Mid-Year Round-Up

 

Immigration and the religious landscape

Were it not for immigration, the speed of secularization in England and Wales might have been even faster. That is one gloss that could be put on a report from the Office for National Statistics on 18 June 2015: 2011 Census Analysis: Ethnicity and Religion of the Non-UK Born Population in England and Wales. For the proportion of UK-born residents professing no religion in 2011 was, at 27%, almost double the figure among the non-UK-born (14%). However, the situation appears to be changing and, for those arriving in the UK between 2007 and 2011, it was 17%. Also, although there were 3,567,000 foreign-born Christians in England and Wales in 2011, they still accounted for a minority of all immigrants, so their numbers alone could not offset the largely intergenerational process of disaffiliation from Christianity which is at work among the native-born. Some media coverage of the report, as in the Daily Telegraph for 19 June 2015, p. 6 (‘migrants are mainstay of Christian faith’), is therefore rather misleading. In relative terms, Sikh immigration has fallen continuously since 1981, and even Muslim immigration has tailed off somewhat since the Millennium, albeit non-UK-born Muslims still outnumber the UK-born. Summary data are tabulated below. Fuller information can be found in 2011 Census Tables DC2207EW (country of birth by religion by sex) and CT02652011 (country of birth by year of arrival by religion) which can be accessed via the links embedded in the report at:  

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171776_407038.pdf

% down

UK-born

Non-UK-born: total

Non-UK-born: 2007-11 arrivals

No religion

26.9

13.8

16.9

Christian

61.1

47.5

47.5

Buddhist

0.2

2.0

2.8

Hindu

0.6

7.3

7.2

Jewish

0.4

0.7

0.6

Muslim

2.6

19.0

16.3

Sikh

0.5

2.4

1.2

Other religion

0.4

0.6

0.4

Not stated

7.3

6.7

7.1

Predicting the demise of British Christianity

Writing in The Spectator on 13 June 2015, and projecting forward on the basis of evidence from the census of population and sample surveys, Damian Thompson suggested that 2067 will be the year in which the profession of Christianity will finally disappear from the British Isles, with Anglicanism set to vanish in 2033. See:  

http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/9555222/2067-the-end-of-british-christianity/

Ramadan (1): knowledge of

We are mid-way through the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which, in terms of fasting, began on 18 June 2015. To mark the event, and the launch of the broadcaster’s ‘My Ramadan’ mini-season, BBC Religion and Ethics commissioned an opinion poll from TNS among a sample of 2,036 Britons aged 16 and over. It revealed that, although the majority of the public agrees that cultural diversity is a positive thing, only 52% claim to have a clear understanding of what Ramadan is about, falling to 43% among over-65s. A plurality believes that it is just devout Muslims who do not eat or drink anything during the daylight hours of Ramadan. No data tables for the survey are in the public domain, but the BBC press release of 18 June can be read at:  

http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2015/my-ramadan

Ramadan (2): retail value of

‘Ramadan spurs increase in grocery sales’, Retail Week reported on 23 June 2015. UK’s largest supermarkets have seen a rise in sales because of the holy month of Ramadan, with the Islamic festival becoming the most important retail event after Christmas and Easter. The Big Four [supermarkets] are expecting sales to increase by about £100m over the next month as the UK’s three million Muslims embark on fasting.’ 

Combating Islamic State

Two-thirds of 999 Britons interviewed by telephone on behalf of the Pew Global Attitudes Project on 8-28 April 2015 approved of the US-led military action being taken against Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria, with one-fifth opposed and 15% undecided. The level of support was lower than in several other Western countries such as France (81%), US (80%), Australia (77%), Italy (70%), and Spain (67%) and in Middle Eastern nations such as Israel (84%), Lebanon (78%), and Jordan (77%). However, approval of US President Barack Obama’s handling of IS was higher in Britain (43%) than the US (40%), with disapproval at 37% and 54% respectively. For the Pew topline report, released on 23 June 2015, see: 

http://www.pewglobal.org/files/2015/06/Balance-of-Power-Report-FINAL-June-23-20151.pdf

Anti-Semitism

The UK’s Jewish population is far more fearful of Islamist extremists (61%) than it is of neo-Nazis (16%), according to a new Survation poll for the Jewish Chronicle, conducted predominantly by telephone among 1,023 members of a pre-recruited adult Jewish panel between 17 and 23 June 2015. The remainder fear neither or are undecided. A majority of Jews (72%) is opposed to anti-Semitic groups being allowed to stage peaceful demonstrations in Jewish areas, with only 22% in favour, while 62% support Jews holding counter-demonstrations to anti-Semitic rallies (with 29% against). Data tables, disaggregated by gender, age, and region, are available at: 

http://survation.com/?attachment_id=8032

The context of the survey is an imminent planned protest by far-right activists in Golders Green, London against the alleged ‘Jewification’ of the area. However, the Jewish Chronicle’s headline about the poll (‘Ban Golders Green Rally, Say 72 Per Cent’) is somewhat misleading since respondents were not specifically asked whether that particular event should be banned.   

History of Church of England finance

An important new book by Sarah Flew brings the tools of accountancy and financial management to bear on the history of the Established Church in England, not so much in the round as through a case study of the funding of home missionary organizations in the Diocese of London during the late Victorian and Edwardian eras. Philanthropy and the Funding of the Church of England, 1856-1914 (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2015, xv + 251p., ISBN 9781848935006, hardback, £60, with ebook editions for £24) is based on a wide range of hitherto little-used archival and other primary sources, and includes a good dose of tables. Flew charts the progressive decline in Christian philanthropy and its connection with secularization. More information is available at: 

https://www.pickeringchatto.com/titles/1783-9781848935006-philanthropy-and-the-funding-of-the-church-of-england-1856-1914

Britain’s Last Religious Revival?

Apologies for the plug, but prospective purchasers of my new book on the statistics of religious change in Britain between 1945 and 1963 (mentioned in my BRIN post of 8 March 2015) may like to know that, for a limited period (until 29 February 2016), copies can be bought by individuals direct from the publisher at a 30% discount.  

Just quote ‘PM15THIRTY’ when ordering the book from the Palgrave Macmillan website at http://www.palgrave.com/page/detail/britain-s-last-religious-revival–clive-d–field/?sf1=barcode&st1=9781137512529 or via email to orders@palgrave.com.

For full terms and conditions applicable to the discount, see:

http://www.palgrave.com/page/Palgrave-discount-codes-terms-and-conditions/

 

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A Fortnight in Religious Statistics

Here are ten religious statistical news stories which have come to BRIN’s attention during the past fortnight.

Religious affiliation: population census (1)

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has just launched a public consultation around its initial view of the content of the 2021 population census for England and Wales. Responses, which can be either from organizations or individuals, need to be submitted by 27 August 2015. They may cover the full range of consultation topics or just the one(s) of particular concern. With regard to religious affiliation, the intention of ONS is to include a question on a voluntary basis, as in 2001 and 2011. In the interests of comparability, it is reluctant to change the actual wording. The consultation document asks respondents how they currently use the census religion data and what the impact on their work would be if such data were no longer collected. It is hoped that BRIN users would wish to support, by responding to ONS, the continued inclusion of a religion question in the census. More details are available by clicking the ‘complete the survey’ link on the consultation website at: 

https://consultations.ons.gov.uk/census/2021-census-topics-consultation

Religious affiliation: population census (2)

Higher education has often been assumed to have a secularizing effect, and the hypothesis is reasserted by James Lewis, ‘Education, Irreligion, and Non-Religion: Evidence from Select Anglophone Census Data’, Journal of Contemporary Religion, Vol. 30, No. 2, 2015, pp. 265-72. Utilizing religious affiliation data from the censuses of Australia in 2006, Canada in 2011, and England and Wales in 2011, he shows that college graduates have an above-average representation among people professing no religion and particularly among atheists, humanists, or agnostics. In England and Wales, for example, 18% of all adults were found to have a bachelor’s or higher degree, but the proportion was 24% for religious ‘nones’, rising to 40% for agnostics, 43% for humanists, and 44% for atheists (the last three categories being write-in replies). For Christians the figure was only 15%. Access options to the article are outlined at:  

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13537903.2015.1025556#.VXnlYOlRHX4

Religious affiliation: British Social Attitudes

As reported by Dr Ben Clements in his BRIN research note of 3 June 2015, NatCen Social Research has recently updated its religious affiliation trend data from the British Social Attitudes (BSA) Surveys. Statistics are now available for every year between 1983, when BSA commenced, and 2014, except for 1988 and 1992. NatCen concludes that the Church of England’s market share has declined throughout this period and appears to have accelerated during the past decade, both relatively and absolutely. It now claims the allegiance of only 17% of British adults compared with 40% in 1983. Whereas there were 16.5 million adult Anglicans in 1983, there were just 8.6 million in 2014. Roman Catholic allegiance has been much steadier, at around one in ten of the population (or 4 million adults), while the number of non-Christians has quintupled. Those professing no religion have risen from one-third to one-half as a proportion, and, in figures, from 12.8 million in 1983 to 24.7 million in 2014. NatCen’s press release is at: 

http://www.natcen.ac.uk/news-media/press-releases/2015/may/british-social-attitudes-church-of-england-decline-has-accelerated-in-past-decade/

Church growth

Towards a Theology of Church Growth, edited by David Goodhew (Farnham: Ashgate, 2015, ISBN 9781472414007, £19.99, paperback) comprises 12 chapters together with a foreword (by the Archbishop of Canterbury) and a conclusion (by the editor). Although numerical growth of the Church (especially of local congregations) is a constant presence in the book, and continues to be regarded as important, the volume is less concerned with statistics (which are remarkably thin on the ground) than with exploring a theology of church growth from the perspectives of the Bible, Christian doctrine, and church history. The historical section contains five essays, ranging from the early Church to Britain from 1750 to 1970, the author of the last (Dominic Erdozain) conceding the reality of church decline while simultaneously proposing ‘a more optimistic account of the Christian ecology of modern Britain’.  Further information can be found at: 

https://www.ashgate.com/default.aspx?page=637&title_id=19791&edition_id=1209349895&calcTitle=1

Religion and physician-assisted suicide

Thanks are due to Dr Ben Clements for drawing BRIN’s attention to some new research into religion and physician-assisted suicide: Andriy Danyliv and Ciaran O’Neill, ‘Attitudes towards Legalising Physician Provided Euthanasia in Britain: The Role of Religion over Time’, Social Science & Medicine, Vol. 128, March 2015, pp. 52-6. Utilizing evidence from the British Social Attitudes (BSA) Surveys for six data-points between 1983 and 2012, the authors demonstrate statistically significant increased support for the legalization of physician-assisted suicide (for patients suffering a painful and incurable disease) running parallel with growth in indicators of secularization. Multivariate analysis showed that religious affiliation and, more especially, frequency of attendance at religious services were the principal predictors of attitudes to physician-assisted suicide, with support for legalization being greatest among those with least religious commitment. Access options to the article are outlined at:  

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953614008387

Attitudes to religious groups

A plurality of Britons (40%) has a negative impression of Muslims, almost double the number regarding them positively (22%), with 37% neutral. This is according to a YouGov/Eurotrack seven-nation survey conducted between 20 and 27 May 2015, for which 1,667 Britons were interviewed online. The number viewing Muslims negatively was higher in Britain than in Germany, Norway, and Sweden, the same as in France, but lower than in Denmark and Finland (45%). 

Jews, by contrast, were regarded much more favourably, with 41% in Britain having a positive impression (a figure bettered only in Sweden), 50% being neutral and just 7% negative (the smallest number of any of the nations, Sweden excepted). In fact, Christians in Britain had a greater negative rating (11%) than Jews, albeit their positive score was also higher (45%), with 42% neutral to Christians. Danes (47%) held the most positive attitudes to Christians and Norwegians (38%) the least. 

A summary of the British data is tabulated below. Results for all seven nations, also covering opinions of five other groups (gypsies, gay people, black people, young people, and the elderly) can be found at: 

https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/g96awulgzv/Eurotrack_Minorities_W.pdf

Attitudes to … (% down)

Muslims

Jews

Christians

Very positive

6

15

17

Fairly positive

16

26

28

Positive

22

41

45

Neither positive nor negative

37

50

42

Fairly negative

24

6

9

Very negative

16

1

2

Negative

40

7

11

Don’t know

2

2

2

Religious diversity

Somewhat contrary to authorial expectations, practising (churchgoing) Christians are more interested in and more tolerant of other religious groups than nominal Christians or the religiously unaffiliated, according to new analysis of data from the ‘Young People’s Attitudes to Religious Diversity’ project at Warwick Religions and Education Research Unit: Leslie Francis, Alice Pyke, and Gemma Penny, ‘Christian Affiliation, Christian Practice, and Attitudes to Religious Diversity: A Quantitative Analysis among 13- to 15-Year-Old Female Students in the UK’, Journal of Contemporary Religion, Vol. 30, No. 2, 2015, pp. 249-63. The authors interpret their findings to mean that Church teaching and Christian practice are nurturing the development of the UK as a multi-cultural and multi-faith society. Access options to the article are outlined at: 

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13537903.2015.1026116#.VXntlulRHX4

Evangelicals and poverty

Good News for the Poor? is the latest report from the Evangelical Alliance’s 21st Century Evangelicals series, which commenced in 2011. It is based upon replies by 1,607 self-identifying evangelical Christians to an online survey in November 2014. They were either members of the Alliance’s self-selecting research panel or recruited via open invitation on the Alliance’s website or social media networks; thus, they may not be representative of all evangelicals in the UK. The overwhelming majority of respondents (93%) was found to be in a financially comfortable position themselves (being either wealthy, having no financial worries, or getting by) and, relative to the general public, they tended to have higher than average expectations about ownership of material possessions (except when it came to television). Through their attitudes and actions (charitable giving and volunteering) they mostly recognized the importance of tackling poverty issues and expressed concern about the fall-out from Government welfare reforms. Nevertheless, 71% agreed that spiritual poverty is a bigger problem than material poverty, with 77% saying that, compared with some overseas countries, the UK is spiritually destitute and 66% that Churches in the UK are not very good at evangelizing and discipling the poorest sections of society. The report can be downloaded from: 

http://www.eauk.org/church/resources/snapshot/upload/Good-news-for-the-poor-report-pdf.pdf

Sikhs and the general election

In our post of 25 May 2015, we reported on the results of the Survation/British Future poll of the voting of ethnic minorities at the 2015 general election, including breaks by religious groups. The reliability of this survey has subsequently been questioned in various quarters, not least by the Sikh Federation (UK) which has argued that Sikhs were seriously underrepresented in the sample and that the figures given by Survation for Sikh voting (49% Conservative, 41% Labour) were misleading. In an attempt to convey the ‘correct’ picture, the Federation has published the findings of its own post-election survey of the voting of 1,000 Sikh electors in 190 constituencies. This revealed that 50% voted Labour, 36% Conservative (up from 15% in 2010), and 15% for other parties. The Federation’s two press releases on the subject can be found at: 

http://dailysikhupdates.com/british-future-survey-challenged-on-how-sikhs-voted-in-uk-elections/

British National Bibliography religion and theology data

Thanks are due to Dr Peter Webster for alerting BRIN to the recent release, by The British Library, of a subset of metadata from the British National Bibliography (BNB) for religion and theology (Dewey Decimal Classification 200-299). The dataset, covering 119,000 monographs and 4,200 serials published in Britain from 1950 to the present, is available for download and reuse on a Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication basis. It will permit analysis of trends in religious publishing since the Second World War and can be downloaded from: 

http://www.bl.uk/bibliographic/download.html

 

Posted in Historical studies, Official data, Religion and Politics, Religion and Social Capital, Religious Census, Survey news | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Socio-Demographic Groups and Religious Affiliation in Britain

The National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) issued an interesting online press release on the 31st May, entitled ‘Church of England decline has accelerated in past decade’. The press release set out some of the main developments in religious affiliation captured in around three decades of the British Social Attitudes (BSA) surveys. The main developments identified were:

 

  • the proportion of those self-identifying as Anglican fell from 40% in 1983 to 17% in 2014;
  • the proportion reporting that they had no religious affiliation increased from 31% in 1983 to 49% in 2014;
  • the figures are broadly stable in terms of the proportions identifying as Catholic (1983: 10%; 2014: 8%) or belonging to the ‘other Christian’ category (1983: 17%; 2014: 17%);
  • the proportion identifying with a non-Christian faith increased from 2 per cent in 1983 to 8% in 2014.

 

The press release also provides, across time, GB adult population estimates for each religious affiliation category. In the adult population, the number of Anglicans declined from 16.5 million in 1983, to 14.3 million in 1994, 13.2 million in 2004, and totalling 8.6 million in 2014.  The press release and accompanying data tables can be found here.

Following on from the changes in the overall religious landscape identified in the NatCen press release, this BRIN post analyses data on the distribution of religious affiliation across socio-demographic groups. It compares data taken from the 1983 and 2013 BSA surveys (the 2014 survey has not yet been released for wider usage through the UK Data Service). The main focus here is the proportions within these socio-demographic groups identifying as Anglican. Comparative data for other religious affiliation categories are provided in the tables below. The categories of religious affiliation used are: Anglican, Catholic, other Christian, other religion, and no religion.

Based on the BSA 1983 survey, Table 1 shows the distribution of religious affiliation within different socio-demographic groups, classified by sex, age, ethnicity and country. Data by English region, based on the 1983 survey, are shown in Table 2. Table 1 shows the proportion that identified as Anglican was higher amongst women (44%) compared to men (35%). There are clear differences based on age in 1983: 16% of those aged 18-24 identified as Anglican compared to 32% of those in the next oldest age group (25-34). The proportion that identified as Anglican amounted to a majority of those aged 65 and over, two-fifths of those aged 35-44, and nearly half of those aged 45-64 years of age. The proportions that identified as Anglican differed markedly based on ethnic group and country (45% in England compared to 30% in Wales and 2% in Scotland).

 

Table 1: Religious affiliation by socio-demographic group, 1983

Anglican (%)

Catholic (%)

Other Christian (%)

No religion (%)

Sex Male

35

10

14

39

Female

44

10

20

25

Age Aged 18-24

16

11

11

57

Aged 25-34

32

10

11

44

Aged 35-44

39

9

17

33

Aged 45-54

46

9

21

24

Aged 55-64

47

12

18

22

Aged 65-74

54

8

21

15

Aged 75+

55

7

27

11

Ethnicity White ethnic group

42

10

17

32

Other ethnic group

12

9

25

29

Country England

45

8

12

32

Wales

30

6

31

31

Scotland

2

22

47

29

Source: BSA 1983.

Note: Percentages sum across the rows and have been rounded. Data for the ‘other religion’ category are not reported.

 

Based on the distribution of religious affiliation across regions in England, shown in Table 2 for the 1983 survey, identification as Anglican was highest in the North East, West Midlands and the South East. It was lowest in East Anglia / Eastern England.

 

Table 2: Religious affiliation by English region, 1983

Region

Anglican

(%)

Catholic

(%)

Other Christian

(%)

No religion

(%)

North East

50

15

12

17

North West

43

16

13

28

Yorkshire and Humberside

41

7

8

45

West Midlands

52

5

12

29

East Midlands

42

6

7

40

East Anglia / Eastern England

32

8

17

42

South West

45

3

17

35

South East

52

5

13

29

Greater London (inner and outer)

42

12

14

27

Source: BSA 1983.

Note: Percentages sum across the rows and have been rounded. Data for the ‘other religion’ category are not reported.

 

Turning to more contemporary data in Table 3, taken from the BSA 2013 survey, it is apparent that the proportions identifying as Anglican have fallen across all socio-demographic groups. The marked age differential is still present. While just 3% and 4% of those in the 18-24 and 25-34 age groups, respectively, identify as Anglican, this steadily increases to more a third of those aged 65-74 (36%) and 75 and over (35%). Women (19%) are again more likely than men (13%) to report an Anglican affiliation, as are those from a white ethnic group and those living in England (18%, compared to 13% in Wales and 1% in Scotland).

 

Table 3: Religious affiliation by socio-demographic group, 2013

Anglican (%)

Catholic (%)

Other Christian

(%)

Other religion

(%)

No religion (%)

Sex Male

13

8

14

8

57

Female

19

10

19

8

44

Age Aged 18-24

3

6

11

10

69

Aged 25-34

4

8

17

12

60

Aged 35-44

9

11

14

10

56

Aged 45-54

16

10

15

6

54

Aged 55-64

21

10

16

8

46

Aged 65-74

36

8

19

4

34

Aged 75+

35

9

29

3

24

Ethnicity White ethnic group

18

9

16

2

55

Other ethnic group

4

9

19

51

18

Country England

18

9

16

9

49

Wales

13

4

22

4

56

Scotland

1

13

23

1

61

Source: BSA 2013.

Note: Percentages sum across the rows and have been rounded.

 

Finally, Table 4 shows the distribution of religious affiliation across English regions in the 2013 survey. Anglican identification amounts to between a fifth and a quarter in the West and East Midlands, and in the South West and South East; being lowest in Greater London, at 7% (which, across regions, has the highest proportion identifying with a non-Christian religion).

 

 

Table 4: Religious affiliation by English region, 2013

 Region

Anglican

(%)

Catholic (%)

Other Christian

(%)

Other religion

(%)

No religion

(%)

North East

15

8

13

2

63

North West

19

12

14

4

42

Yorkshire and Humberside

17

8

14

7

55

West Midlands

23

8

17

8

45

East Midlands

23

6

18

3

50

East Anglia / Eastern England

18

8

14

7

54

South West

22

6

16

2

55

South East

21

8

15

5

49

Greater London (inner and outer)

7

11

18

21

43

Source: BSA 2013.

Note: Percentages sum across the rows and have been rounded.

 

Delving into the detail of religious affiliation across socio-demographic groups in Britain shows consistency over time in terms of within which groups Anglican affiliation has been and is more common. The variation by age is particularly marked. Anglican affiliation is most common amongst those aged 65-74 and 75 and over. In the former group, however, it is nearly matched by the proportion who say they do not have any religious affiliation. Amongst the 18-24, 25-34 and 35-44 age groups, less than a tenth identify as Anglican. In each case, a clear majority has no religious affiliation (highest at around seven in ten of those aged 18-24).

Posted in Research note, Survey news | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Good Death and Other News

 

Good death

Time was when religion was the cardinal attribute of a ‘good death’. But no more, it seems, according to a ComRes survey for the National Council for Palliative Care published on 18 May 2015, for which 2,016 adult Britons were interviewed online on 29-30 April. Asked to rank six factors in terms of importance for ensuring a ‘good death’, only 5% put ‘having your religious/spiritual needs met’ in first position while 60% placed it last, the mean score being 5.27 out of six. The next score was 3.68 for being involved in decisions about end-of-life care, and the lowest of all (and thus the most popular option) was 2.33 for being pain free. Indeed, for 33% the top priority was being pain free, for 17% being with family and friends, and for 13% retaining one’s dignity. There were comparatively few variations by demographics, apart from in London where having religious/spiritual needs met was the most important factor for 11%, although even here 47% rated it least significant. Data tables are available at: 

http://www.comres.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/National-Council-for-Palliative-Care_Public-opinion-on-death-and-dying.pdf

Geographical knowledge

They may be among the most iconic landmarks in the country, but a significant minority of Brits are unable to recognize Canterbury Cathedral and St Paul’s Cathedral as being in the UK. This is according to a poll of 2,000 adults conducted on behalf of Mercure Hotels and published on 22 May 2015. Shown pictures of a number of famous locations, and given multiple choice answers, 65% correctly identified St Paul’s Cathedral but 28% confused it with The Vatican and 6% thought it was somewhere else. Canterbury Cathedral was recognized by 82% but 15% claimed it was Notre Dame in Paris, with 2% suggesting other places. A similar lack of knowledge was displayed for more secular landmarks. No data tables are available, and this summary is taken from the report at:   

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-3091436/Great-Stupid-Britain-New-survey-finds-Brits-think-Brighton-Pavilion-Taj-Mahal-Mr-Darcy-s-Pemberley-real-stately-home-St-Paul-s-Vatican.html

Meanwhile …

St Paul’s Cathedral, Sir Christopher Wren’s masterpiece, has been voted the nation’s favourite building in a survey for UKTV published on 21 May 2015, for which 2,000 adults aged 18 and over were interviewed online by OnePoll during April. St Paul’s Cathedral attracted a vote of 38%, with Stonehenge and the Houses of Parliament in second and third places (with 30% and 26%, respectively). Other ecclesiastical buildings to make the top 20 were Westminster Abbey (eighth, 14%), Durham Cathedral (eleventh, 8%), and King’s College Chapel, Cambridge (fourteenth, 8%). St Paul’s Cathedral also topped the poll for being the most impressive feat of design in the country, being voted for by 68%, almost double the figure for Westminster Abbey (38%). No data tables have been released, but UKTV’s press release can be found at: 

http://corporate.uktv.co.uk/news/article/nations-favourite-buildings-revealed/

Faith-based social action

The latest attempt to quantify faith-based social action was published by the Cinnamon Network on 20 May 2015: Cinnamon Faith Action Audit National Report. It derives from an online survey of 4,440 local churches and other faith groups in 57 locations throughout the UK in February 2015, of which 2,110 responded saying they were actively working to support their local community; 94% of them were Christian. These 2,110 groups were mobilizing 139,600 volunteers and 9,177 paid staff to benefit 3,494,634 individuals in 2014 through 16,068 projects with a total financial value of £235 million (including a calculation of volunteer hours at the living wage level). Scaled up for the 60,761 faith groups in the UK, faith-based social action is estimated by the Cinnamon Network to be worth over £3 billion per annum and to support over 47 million beneficiaries. However, it should be noted that the sample was recruited through the invitation of local champions and may not be statistically representative. The report is available at:  

http://www.cinnamonnetwork.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Final-National-Report.pdf

Ethnic minorities and the general election

Black and minority ethnic (BME) Britons have traditionally favoured the Labour Party, but one-third voted for the Conservatives in the 2015 general election (held on 7 May), according to a Survation poll for British Future conducted among an online sample of 2,067 BMEs between 8 and 15 May 2015. Voting by religious groups (for the 79% of the sample who voted) is tabulated below, from which it will be seen that the Conservatives especially appealed to Buddhist, Hindu, and Sikh electors, Labour to Muslims, and the smaller parties to Buddhists and the non-religious. British Future’s press release of 25 May 2015 is available at: 

http://www.britishfuture.org/articles/ethnic-minority-votes-up-for-grabs/

Full data tables can be found at:

http://survation.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/BFBME-Tables-25-05-15.pdf 

% across

Conservative

Labour

Other parties

All BMEs

33

52

15

Christian

31

56

13

Muslim

25

64

11

Buddhist

54

25

21

Hindu

49

41

10

Sikh

49

41

10

Not religious

26

50

24

Young people and Muslims

There is significant negativity toward Muslims on the part of young people, according to findings from a study of 5,945 10-16-year-olds at 60 English schools in 2012-14 and published by Show Racism the Red Card (SRTRC) on 19 May 2015. This is associated with an exaggerated notion of the size of the Muslim presence in England, the average estimate by pupils being 36% of the population, seven times the real figure. Questionnaires had been sent to schools ahead of visits by the SRTRC team, and, although the sample is not claimed as being representative, the ethnic and religious profile is said to broadly match the 2011 census.  

Summary data have been published by The Guardian at: 

http://www.theguardian.com/education/2015/may/19/most-children-think-immigrants-are-stealing-jobs-schools-study-shows

They reveal that: 

  • 42% acknowledge there are poor relations between Muslims and non-Muslims
  • 41% view forced marriages as being common in Islam
  • 31% agree that Muslims are taking over England
  • 29% think Muslim women are oppressed
  • 26% believe Islam encourages terrorism and extremism
  • 19% disagree that Muslims make a positive contribution to English society
  • 14% disagree that Islam is a peaceful religion

Slightly different figures are quoted in the SRTRC press release at: 

http://www.srtrc.org/news/news-and-events?news=5776

Islamic State

There has been limited British polling of attitudes to Islamic State (IS) thus far this year, doubtless because of pollsters’ preoccupation with the general election campaign but also perhaps because of a perception that IS has suffered some setbacks (until very recently, that is). However, a YouGov survey published on 22 May 2015, and conducted online among 1,494 Britons on 18-19 May, has found that 50% of all adults (and 63% of over-60s) assess that IS has become more powerful over the past six months and only 5% less, with 32% detecting its position as stable. Although only 33% are aware for certain that the RAF is currently taking part in air strikes against IS, 59% approve of such RAF participation and 55% would like to see it scaled up (men particularly so, 67%). Full data tables, minus breaks by voting intention (which seem to have all but disappeared from pollsters’ websites following their poor performance in the general election, now the subject of independent audit), are available via the link in the blog post at: 

https://yougov.co.uk/news/2015/05/23/public-back-raf-air-strikes-worry-isis-winning/

Anti-Semitism

On 13 May 2015 the Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR) published an important 32-page policy paper summarizing some (but by no means all) recent research into British anti-Semitism and outlining the principles of a future research strategy in this area: Jonathan Boyd and L. Daniel Staetsky, Could it Happen Here? What Existing Data Tell Us about Contemporary Antisemitism in the UK. The paper covers: a) the attitudes of non-Jews toward Jews, principally on the basis of surveys undertaken by the Pew Global Attitudes Project and the Anti-Defamation League and of anti-Semitic incidents recorded by the Community Security Trust (CST); b) Jewish responses to anti-Semitism, taken from the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) studies and the JPR’s 2013 National Jewish Community Survey; and c) an analysis of the perpetrators of anti-Semitism, mainly from CST and FRA data. The report is available for download at: 

http://www.jpr.org.uk/documents/JPR.2015.Policy_Debate_-_Contemporary_Antisemitism.pdf

To quote JPR: ‘The report demonstrates that existing data present a complex and multi-faceted picture of reality, proving some existing hypotheses beyond any reasonable doubt, but challenging others. It further maintains that research data on antisemitism in the UK vary in quality, and many of the outputs seem to generate far more heat than light. It argues that much more work needs to be done in coordinating research efforts, maximising the value of existing datasets, focusing on the areas of greatest concern, and ensuring that any data collected and analysed are strongly concentrated on the most important issues: understanding the threat, assessing whether it is growing, declining or stable, and providing genuine policy insights for international, national and Jewish communal leaders, as well as Jews more generally.’ Significantly, there is no mention here of non-Jewish (including academic) audiences for research data in this field. 

Reflections on religious surveys

Abdul-Azim Ahmed reflects on the utility (and pitfalls) of sample surveys on religion and belief in a post on the On Religion blog on 5 May 2015 at: 

http://www.onreligion.co.uk/7-out-of-10-people-are-sick-of-surveys/

 

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The 2015 General Election: Religious Affiliation and Party Vote Share Across Constituencies

As the weekend round-up of religious news on BRIN flagged up, the British Election Study (BES) 2015 has released the first version of the 2015 general election results dataset. This dataset (and the accompanying documentation) can be obtained here. Across parliamentary constituencies, the dataset includes the vote share for each party at the 2015 general election. It also includes religious affiliation data from the most recent English and Welsh census and and Scottish census (2011). The religious affiliation data are available in separate variables measuring the proportion in each of the following categories: Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, other religion, no religion, not stated. Using this dataset we can perform some basic analysis of this aggregate level data – that is, across constituencies – to look at the association between religious affiliation and party vote share at the general election.

The results are reported in the table below. This reports the correlation coefficients for the bivariate associations between three of the religious affiliation indicators (% Christian, % Muslim, % No religion) and four party vote share categories (% Con, % Lab, % Lib Dem and % UKIP). These coefficients indicate the direction and strength of the association between two variables. They can range in value from -1 to +1. A positive value indicates that as one variable increases in value, the other variable also increases in value. A negative value indicates that as the value of one variable goes up, the value of the other variable goes down. The larger the (positive or negative) value, the stronger is the association between the two variables.

When undertaking and reporting this sort of analysis, two points are particularly important to bear in mind. First, as Denver et al (2012), pp. 36-37) make clear, correlation coefficients cannot tell us whether variation in one variable (here, level of religious affiliation) causes the variation in another variable (here, party vote share). They can only show the extent to which two variables are associated – that is, whether they increase or decrease in value together (they are positively correlated); or whether as one increases in value, the other decreases in value (they are negatively correlated)). Secondly, as Denver et al (2012) also caution, given that we are looking at aggregate-level data (based on information pertaining to the constituency-level) we cannot conclude from these data that the same association is present amongst individuals within constituencies (to presume this to be this case would be an ‘ecological fallacy’).

 

Religious affiliation and party vote share at the 2015 general election: Bivariate correlations

Party vote share

Religious affiliation

% Conservative

%

Labour

%

Lib Dem

%

UKIP

% Christian

.33

-.27

-.03 (n/s)

.43

% Muslim

-.29

.50

-.10

-.23

% No religion

-.16

-.29

.16

-.14

Number of constituencies

632

631

631

614

Source: British Election Study 2015 Constituency Results.

Note: ‘(n/s)’ indicates a coefficient that is not statistically significant. All other coefficients are statistically significant.

 

All of the correlation coefficients are statistically significant, with the exception of the association between Christian affiliation and Lib Dem vote share, but their magnitudes clear vary. The correlation coefficients for Christian affiliation indicate that it is positively-associated with Conservative and UKIP vote share and negatively-associated with Labour vote share. The correlation coefficients for Muslim affiliation show negative associations with the vote shares of Conservative, Lib Dem and UKIP, but a positive association with Labour vote share. For no religion, at the constituency level there are negative associations with the vote shares of Conservative, Labour and UKIP and a positive association with Lib Dem vote share. As the magnitudes of the coefficients show, the strongest association is between Muslim affiliation and Labour vote share,  and – interestingly – followed by that between Christian affiliation and UKIP vote share (and thus higher than that obtained for Christian affiliation and Conservative vote share).

Finally, it should be noted that variation in other constituency-level indicators – such as socio-economic circumstances or ethnic group composition - is often associated with variation in party vote share.

An analysis of religious affiliation and vote choice at the general election at the individual-level will be posted when suitable BES post-election data become available.

References

British Election Study 2015 Constituency Results.

Denver, D., Carman, C. and Johns, R (2012), Elections and Voters in Britain. 3rd edition. Basingstoke: Palgrave, pp. 36-37.

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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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Religion and Political Attitudes: The British Election Study 2015, Internet Panel – Wave 4

This post provides a summary of findings relating to religion and political attitudes, based on a selection of questions taken from Wave 4 of the BES 2015 internet panel study (fieldwork was conducted online between 6-13 March 2015). The analysis is based on the beta version of the survey dataset (which can be obtained here), using the core sample from Wave 4. The questions looked at encompass party support, ideology and policy debates. Each table presented below looks at attitudes on the basis of religious affiliation using a parsimonious set of categories (Anglican, Catholic, other Christian, other religion, no religion). A previous analysis of religion and attitudes based on data from Wave One of the BES 2015 study is available here. 

Party Support

Table 1 provides a breakdown of party identification by affiliation. A question on party identification has featured in the BES surveys since their inception in 1963. Note the greater propensity for Anglicans to report that they identify with the Conservative Party, in keeping with their traditional loyalty to this party at the polls; Catholics are more likely to identify with Labour, again in accordance with traditional patterns of denominational voting. Other Christians are more evenly split between the Conservative and Labour parties, as are those with no affiliation. The other religion group shows a greater propensity to support Labour.

Table 1: Current party identification by religious affiliation

 

Anglican (%)

Catholic (%)

Other Christian (%)

Other religion (%)

No religion (%)

Con

39.3

27.6

26.2

19.5

23.0

Lab

30.8

40.2

29.4

33.9

28.4

Lib Dem

7.8

6.4

11.5

9.7

10.3

UKIP

4.8

3.9

3.5

3.6

3.6

Other party

1.3

5.9

11.5

7.5

7.9

None

12.4

12.0

14.6

18.5

21.8

Don’t know

3.5

4.0

3.4

7.3

4.9

Source: BES 2015 Internet Panel Study – Wave 4, core sample.

Note: Percentages sum down the columns.

Using another way of gauging party support, Table 2 shows the average scores based on a series of scales measuring like or dislike (scores for four parties are shown here). Higher scores equate to more likeability. In keeping with the pattern from Table 1, Anglicans have the highest likeability score for the Conservative Party, while Catholics and other religions show the highest likability scores for Labour. Other Christians register identical scores for the Conservatives and Labour. Those with no affiliation show a clear preference for Labour over the Conservatives. The Lib Dems and UKIP generally receive lower likeability scores, though Anglicans are more favourable to the latter compared to other groups.

Table 2: Like-dislike for political parties, by religious affiliation (mean scores)

 

Anglican

Catholic

Other Christian

Other religion

No religion

Con

4.84

4.03

4.15

3.89

3.55

Lab

4.27

4.94

4.15

4.80

4.50

Lib Dem

3.13

3.21

3.37

3.32

3.36

UKIP

3.81

3.24

2.91

2.83

2.69

Source: BES 2015 Internet Panel Study – Wave 4, core sample.

Note: 0 to 10 scale, where 0=strongly dislike and 10=strongly like.

Ideology and Policy

Table 3 reports the mean scores from two scales measuring ideological self-placement, one for left-right position and the other for redistribution. Note that higher scores indicate, respectively, a more right-wing position and a stance that the government should be less concerned with redistribution. Anglicans have the highest scores on the left-right and redistribution scale – they are relatively more right-wing and less in favour of redistribution. Those with no affiliation have the least right-wing score. Catholics, other Christians and those with no religion have very similar scores for the redistribution scale, all slightly higher than that registered for other religions.

Table 3: Ideological self-placement, by religious affiliation (mean scores)

Anglican 

Catholic 

Other Christian 

Other religion 

No religion 

Left- right scale

5.75

5.16

5.19

4.97

4.65

Redistribution scale

4.78

4.34

4.32

4.19

4.30

Source: BES 2015 Internet Panel Study – Wave 4, core sample.

Note: Scales range from 0 to 10.

Left-right: 0=left; 10=right.

Redistribution: 0=government should try to make incomes equal; 10=government should be less concerned about equal incomes.

Table 4 shows the proportions agreeing with a series of statements used to measures left-right attitudes. These statements are long-running items in the BES and British Social Attitudes surveys (and the full wordings are shown underneath Table 4). In each case, the ‘left-wing’ response is reported. Most of the statements elicit large majorities in agreement, lowest for the question on redistribution. However, the responses do not tend to show much variation in levels of agreement across groups.

Table 4: Left-right questions: Percent agreeing, by religious affiliation

 

Anglican (%)

Catholic (%)

Other Christian (%)

Other religion (%)

No religion (%)

Redistribute income

47.1

51.2

50.7

55.3

52.5

Big business

75.5

77.4

75.0

73.9

75.4

Fair share

71.2

75.8

71.0

68.5

70.9

One law

68.9

74.6

69.2

66.0

70.5

Management and workers

68.8

69.3

67.8

63.7

65.4

Source: BES 2015 Internet Panel Study – Wave 4, core sample.

Note: Combines ‘strongly agree’ and ‘agree’ responses.

Questions:

Government should redistribute income from the better-off to those who are less well off.

Big business benefits owners at the expense of workers.

Ordinary working people do not get their fair share of the nation’s wealth.

There is one law for the rich and one for the poor.

Management will always try to get the better of employees if it gets the chance.

Attitudes differ more on the basis of affiliation in relation to questions concerning libertarian-authoritarian orientations (again a long-running feature of the BES and BSA surveys). Levels of agreement with five statements are reported in Table 5 (the wording is again provided underneath), and are generally high across questions. Anglicans are most in favour of the death penalty (with support lowest amongst other religions and those with no religion). Those with no religion are least likely to support the use of censorship and, along with the other religion group, are somewhat less authoritarian in their views on traditional values, obeying authority and the use of tougher sentences.

Table 5: Libertarian-authoritarian questions: Percent agreeing, by religious affiliation

 

Anglican (%)

Catholic (%)

Other Christian (%)

Other religion (%)

No religion (%)

Traditional values

82.1

75.8

72.3

65.1

62.6

Death penalty

65.7

53.7

54.7

49.9

50.8

Obey authority

86.0

84.0

80.4

64.8

69.3

Censorship

65.1

56.7

63.0

47.0

39.8

Stiffer sentences

83.4

80.1

75.9

63.0

67.7

Source: BES 2015 Internet Panel Study – Wave 4, core sample.

Note: Combines ‘strongly agree’ and ‘agree’ responses.

Questions:

Young people today don’t have enough respect for traditional British values.

For some crimes, the death penalty is the most appropriate sentence.

Schools should teach children to obey authority.

Censorship of films and magazines is necessary to uphold moral standards.

People who break the law should be given stiffer sentences.

Table 6 shows the full set of responses to two questions on welfare, a policy area which recently – and in earlier decades – has seen faith leaders publicly critical of government policy, stoking debate about the exercise of religious authority in the political process. Table 6 shows that a clear majority in each group agrees that too many people like to rely on government handouts (lowest for the other religion group). Always a minority view, disagreement is lowest amongst Anglicans and highest amongst those with no affiliation.

Table 6: Too many people these days like to rely on government handouts, by religious affiliation

Anglican (%)

Catholic (%)

Other Christian (%)

Other religion (%)

No religion (%)

Strongly agree or agree

72.1

67.6

66.4

56.0

60.1

Neither

13.8

12.9

15.8

19.1

16.2

Disagree or strongly disagree

12.3

16.7

14.8

16.5

20.9

Don’t know

1.8

2.8

2.9

8.4

2.7

Source: BES 2015 Internet Panel Study – Wave 4, core sample.

Finally, turning to equality issues, Table 7 shows the proportions saying that equal opportunities for ethnic minorities, women or gays and lesbians have gone (much) too far. This view is much more likely to be held in relation to ethnic minorities and gays and lesbians. The proportions with this opinion are much lower for equal opportunities for women. Those with no religion are least likely to think that equal opportunities have gone too far for gays and lesbians, while those belonging to other religions are least likely say this in relation to ethnic minorities.

Table 7: Attitudes towards equal opportunities: Percent saying gone too far, by religious affiliation

Anglican (%)

Catholic (%)

Other Christian (%)

Other religion (%)

No religion (%)

Ethnic minorities

48.2

42.8

43.8

27.8

35.0

Women

12.9

13.8

14.9

16.5

11.2

Gays and lesbians

36.2

29.8

40.5

32.5

19.9

Source: BES 2015 Internet Panel Study – Wave 4, core sample.

Note: Combines ‘gone too far’ and ‘gone much too far’ responses.

A future BRIN post will look at how religious groups voted in the 2015 general election, when suitable post-election data from the BES 2015 become available.

Reference

Fieldhouse, E., J. Green., G. Evans., H. Schmitt, and C. van der Eijk (2014) Preliminary British Election Study Internet Panel Wave 4.

Further reading

Clements, B. (2015), Religion and Public Opinion in Britain: Continuity and Change. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

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Religion and the General Election

 

With the 2015 general election only four days away, on 7 May, a round-up of recent research on religion and politics in Britain seems appropriate. Here we report on several new stories and remind BRIN readers of other pertinent research which we have covered in posts during the past few weeks.

Density of religious groups

Several attempts have been made to assess the potential impact of the ‘religious vote’ by examining the density of religious groups in individual parliamentary constituencies, as recorded in the 2011 population census, and comparing it with constituency-level voting patterns at the 2010 general election, especially in the light of the size of the majority obtained by the successful candidate five years ago. 

General

A multi-group analysis is offered in a new 28-page briefing paper published by the Henry Jackson Society on 30 April 2015: Alan Mendoza, Religious Diversity in British Parliamentary Constituencies. In a series of maps and tables it charts the density of nine major religions groups (Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Hindus, other religion, no religion, and religion not stated) in each of Britain’s 632 parliamentary constituencies (Northern Ireland is not covered), set alongside political data from the 2010 general election. The religious and political composition of 193 marginal seats is particularly investigated. It is concluded that the five principal minority religions are likely to have a greater impact on the electoral outcome of marginal seats than in constituencies overall. For example, in 47% of marginals the number of Muslims is greater than the margin of victory in 2010, the equivalent figures for Hindus being 21% of marginals, for Sikhs 13%, for Buddhists 8%, and for Jews 6%. In all, there are 93 marginals where the number of one or more of the five main minority religions outweighs the margin of victory. However, it is argued that the impact will be lessened by the fact that religious minorities will probably not vote in a uniform way, with religion being only one determinant of their political behaviour, a topic to which the Henry Jackson Society promises to return in future. The report can be downloaded from: 

http://henryjacksonsociety.org/2015/04/30/religious-diversity-in-british-parliamentary-constituencies/

Jews

On 29 April 2015, the day before the Henry Jackson Society’s briefing, the Institute for Jewish Policy Research published Where Jewish Votes May Matter Most: The Institute for Jewish Policy Research Guide to the 2015 General Election in the UK by Jonathan Boyd. Although Jews form less than half a per cent of the population of the whole country, they tend to be spatially clustered. In his report Boyd profiles the 20 English and Welsh constituencies with the largest number of Jews, showing that there are just five where Jews comprise more than 10% of the electorate and six in which Jews are the largest religious minority. He argues that it is only mathematically possible in eight to ten constituencies for Jews to be able to overturn the existing majority (assuming no change in non-Jewish voting), and in four of these cases it would require a level of uniformity in Jewish voting patterns that is, statistically, improbable. He concludes that the two constituencies in which Jews are most likely to play a key role at the general election are Hendon (Conservative in 2010) and Hampstead and Kilburn (Labour in 2010) where a combination of the size of the Jewish population and the tiny majorities of the outgoing MPs creates a situation where how Jews decide to vote could be critical. The particularly large Jewish communities in Finchley and Golders Green, Bury South, and Harrow East could also be influential, Boyd suggests, since, in all three instances, Jews exceed the size of the 2010 electoral majority. The 23-page report can be downloaded from: 

http://www.jpr.org.uk/documents/JPR.Where_Jewish_votes_may_matter_most.Guide_to_2015_General_Election.pdf

Muslims

The Muslim News seems to have somewhat updated its analysis of parliamentary seats where Muslims may be influential, which BRIN originally covered in our post of 5 February 2015. The newspaper claims that the Muslim vote could be important in as many as 40 constituencies in England, 39 of them held by Labour or priority Labour targets. Of the 40, 25 are classed as marginal seats, which are profiled in detail, and 15 as safe seats. In all, there are said to be 80 constituencies where Muslims exceed 10% of the residents. For more information, and a link to the methodology employed, see:

http://www.muslimnews.co.uk/blog/seats-where-muslims-are-influential/

Voting of religious groups

There has long been a debate about whether a ‘religious vote’ still exists in Britain. Here we present some recent evidence about the correlation of religion and intended voting. However, it should be remembered that correlation does not equate with causation, and that underlying differential demographics of religious groups doubtless contribute to the results described. Eliza Filby (author of the book God & Mrs Thatcher) has a new essay on the religious vote on the Standpoint magazine blog. She concludes that such a vote continues to matter but asks for how much longer? See:      

http://www.standpointmag.co.uk/features-may-2015-eliza-filby-is-there-such-a-thing-as-a-religious-vote?

General

The British Election Study (BES) 2015, a consortium of the Universities of Manchester, Oxford, and Nottingham, will ultimately be a vital source of information about the interaction of religion and politics. The BES 2015 internet panel, now in its fourth wave, is likely to be especially revealing. BRIN expects to report on this more fully in the future, but readers might recall the preliminary analysis of wave 1 (February-March 2014) data on religion and voting which Ben Clements published on the BRIN website on 17 October 2014 at: 

http://www.brin.ac.uk/news/2014/the-british-election-study-2015-religious-affiliation-and-attitudes/

Meanwhile, the most current data on voting intentions by religious groups derive from two online polls conducted by Populus (n = 2,048, 17-19 April 2015) and ORB International (n = 2,051, 22-23 April 2015). Summary figures are tabulated below, for the four main political parties only, also excluding those who said they would not vote, declined to answer, or did not know. It will be seen that Christians are disproportionately Conservative and UKIP supporters, non-Christians disproportionately Labour, with almost two-fifths of no religionists favouring smaller parties or not declaring their hand. Full data tables are available at, respectively: 

http://www.populus.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/FT-Economy-Qs-200415.pdf

http://www.opinion.co.uk/perch/resources/omopinion-poll.pdf

% down

Populus

ORB

Christians

 

 

Conservative

32

31

Labour

23

24

LibDem

7

5

UKIP

14

18

Non-Christians

 

 

Conservative

16

29

Labour

51

43

LibDem

8

4

UKIP

4

4

No religion

 

 

Conservative

16

17

Labour

28

28

LibDem

7

7

UKIP

10

10

All electors

 

 

Conservative

25

25

Labour

26

27

LibDem

7

5

UKIP

12

14

Anglicans

An online poll by YouGov of 5,552 self-identifying Anglicans between 1 and 28 March 2015 recorded their current voting intention (excluding don’t knows and would not votes, and taking into account likelihood to vote) as: Conservative 48% (national average 34%), Labour 27% (national average 34%), Liberal Democrats 6% (national average 7%), UKIP 16% (national average 14%), and other parties 3% (national average 11%). Anglicans thus remain disproportionately Conservative. Data table at:

http://cdn.yougov.com/cumulus_uploads/document/7wu1rrot0u/Final_Church_Times_Religious_Voting_Intention_Website.pdf

Roman Catholics

According to the same YouGov poll, which also interviewed 1,574 self-identifying Catholics, they remain disproportionately Labour, the pattern of voting intentions being: Conservative 31%, Labour 42%, Liberal Democrats 4%, UKIP 12%, and other parties 10%.  

Jews

A Survation telephone poll of 566 self-identifying British Jews on 2-7 April 2015 revealed that a substantial majority (69%) was Conservative, with 22% Labour, and no more than 9% for all other parties. Their pro-Conservative stance doubtless reflected their relatively affluent status, but it also appears to have been determined by perspectives on Israel and the Middle East, a policy area where the Conservative Party in general and David Cameron in particular have a clear edge over Labour. For a fuller report, see the BRIN post of 12 April 2015 at: 

http://www.brin.ac.uk/news/2015/religion-and-public-affairs/

Muslims

Conventionally-sized polls include too few Muslims to be statistically reliable. However, occasionally large-scale political surveys are conducted or created by aggregation which include a respectable number of Muslims. Two such examples were the online polls from Populus on 4-27 February 2015 and Lord Ashcroft on 20-27 February 2015 which included, respectively, 331 and 170 Muslim electors. In both studies three-fifths of Muslims favoured Labour (partly a function of class-based voting) and fewer than one in ten the Conservatives, with the Liberal Democrats on 3%. BRIN’s post of 8 March 2015 contains further details and links at: 

http://www.brin.ac.uk/news/2015/religious-voting-intentions-and-other-news/

Churches as polling places

Of the UK’s 31,855 polling places 5,967 (or 19%) are located in church buildings, according to research released by the National Churches Trust (NCT) on 29 April 2015. The proportion varies by sub-nation and region, ranging from 25% in Greater London down to 12% in Scotland and Northern Ireland (with 20% in Wales and 19% in England as a whole). Constituency-level variations are even greater; for instance, in Sheffield Hallam (seat of Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats) two-fifths of polling places are in church buildings. Figures are based on information collected from local authorities during the last UK-wide election, for the European Parliament in May 2014. A number of non-Christian places of worship also serve as polling places but the NCT did not analyse these. The NCT’s press release is at: 

http://www.nationalchurchestrust.org/news/church-buildings-play-vital-role-2015-general-election

 

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Britain Uncovered and Other News

 

Britain uncovered

The recent ‘Britain Uncovered’ poll commissioned by The Observer from Opinium Research, among an online sample of 1,019 adults, included several questions of religious interest. The proportion associating with any religion was 61%, albeit significantly lower among those self-defining as left-wing (49%) as right-wing (71%), with 17% identifying as agnostics and 21% as atheists. However, only 29% of those associating with a religion said that they actively practised it, for example by attending services, equivalent to 18% of the entire population. Of the whole sample, 61% agreed, and just 15% disagreed, that religion is a negative influence in the world rather than a force for good. Two-thirds (65%) acknowledged that Islamophobia is common in Britain, and 48% definitely and 31% probably believed that, in the light of Islamist extremism, British Muslims should make a special effort to state their allegiance to the country. Full data tables from the survey are not yet online; the following details have been abstracted from the summary at: 

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/apr/19/britain-uncovered-survey-attitudes-beliefs-britons-2015

Religion of parliamentary candidates

A poll by Whitehouse Consulting of 225 parliamentary candidates for marginal seats in the forthcoming general election has revealed that 42% did not identify as members of any religious faith, with 34% claiming to be atheists (including half of Labour Party and Green Party candidates). Just 16% identified themselves as belonging to the Church of England, albeit this rose to 41% of Conservative and 27% of UKIP candidates. Overall, belief in a deity ran at 37%. A press release about the poll was issued on 17 April 2015 at:

http://www.whitehouseconsulting.co.uk/survey-shows-marginal-seat-candidates-will-be-white-male-and-only-somewhat-religious/

Religiosity and voting

In our post of 12 April 2015, we highlighted findings from an analysis of religious affiliation and voting intention undertaken by YouGov for the Church Times on the basis of online interviews with 36,579 electors between 1 and 28 March 2015. The study confirmed that professing Anglicans are disproportionately likely to favour the Conservative Party and Roman Catholics the Labour Party. Further investigation of the same dataset by self-assessed religiosity has now revealed that, excluding the 13% who did not know how they would vote and the 6% who said they would not vote at all, the Conservatives are more likely than average to attract people who describe themselves as religious and the smaller parties those who regard themselves as non-religious. The results are tabulated below:

% down

All

Religious

Non-religious

Conservative

34

42

29

Labour

34

31

34

Liberal Democrat

7

6

8

UKIP

14

14

15

Other parties

11

7

13

Further statistics are available at:

http://cdn.yougov.com/cumulus_uploads/document/7wu1rrot0u/Final_Church_Times_Religious_Voting_Intention_Website.pdf

Would you buy a used car from … ?

The public standing, including the perceived trustworthiness, of clergy and priests has taken a bit of a tumble during recent decades. So much so that only one in four of the 300 people questioned by Gorkana Surveys for the vehicle data firm HPI said that they would most trust a vicar to sell them a used car in the private market. The good news, however, is that no other profession fared any better, even motor mechanics getting only a 19% vote of confidence. A blog about the survey was published by HPI on 20 April 2015 at: 

https://blog.hpicheck.com/2015/04/20/trusting-sellers/#more-1797

Clergy dyads

Fresh light is shed on the incidence and patterns of ministry of clergy married to clergy in the Church of England in a new article by Susie Collingridge, ‘Patterns of Ministry of Clergy Married to Clergy in the Church of England’, Journal of Anglican Studies, Vol. 13, No. 1, May 2015, pp. 68-91. Using the online edition of Crockford’s Clerical Directory in early 2013 as her source, she identified the number of such clergy as 26% greater than previous estimates, at 1,160, of whom 994 were active in the ministry, equivalent to 5% of all active Anglican clergy. However, she also found that a higher than normal proportion of clergy married to clergy (20%) were in non-parochial roles such as chaplains, and that it was very rare in clergy marriages for wives to hold more senior positions than their husbands. The article can be accessed via institutional subscription or pay-per-view at: 

http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=9652924&fulltextType=RA&fileId=S1740355314000205

Gender equality in the Church in Wales

The meeting of the Governing Body of the Church in Wales in Llandrindod Wells on 15-16 April 2015 considered a Report of the Working Group Appointed by the Standing Committee to Review Representation of Women in the Church in Wales, 2015. Having analysed statistics of gender balance among candidates for the ministry, current clergy, holders of senior clerical posts, clergy presiding at cathedral services, members of diocesan boards of finance, and members of provincial committees, the report concluded that: 

  • There is great difference between dioceses in the representation of women
  • There are few senior appointments held by women and women are not even occupying the posts which would be expected to act as the first stage in achieving a senior post
  • Equality of representation on committees has not been achieved and early progress has not been maintained
  • A number of the Cathedrals do not have women either as part of the ministry team or on their Chapters

The report can be found at: 

http://cinw.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/10-RepresentationWomen.pdf

Edward Bailey (1935-2015) 

Revd Professor Edward Ian Bailey, who initiated the formal study of implicit religion (the concept of ‘secular faith’) in 1968, died on 22 April 2015. An Anglican clergyman (notably as Rector of Winterbourne in the Diocese of Bristol from 1970 to 2006), he was also convenor of the annual Denton Hall Conferences on Implicit Religion from 1978, founding director of the Centre for the Study of Implicit Religion and Contemporary Spirituality, a member of the executive committee of the British Association for the Study of Spirituality, and visiting professor at three British universities. Although his own research and books were not particularly characterized by quantitative methods, he was encouraging of those who deployed statistical approaches, not least by publishing their articles in the journal Implicit Religion, which he established in 1998 and edited until his death.

1851 religious census of Warwickshire

On 30 March 1851 the Government organized, as part of the decennial census of population, a census of the accommodation and attendance at all places of worship in the British Isles. The experiment was never repeated and only summaries of the returns were ever published at the time. However, the original schedules have survived at The National Archives for most parts of England and Wales, and these have been the subject of many scholarly editions during the past four decades. The returns for Warwickshire are the latest to be published: The 1851 Census of Religious Worship: Church, Chapel, and Meeting Place in Mid Nineteenth-Century Warwickshire, edited by Keith Geary (Publications of the Dugdale Society, Vol. XLVII, Stratford-upon-Avon, the Society, 2014, xii + 350pp., ISBN 9780852200971, £30.00 + £3.00 postage and packing, hardback). The main body of the text (pp. 85- 323) comprises an annotated transcript of the 590 returns for the county, arranged by registration districts and sub-districts. This is preceded by a substantial introduction (pp. 1-74) which briefly sketches the historical and topographical background before providing a detailed quantitative and qualitative analysis of and commentary on the Warwickshire data. There are indexes by persons, places, and subjects (including denominations), plus maps and a bibliography.

 

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