ComRes has just released on its website the results of an opinion poll it conducted for the BBC on 26-28 February 2010, which does not yet appear to have been publicized by the BBC itself. A representative sample of 1,005 adult Britons aged 18 and over was interviewed by telephone.
Only one question was put to the sample: ‘In your opinion, is Britain becoming more tolerant or less tolerant of religion?’ 39% of respondents replied that Britain is becoming more tolerant, 14% reported no change and 44% detected a growing intolerance towards religion.
Of standard demographics, only the breaks by age particularly stand out: 64% of those aged 18-24 considered that Britain is becoming more tolerant of religion, whereas 57% of those aged 65 and over felt it is becoming less tolerant (more than twice the proportion of this cohort believing it to be more tolerant).
Because of the limited sample size, disaggregations by religious profession are only meaningful for the categories of Christians and those with no religion. By a margin of 8% (37% more and 45% less tolerant), Christians were more inclined to pessimism, while for the irreligious there was a net 3% towards optimism (44% against 41%).
For the full statistics, see: http://www.comres.co.uk/page165372537.aspx
The results are broadly consistent with those of other recent surveys covering religious prejudice and discrimination in pointing to an environment in which religious people in Britain have a sense of being increasingly under scrutiny. This is especially so for Muslims (on account of rising Islamophobia) and Christians (who feel vulnerable in the face of legislative changes, unsuccessful court cases and attacks from high-profile secularists).