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Published online by Cambridge University Press: 17 January 2014
This article provides a detailed empirical assessment of British public opinion on the issue of the disestablishment of the Church of England, one of the most important questions concerning relations between church and state. It uses a nationally representative survey conducted in 2011. It finds that, in socio-structural terms, those more supportive of disestablishment are men, those living in Scotland and those with a degree-level education. In political and ideological terms, Liberal Democrat party identifiers and those with left-wing and liberal policy preferences are more supportive of disestablishment. There are also significant differences on the basis of newspaper readership, with Guardian readers most supportive. The findings contribute to existing empirical research on this topic and demonstrate the need for further analysis of how religious orientations shape public attitudes on this debate.
Dr Ben Clements is Lecturer in Politics, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester, LE1 7RH, UK. Nick Spencer is Research Director at Theos, 77 Great Peter Street, London, SW1P 2EZ, UK.
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