Almost 80% of people in England support a religious role for the Queen, a BBC poll suggests. In a poll by Comres to coincide with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, 79% of respondents said she still had an important faith role.
Obviously this would be surprising! The Queen herself is not unpopular in England, but on the whole I would say that religion is. Given the results of the RDFRS-funded poll earlier in the year, it would be amazing if these figures were true.
So I spent a few minutes looking for the data, and for the actual questions that had been asked and I found this on the Comres web site:
"Five out of six Christians are proud of The Queen
With preparations well underway for The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee this year, Premier Christian Radio asked UK Christians about their feeling toward the Monarchy.
The ComRes poll commissioned by Premier Christian Radio reveals that five in every six (85%) UK Christians are proud of The Queen."
The survey went on to say something less complimentary about the heir to the throne. For some reason the BBC completely neglected to mention this aspect.
"However, just two fifths (41%) of those polled are proud of Prince Charles. Respondents favour the ever popular Prince William, with 77% saying that they are proud of him."
So . . . we see that the only people surveyed were those who listened to a Christian radio station. The ones who responded were a self-selecting group. It appears that these particular Christians like the Queen. They haven't mentioned yet whether they want her to defend their faith (and let's face it - it needs defending). They don't like her heir (who does?), and the next in line to the throne is still young enough that he hasn't made as many mistakes as his father, (so they still like him). None of this seems at all surprising, but we note that the actual percentage changes with the wind. (That is three versions so far!) Now the figures look a bit more believable, but are they true?.
Let's look at some actual data, which you can find here. In fact we find that:
Q1 - Do you think there is such a thing as a 'British' identity, or not?
81% Yes. 12% No.
Q2 - How proud, or otherwise, are you of the Queen?
85% Proud. 13% Not proud.
Q2 includes other sub-questions which you can see if you follow the link above.
Q3 - Do you think that the monarchy should be head of the Church of England, or not?
31% Yes. 55% No - Wow - the opposite of the report!
Q4 Do you think the Church of England should be disestablished, or not?
43% Yes. 45% No - Still wow!
And then you might find that there is another poll by Comres on a similar topic. You can find it here, and can see the word 're-run' in the file name The results are not exactly in agreement! Which is to be believed? It is true that there is a subsidiary statement "The Queen still has an important faith role", and the answer is that 79% agree, but how meaningful is that?
It is pretty difficult to square their report with the actual published data in any way. The big question is this. "Is the BBC deliberately misrepresenting the data in order to support the powerful at the time of the Jubilee, or is it simple incompetence?" Or am I doing it?
Which of those options would be the better outcome anyway?
You just can't trust the BBC!