non-Christians are disproportionately Labour
  • No religionists disproportionately favour the smaller parties 
% down

All

Christian

Non-Christian

No religion

Party voted for in 2015

 

 

 

 

Conservative

34

41

28

24

Labour

31

28

43

34

UKIP

14

16

8

13

LibDem

9

8

8

11

Other

12

9

14

18

When voting decision was made

 

 

 

 

On polling day

11

10

13

12

Within previous week

22

20

23

23

Within previous month

18

17

19

18

Longer ago

50

53

45

46

Single most important reason for vote

 

 

 

 

Trusted motives/value of party

38

36

34

42

Preferred promises made by party

18

18

18

18

Always voted for party

10

12

10

8

Party leader would make better Prime Minister

10

11

12

7

Best local candidate regardless of party

9

9

12

9

Voted tactically to stop another party

9

8

9

11

Senior party members make competent government

5

6

4

5

Party voted for in 2010

 

 

 

 

Conservative

39

46

33

28

Labour

26

25

33

28

UKIP

4

4

3

3

LibDem

24

21

24

31

Other

8

5

6

10

Most important issues for country

 

 

 

 

Improving NHS

55

55

57

56

Growing economy/creating jobs

51

51

46

53

Controlling immigration

41

48

32

32

Cutting deficit

30

33

24

28

Tackling cost of living

25

21

30

30

Reforming welfare

20

22

17

18

Defending Britain’s interests in Europe

18

21

15

14

Improving schools

13

11

16

15

Protecting environment

9

5

11

13

Dealing with crime

6

6

9

5

Most important issues for self/family

 

 

 

 

Improving NHS

58

58

56

57

Tackling cost of living

44

42

45

47

Growing economy/creating jobs

42

41

38

43

Controlling immigration

29

34

23

23

Cutting deficit

20

22

17

18

Improving schools

17

16

20

18

Defending Britain’s interests in Europe

13

16

9

10

Reforming welfare

12

14

10

10

Protecting environment

12

9

15

16

Dealing with crime

10

10

15

9

Would make better Prime Minister

 

 

 

 

David Cameron

50

57

40

40

Ed Miliband

33

28

43

40

Feeling benefits of economic recovery

 

 

 

 

Already

26

29

21

23

Not yet but expect to at some point

37

38

40

34

No and do not expect to

37

33

38

44

Austerity/cuts in government expenditure

 

 

 

 

Still needed over next five years

46

51

38

40

Needed in past but not over next five years

30

31

29

28

Never really needed

24

18

33

32

British Election Study constituency results file

Thanks to Ben Clements for pointing out that on 15 May 2015 the British Election Study (BES) 2015 team released the first version of the 2015 general election results file. This comprises, for each constituency, voting from both the 2015 and 2010 general elections alongside a range of contextual information, including religious affiliation data from the 2011 population census. See the BES press release at: 

http://www.britishelectionstudy.com/bes-resources/2015-general-election-results-data-released-by-the-bes/#.VVYrfelFDX6

Demise of the Methodist MP

The Methodist Recorder (15 May 2015, p. 1) thinks there are no Methodist MPs following the 2015 general election, Sir Alan Beith, Meg Munn, and Sir Andrew Stunell all having stood down when the last Parliament was dissolved. The newspaper regrets the disappearance of the long tradition of Methodist involvement in the House of Commons. A century ago, following the 1906 Liberal landslide, there were as many as 49 Methodist MPs, 37 of them Liberals.   

Catholics and voting

The Tablet (16 May 2015, pp. 47, 51) has partially released the topline findings of an online poll of the voting intentions of 1,260 self-identifying British Catholics which it commissioned YouGov to undertake in the run-up to the general election on 7 May 2015. The weekly’s coverage particularly focused on the situation in Scotland, where 48% of Catholics indicated their support for the Scottish National Party and only 38% for the Scottish Labour Party, which has traditionally been very dependent on the Catholic vote. In Britain as a whole a plurality of 41% of Catholics intended to support Labour (12% less than in an Ipsos MORI survey for The Tablet before the 2005 general election), 31% the Conservatives, and 13% the United Kingdom Independence Party. Neither The Tablet nor YouGov have released the full data tables as yet, but one of the weekly’s articles is freely available online at: 

http://www.thetablet.co.uk/news/2075/0/catholics-desert-labour-in-scotland-exclusive-tablet-poll-reveals-

Catholics and climate change

The encyclical on the environment and human ecology due to be promulgated by Pope Francis this summer could have a far greater influence over the lives and lifestyle of English and Welsh Catholics than any other areas of pontifical direction in recent decades, according to one reading of YouGov research for aid agency CAFOD which was reported by Catholic and some secular media last week. A sample of 1,049 Catholics was interviewed online, 80% of whom said they felt a duty to care for God’s creation, with 72% expressing concern about the impact of climate change on the world’s poorest people, and 64% claiming they had paid at least some attention to the climate debate. Seven in ten anticipated the Catholic community would heed any papal message on climate change, albeit only 33% thought themselves likely to alter their own behaviour as a result (against 54% thinking it unlikely). Frustratingly, neither CAFOD nor YouGov have yet released the full data for this survey, which has forced BRIN to rely upon news stories in the Catholic Times and The Tablet as its sources, the latter being available at: 

http://www.thetablet.co.uk/news/2036/0/one-in-three-catholics-says-francis-document-on-climate-change-will-inspire-them-to-live-a-greener-lifestyle-

Religious leaders

Religious leaders exercise relatively little influence over the British population, according to a YouGov poll for The Tablet among a sample of 3,211 adults interviewed online between 30 March and 1 April 2015. Only 19% acknowledged that they had been influenced by one or more religious leaders (even by one they had personally known) during the course of their lifetime. The proportion did not exceed one-quarter in any demographic sub-group apart from Catholics (41%) and non-Christians (33%) while predictably falling to as low as 7% for the religious nones. Asked which of seven religious leaders (including the current and former Popes) had made the best contribution to moral and religious life in Britain, 72% of the whole sample replied none of them or that they did not know, the present Archbishop of Canterbury receiving the best individual score (8%). Just 28% said that they took notice when religious leaders made public comments on political or economic matters and even fewer (23%) when they spoke about issues of personal morality (peaking at 41% among Catholics). At the same time, favourability ratings for a few international religious leaders were fairly high, notably for the Dalai Lama (57%), Desmond Tutu (46%), and Pope Francis (40%). This apparent paradox of low influence and some residual popularity is explored in Linda Woodhead’s article accompanying the survey, published in The Tablet, 16 May 2015, pp. 6, 8. Full data tables are available at:  

https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/ktmkf5g7qy/TheTablet_Results_150401_religious_leaders_Website.pdf

Religious extremism

Almost one in five UK residents considers religious extremism to be one of the most important challenges to the security of EU citizens at present, according to the newly-published report on Europeans’ Attitudes towards Security, based on Special Eurobarometer 432, for which 1,302 UK adults were interviewed face-to-face by TNS UK between 21 and 30 March 2015. Respondents were presented with a list of 15 security challenges from which they could select a maximum of three. The UK’s 19% figure for religious extremism was on a par with the EU average of 20% but it had risen considerably from 10% in June 2011. The report is at: 

http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_432_en.pdf

Britain uncovered poll

In our post of 26 April 2015 we noted some of the headline findings from an online poll pf UK adults by Opinium Research on behalf of The Observer on 13-16 February, especially as regards five specific questions on religion. Opinium released the full data tables on 13 May, extending to 967 pages, and these include, not just breaks by demographics for the religion questions, but breaks by religious affiliation for all the other (secular) questions. The tables can be found at: 

http://ourinsight.opinium.co.uk/sites/ourinsight.opinium.co.uk/files/op5186_tables_-_banner1_-_published.pdf

To illustrate the correlates of religious affiliation, we tabulate below the results for some questions about the incidence of lying on various types of form (‘yes’ answers only shown): 

Admitted lying (%)

All

Anglican

Catholic

Other Christian

Non-Christian

Agnostic or atheist

Job application form

18

15

26

14

18

20

Insurance form

9

9

19

8

10

7

Tax form

10

11

22

9

13

6

Mortgage application

8

8

20

7

11

5

Sub-sample sizes are rather small, but it is interesting that the group most consistently prone to admit being economical with the truth are not agnostics or atheists but Roman Catholics. Matters were somewhat different when it came to what to do about finding a wallet containing £200, the proportion saying they would keep it being similar for Catholics (30%) as for agnostics and atheists (29%), against 25% for the population as a whole. 

New Churches in the North East

BRIN is indebted to David Goodhew for the following update: The ‘New Churches in the North East’ Project, funded by a Leech Fellowship, is close to completion. At a conference at St Johns College, Durham on 17 April 2015 draft findings were presented. The research team estimate that 120 new churches have been founded in the North East of England since 1980. Of these, around 40 are based in minority ethnic communities. The new churches represent a major new feature on the religious landscape of the North East. Their existence indicates that the regions of England are seeing some of the new church activity that has been noted in London in the work of Peter Brierley and Andrew Rogers. The prominence of black and minority ethnic communities amongst the new churches shows that the North East (and the North East church) is significantly more diverse than is often assumed. The final report for the project will be issued in September 2015. For more information about the project, go to:

http://community.dur.ac.uk/churchgrowth.research/research/new-churches-in-the-north-east

Self-supporting ministers 

A survey of 296 self-supporting ministers in four Church of England dioceses (Bristol, Gloucester, Lichfield, and Worcester) has revealed significant sources of frustration among them, including the fact that nearly half feel they are seen as ‘second-class’ by their stipendiary colleagues. Full results are not yet available online, but a summary of the research can be found in the Church Times at: 

http://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2015/15-may/news/uk/ssms-survey-finds-joy-tempered-by-frustrations

 

 


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