Election 2017

Introduction

The questionnaire was sent to the RESONATE panel in the week beginning 29th May 2017. 1512 people completed the survey.

The RESONATE panel is self-selecting and is not necessarily an accurate reflection of typical church attendance. However, it does give an indication of the views of Christians who are actively interested in faith issues. While not representative, this group are important to listen to because they are the influencers of others. Equally, they are broadly similar to Bible Society’s supporter base, being disproportionately Anglican, Baptist and Methodist. They are also likely to describe themselves as evangelical and are older. 

For full demographics, see Appendix.

 

Summary

  • Christians more committed, 96% are intending to vote
  • Christians ‘carry on’, 99% have not had their decisions affected by recent terrorism
  • With days to go 24% still to decide who to vote for
  • Despite Theresa May’s reason for calling the election, managing the NHS was seen as more important than Brexit in deciding who to vote for.
    • But for those who have decided:

 

  • Labour has strong support amongst the under 35’s but unfortunately they are less likely to vote
  • Conservatives most trusted on the economy and Brexit, Labour on health and welfare
  • Theresa May still seen as best for Brexit but the people want final say on the deal
  • UKIP vote collapses – to the benefit of the Conservatives
  • SNP also lose seats to the Conservatives

  

How to decide on your vote

Which, if any, of the following policy areas are most important in helping you decide who to vote for?

Having been called by Theresa May as an election on Brexit this is pushed into second place in importance by our respondents in favour of ‘managing the NHS’. Voted the most important factor by nearly 50%.

 

 

The economy and education are predictably near the top but it may also come as a surprise to many to see immigration and crime so near the bottom.

  

Do you agree or disagree with the following statements

We gave the panel a series of statements that have been made by various political leaders during the campaign and asked them to what extent they agreed or disagreed with them.

 

There was very strong agreement that EU citizens living in the UK should keep their status and not be used as bargaining chips and also that the foreign aid budget should be maintained.

 

There was only a small net agreement (8%) that ‘No deal was better than a bad deal’ and that Brexit should include leaving the single market but an equal number of people (8%) agreed that ‘the people should have the final say on approving the deal’

 

  

What’s your view of the parties and the leaders

We asked

Which party do you trust most to deliver across each of the following areas?

 

 

Split on very traditional lines, the Conservatives are most trusted on the economy, crime and terrorism and Brexit. Probably because Brexit is seen by most as a largely economic negotiation.

Labour on the other hand is still trusted more for its traditional areas of health, welfare and education. UKIP’s only are of significant trust is in controlling immigration yet they still fall well behind the Conservatives.

 

Turning to the leaders themselves

Which, if any, of the leaders of the main political parties do you most associate with each of the following?

 

 

 

Whatever their political persuasion Theresa May is most associated with all these attributes except for those relation to faith and religion where Tim Farron’s known Christian faith takes him to the lead (just).

So how will people vote

We went into this in some detail, asking whether people were likely to vote or not, when and how they had made up their mind and whom they would be most likely to vote for.  In addition, as the terrorist attack in London occurred during the middle of the fieldwork period we asked all those interviewed afterwards if they felt this had affected their decision on whom to vote for.

 

Has your decision on how to vote changed following the terrorist attack on Saturday?

579 answered this question and 576 (99.5%) said NO.  A strong confirmation that the whole nation and not just Londoners will carry on as normal in the face of terrorism.

 

Will you be voting in the general election?

 

 

This is an incredibly high rate of voting, the figure for the UK as a whole in the last election (2015) was 66% and this was itself the highest in any general election this century.

This demonstrates a strong commitment by Christians to take part in the democratic process and mirrors the results we found in the Brexit referendum when 94% actually voted.

 

Have you decided who to vote for

Christians turn out to be more thoughtful than most with only 10% voting for the same party they always vote for.

 

 Although two thirds have already decided on the evidence who to vote for this time within a few days of the election about a quarter (24%) have still to make up their minds.  Given this figure exceeds even the widest margin between the two main parties from any of the opinion polls there is still margin for error on the result.

Share of the vote

The share of the vote, calculated on the basis of those who have said they are intending to vote and excluding those who preferred not to say what their choice was.

 

Base 1164

 

This would suggest that Christians are more likely to vote Labour and definitely more likely to vote Lib Dem than the UK average.

The Conservative Labour difference is just on the margin of statistical significance with the error at 95% confidence giving:

Labour                                29.03% - 34.37%

Conservative                    34.26% – 39.80%

 

UKIP vote appears to have almost completely collapsed

 

The Scottish vote is not statistically significant being a sample of only 68 (4.5% of the total) but of that sample the Conservative share is higher at 33% to 23% suggesting some significant Conservative gains in Scotland.

 

Voting and age

Whilst not being statistically significant at the younger age levels due to the low number of respondents it is at least indicative of a trend found in other polls suggesting that the younger (under 40’s) are more likely to vote Labour and the over 50’s are more likely to vote Conservative.

 

YouGov research suggests that the typical Conservative voter tends to be older, better paid but less well educated whereas the typical labour voter is younger, less well paid but better educated.

The crossovers occur roughly at:-

 

Tend to vote for

Conservative

Labour

Age

35 and over

Under 35

Education

GCSE or lower

A level or higher

Income

Over £40,000

Under £40,000

 

 

However Labour’s apparent benefit amongst the younger is unlikely to turn into reality because research suggests that turnout amongst the under 25’s is only 51% compared to 75% amongst the 65 and over.[1]

  

The lighter side

Which issues do you think Jesus would make his main priorities if he launched an election manifesto?

Respondents were asked to select up to three choices and rank them in importance.

 

 Probably little surprise that Welfare, health and the environment come top of the list. We asked earlier in the survey for the policy areas which are most important in helping you decide who to vote for personally, and health and welfare were also at the top of that list.

Interestingly very few thought Jesus would have any interest in Brexit, placing it firmly at the bottom of the list together with Transport. Getting the donkey fed was probably a lot easier than making the trains run on time.

 

 

Demographics

Denomination

Anglican/Church of England

666

44.05%

Baptist

176

11.64%

Catholic

65

4.30%

Independent

139

9.19%

Methodist

134

8.86%

New Church

43

2.84%

Pentecostal

53

3.51%

Presbyterian

20

1.32%

Prefer not to say

29

1.92%

Other

187

12.37%

Totals

1512

100.00%

 

Age

16 - 24

4

0.26%

25 - 34

33

2.18%

35 - 44

88

5.82%

45 - 54

261

17.26%

55 - 64

499

33.00%

65 - 74

468

30.95%

75 or over

111

7.34%

Prefer not to say

48

3.17%

Totals

1512

100.00%

 

Region

East Midlands

84

5.56%

East of England

90

5.95%

London

124

8.20%

North East

56

3.70%

North West

111

7.34%

South East 

428

28.31%

South West

162

10.71%

West Midlands

130

8.60%

Yorkshire & Humberside

96

6.35%

Wales

66

4.37%

Scotland

68

4.50%

Northern Ireland

9

0.60%

Other

88

5.82%

Totals

1512

100.00%

 

Gender

Male

846

55.95%

Female

664

43.92%

Other

1

0.07%

Prefer not to say

1

0.07%

Totals

1512

100.00%

 


[1] YouGov / The Times Survey : 30th - 31st May 2017

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