Monday, 1 April 2013

YouGov poll on Religion for the Sunday Times

The Sunday Times commissioned a poll to provide it with a news story for Easter about the Church of England. This newspaper is behind a pay wall, but Reuters has this report: UK poll points to mistrust of clergy, lack of moral leadership.

Only around a half of Britons trust the clergy to tell the truth and a similar proportion think the Church of England does a bad job of providing moral leadership, a poll showed on Sunday.

The survey by pollster YouGov commissioned by Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper further showed that 69 percent of respondents thought the Church of England, mother church of the world’s 80-million-strong Anglican communion, was out of touch.

Forty percent of those polled said they did not trust priests, vicars and other clergy to tell the truth, and overall doctors, teachers and judges were rated as more trustworthy.

Fifty-four percent believe the Church of England has struggled to give moral leadership, the poll found…

Clive Field at British Religion in Numbers has reported at length on the survey, see Easter Day with the Sunday Times. Here’s a small extract, but do read the whole analysis.

Trust in clergy

54% have a great deal or fair amount of trust in priests, vicars, and other clergy to tell the truth, rising to 73% among Christians, with 40% having little or no trust in them. Clergy are the sixth equal most trusted profession on a list of eighteen occupations, the range being from 83% for family doctors to 13% for estate agents.

Church of England

31% contend that the Church of England is doing a good job in providing moral leadership, over-60s (38%) and Christians (55%) being especially inclined to think so (54% for Anglicans). A majority (54%, including 65% of Liberal Democrats, who are committed to disestablishment, and 37% of Anglicans) rates it as doing a bad job, with 16% unsure.

Still more, 69%, feel that the Church of England is out of touch, with particular highs for UKIP voters (75%) and Scots (76%). Even 53% of Christians take this line. Just 21% of all adults view the Church as being in touch, and no more than 28% of over-60s and 41% of Anglicans. 10% express no opinion on the subject.

A plurality (49%) say the Church of England is wrong to oppose same-sex marriage, including 66% of 18-24s, 63% of Liberal Democrats, 60% of Scots, and even 37% of Anglicans. 37% support the Church’s position, with 57% for the over-60s and 52% of Anglicans. 13% are undecided.

78% feel that the Church of England should allow women bishops, including 89% of Liberal Democrats, 85% of Anglicans, 83% of Conservatives, 82% of women and Scots. Opponents of women bishops number 9% overall but 19% of Catholics, 15% of UKIP supporters, and 13% of Londoners. 13% do not know what to think…

YouGov has published the full results of the poll on its own website, and they can be downloaded as a PDF from here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 1 April 2013 at 10:02am BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England

To paraphrase Spurgeon: you can be sure that the church the world loves God will hate.

Didnt Jesus warn His church not to love the things and the ways of the world, but rather to love Him and people. However the world wants its ways loved - then the church will be relevant as it will be singing a song that the world likes - such as love of money and loving ourselves (we wont even go to sex).

Posted by: David on Monday, 1 April 2013 at 11:13am BST

So 75% of UKIP voters feel that the C of E is 'out of touch'. I suppose that means that the C of E is too liberal?

Proof that at least we've got something right.

Posted by: Concerned Anglican on Monday, 1 April 2013 at 2:02pm BST

Compare these results with some other polls, e.g. the one quoted in the Daily Mail on Saturday, from earlier in 2013, originated on behalf of C4M:

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 1 April 2013 at 3:59pm BST

See BRIN discussion at

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 1 April 2013 at 4:15pm BST

I find it unlikely that 62 percent of CoE members couldn't name Rowan or 71 percent couldn't name Justin. To me this throws a lot into question, even if I like the results on WBs.

Posted by: Cynthia on Monday, 1 April 2013 at 7:11pm BST

Cynthia I have no problem believing those two percentages, as vast numbers of people in England pay very little attention to C of E matters. And yet would call themselves CofE when asked.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 1 April 2013 at 8:09pm BST

I agree with Simon. Our parish system means that everyone living within the parish boundaries can ask for a baptism, marriage or funeral from their parish church,whether they ever attend that church or not.
Membership of the CoE therefore goes well beyond the Electoral Roll and the majority of people will say of themselves that they are "CoE" even if they never ever go to church and know nothing about it.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Monday, 1 April 2013 at 9:35pm BST

Thanks for explaining that quirk!

I'm pretty sure that in TEC plenty of people lose track of the current PB... I lost nearly an entire decade of Griswold as PB.

Posted by: Cynthia on Monday, 1 April 2013 at 11:19pm BST

Cynthia, Simon, and Erika,

I'm not sure we can read much into that. I'm a member of the National Trust, the Royal Astronomical Society, and the Co-Op, and, until I just looked them up, I couldn't have named the chief executives of any of them.

Posted by: Feria on Tuesday, 2 April 2013 at 11:29pm BST

Aren't we all dispondant that according to the statistics on 54% of our parishes trust their vicars? This is dismal.

What's to blame? My previous research tells me it is mainly down to the lack of moral fibre that many vicars have shown.

Posted by: Bob on Monday, 8 April 2013 at 6:33am BST

if we look at the overall picture, where most people who identify as being a member of the CoE never actually go to church, chances are they do not know "their" vicar. So their mistrust will come from the public image the CoE has in this country.

If the survey had differentiated between nominal members of the CoE and churchgoing members, I dare say the percentage trusting their vicar would be considerably higher.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Tuesday, 9 April 2013 at 9:10am BST

Yes agree, agree Erika. Sadly though, it only takes one vicar to make it into the press for the wrong reason and many, in their minds, are then tarred with that brush....

Posted by: Bob on Tuesday, 9 April 2013 at 2:15pm BST

yes, it can be one vicar. Although I personally think it's more likely the sustained onslaught of one George Carey, of high profile court cases brought by the Christian Institute, of the Synod vote on women bishops last year, of high profile pronouncements on marriage equality...

you can believe that all these things are right and of God, but it will mean that in our society, fewer and fewer people will consider trusting their local priest with anything that requires nuance on moral questions, compassion, acceptance etc.

This is the price the church is paying for its noisy public certainties.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Tuesday, 9 April 2013 at 6:16pm BST
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