Local clergy come a close second to politicians in meriting media exposure for cheating on their spouse, according to a new survey commissioned by The Sunday Times in the wake of the controversy surrounding superinjunctions and the freedom of the press.
Fieldwork was conducted online by YouGov on 26 and 27 May 2011 among a representative sample of 2,723 Britons aged 18 and over. The detailed results from the poll are available at:
Asked whether it would be legitimate for the press to report on cases where ten categories of individual had been unfaithful to their spouse, affirmative replies were as follows:
- a senior politician – 71%
- a backbench politician – 65%
- a local clergyman – 64%
- a local councillor – 62%
- a top professional footballer – 59%
- a senior executive of a major corporation – 58%
- a well-known actor – 56%
- a television presenter – 55%
- a former reality TV star – 51%
- a normal member of the public – 30%
Nearly three times as many respondents wanted to see local clergy exposed in the media as opted to keep the matter private (23%), with 13% unsure what to think. The clamour for publicity about clergy was notably high among Conservative voters (71%) and the over-60s (70%).
Religious professionals may no longer command the sort of respect in the community which they once did, but it seems that we generally still expect them to be exemplary in their moral behaviour and feel entitled to know about their falls from grace.