Responding to Church Times poll

This week's Church Times contains the results of a YouGov opinion poll of voting intentions. It indicates that religious people are more likely to vote Conservative.

The poll puts both Labour and the Conservatives on 34%. However, of those who regard themselves as religious, 42% say they would vote Conservative and 31% Labour. Of particular interest to Church Times, 48% of Anglicans say they will vote Conservative compared to 27% Labour (for Roman Catholics, the figures are 31% and 42% respectively).

However, this is only one poll and the polling data on religious affiliation and voting intentions have been mixed. For example, the Evangelical Alliance last month published data (from a comprehensive survey last year) that showed voting intentions 31% Labour and 28% Conservative. Moreover, the Church Times data looks at voting by religious affiliation, which is different to looking at active church members.

One conclusion that might be drawn from the Church Times poll is that Church of England bishops are out of step with their congregations. But this would be stretching the data too far. It is true that both the pastoral letter from the bishops and the collection of essays On rock or sand? have highlighted the importance of equality. Yet these messages have reflected the theology and experience of many church congregations.

In Christians on the Left, we have met many church people who are running food banks, debt counselling services, or entrepreneurial projects for young people. These church people are mostly not ordained ministers. And they are increasingly frustrated that their good work is increasingly needed - which is why many are getting involved in politics to try to change things.

Meanwhile, Labour's commitment to working in government with churches has been emphasised by Ed Miliband recently in the latest Churches Update.

 

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