This post summarizes findings from three recent ComRes polls of the general public aged 18 and over and which have touched on religious issues.
Defender of the Faith
Pretty strong numerical support for the continuation of the faith links of the monarchy is revealed in a poll conducted in England on behalf of BBC local radio, and involving telephone interviews with a sample of 2,591 adults between 30 March and 15 April 2012. Data tables are available at:
79% agree that the Queen still has an important faith role, and only 25% say that she and future monarchs should not have any faith role or title at all. 73% are in favour of them retaining the titles of Supreme Governor of the Church of England and Defender of the Faith, while 50% are prepared to accede to Prince Charles’ request that, on becoming king, he should be Defender of Faith (in general, with 35% opposed). There is some variation in results by demographics, notably above-average endorsement of the faith links of the monarchy among the over-65s.
The overall high figures may partially reflect the public’s perception of the importance which the Queen has been attaching to faith during her Diamond Jubilee celebrations, and/or more positive views of the monarchy as an institution during the past year or so. However, as a meta analysis of all poll data on the various aspects of Church and State has shown (in the September 2011 issue of Implicit Religion), opinions on the subject tend not to be deeply held or well informed.
Talking about Religion
Britons feel more comfortable about discussing religion with family and friends (80%) than they do about money (75%), dying (71%) and sex (57%). Only politics (82%) and immigration (84%) score more highly as conversation topics. These findings emerge from a poll commissioned by the Dying Matters Coalition, and undertaken online on 13-15 April 2012 with 2,028 respondents. Data tables are at:
The over-65s (86%) and Scots (85%) feel somewhat more relaxed about discussing religion than other demographic sub-groups. Just 14% of the whole sample find religion an uncomfortable topic of conversation, the proportion only reaching one-fifth among public sector workers.
Origins of the Universe
Just 26% of Britons (and no more than 35% of professing Christians) believe that God caused the Universe to exist and 41% disbelieve this, according to an online survey for Premier Christian Radio between 20 and 22 April 2012, in which 2,054 people were interviewed. 14% think neither scenario to be true, and 19% express no opinion. Data tables can be found at:
Younger persons (aged 18-34) are more likely (31%) to believe that God caused the Universe to exist than the over-55s (24%). Women are also more likely to believe this than men, the top social grade (AB) more than other groups, and public sector workers more than private sector ones. Disbelief in a divine origin of the Universe peaks at 54% in the East Midlands and 64% among those with no religion.