Sunday Activities and Other News

Today’s post highlights four recent opinion polls, touching on the use of Sundays, the religious state of Scotland, and reactions to the funeral arrangements for the late Baroness Thatcher.

Sunday activities

Sunday has largely become a day dominated by secular routines, according to an online survey conducted by OnePoll in late March 2013 (the week before Easter Sunday) on behalf of the pub chain Chef & Brewer, and kindly made available to BRIN by the Spirit Pub Company. The sample comprised 2,000 UK adults aged 18 and over. Of these, 62% said that they usually spent their Sundays catching up on domestic chores (36% stating they did the bulk of those chores on Sundays, and 41% that they would be ‘lost’ if they did not have Sunday as a catch-up day); 31% shopped (33% considering that Sunday opening of shops had made their lives easier); and 16% went to work.

The average number of ‘little jobs’ done on a Sunday was 16, with only 5% doing none and 39% performing eleven or more. The commonest chores included: washing up (42%), tidying up (41%), clothes washing (39%), hanging out washing (29%), drying up (29%), vacuuming (26%), and ironing (21%). Most time was reckoned to be taken up by tidying the house (30%) and cooking Sunday lunch (25%). Two-fifths (42%) felt annoyed that they never had chance to unwind and really relax on a Sunday, and 54% felt bogged down with the amount of jobs they had to do at the weekend.

Nevertheless, 53% described Sunday as mostly a day of rest for them (more so for men, 57%, than women, 49%), with 77% thinking that the balance of their day still inclined towards relaxation, and just 8% reckoning Sunday to be the busiest day of their week. For 60% Sunday provided an opportunity for spending quality time with friends and family, and for 42% to catch up on sleep. Some also recharged the spiritual batteries. Although, in reply to question 10, 15% claimed that they ‘usually’ went to a place of worship on Sunday, fewer (7%) admitted to worshipping ‘pretty much every Sunday’ in answer to question 4. The second figure is likely to be the more realistic; it represented 6% of men versus 9% of women, and 12% of the over-55s compared with around 5% of younger cohorts.

Scottish faith

Scotland, formerly renowned for its religiosity relative to England, continues to be in the grip of secularizing tendencies, according to the latest opinion poll, conducted by Panelbase for the Sunday Times Scotland and Real Radio Scotland. The sample comprised 1,002 Scots aged 18 and over interviewed online between 18 and 25 March 2013. Some results were published in two articles (by Jason Allardyce and Gillian Bowditch) in the Sunday Times Scotland for 31 March 2013, while the full data tables can be found at:

Asked whether they ‘belonged’ to any religion, 39% of Scots said that they did not, including 54% of men aged 18-34 and even more, 60%, of women in the same cohort. Church of Scotland adherents numbered 32%, Roman Catholics 13%, other Christians 10%, and non-Christians 4%. Christians amounted to 55%, rising, for men, from 34% among the 18-34s to 70% of the over-55s, and for women from 33% to 78%. The proportion of Christians is ten points down on the 2001 population census, and the trend is expected to be confirmed when the 2011 Scottish census results are released later this year.

Less than one-third (30%) were convinced that Jesus Christ was a real person who died and came back to life and was the Son of God, the proportion being highest among Catholics (67%) and lowest for women aged 18-34 (17%). 44% answered the question in the negative (58% of men and 54% of women aged 18-34), and 27% were uncertain what to think.

Rites of passage excepted, two-thirds of the sample never attended public worship or had not done so for more than a year, peaking at 87% of those professing no religion and 74% of women aged 18-34. 8% claimed to have attended within the last week and a further 8% within the past month. The majority (77%) said that the resignation of Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the former leader of the Scottish Catholics, and his admission of sexually inappropriate behaviour would make no difference to their churchgoing, but 20% stated that they would now be less likely to attend church; there was no difference between Catholics and non-Catholics in this respect.

Unsurprisingly, 62% of all Scots wanted Pope Francis I to move the Roman Catholic Church in new directions (76% of Catholics), against 10% who desired him to maintain the Church’s traditional positions (18%), with 28% having no view (5%). Overall, 63% of Scots wanted the Church to get tougher with abusers (57% of Catholics), 61% to become more accepting of artificial contraception (55%), 55% to become more modern (54%), 54% to allow priests to marry (43%), 54% to become more open (53%), 44% to become more accepting in general (47%), 41% to become more accepting of homosexuality (27%), and 40% to become more accepting of abortion (18%).

Funeral of Mrs Thatcher

The country is as divided about the late Baroness Thatcher in the aftermath of her death as it was during her lifetime. One-half of the 1,893 British adults interviewed by YouGov online for The Sun on 8 and 9 April 2013 thought that it is right that she be given a full ceremonial funeral at St Paul’s Cathedral this coming Wednesday (17 April). Predictably, the proportion rose to 85% among Conservatives and 60% of UKIP supporters but dropped to 25% among Labour voters and 38% of Scots. Those thinking it wrong that she be given such a funeral numbered 32%, including 58% of Labourites and 45% in Scotland, with 18% expressing no view (possibly reflecting the fact that fieldwork took place in the immediate aftermath of Mrs Thatcher’s death, before people had the chance to think matters through). Full data table available on page 4 at:

A second YouGov poll, this time for the Sunday Times on 11 and 12 April 2013 among 1,981 Britons, asked a similar question but offered clarification of what was meant by a ‘ceremonial funeral’ at St Paul’s Cathedral (in contrast to a ‘state funeral’, as would be accorded to a monarch) and included different reply options. On this occasion, 42% of respondents preferred that Baroness Thatcher receive a ceremonial but not a state funeral, including 70% of Conservatives and 52% of Liberal Democrat and UKIP voters, and 73% of those who ranked Thatcher as ‘a great Prime Minister’. A further 8% (13% of Conservatives and 21% of those admiring her as ‘a great Prime Minister’) wanted her to have a state funeral, with 43% arguing that she should have neither a state nor a ceremonial funeral (70% for Labourites alone), and 8% undecided. Full data table on pages 21-2 at:


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