The full tables for the Populus poll for the Searchlight Educational Trust has now been published on their website here

It is a very hefty poll – 5000 online respondents in England (for those intrigued about the questions on whether people saw themselves as English or British – this was a purely English poll) and there are 395 pages of tables. Obviously there is an awful lot of stuff there, and I’m not going to address it all, much better to go and read the full report itself. Amongst other things it includes an analysis that segments the population into clusters based on their attitudes towards immigration – broadly speaking two liberal groups that are to different extents positive about immigration (making up 24% of the population), a more ambiguous group that is concerned about the economic effects of immigration (28% of the population), a traditionally Toryish sort of group concerned about the effect of immigration on national identity (24% of the population) and two groups (10% and 13% respectively) that are firmly opposed to immigration but to differing degrees, with the final group the most hostile, disengaged and open to violence.


On immigration itself there were, as usual, broadly negative opinions. 40% thought that on the whole immigration had been good for the country, 60% thought it had been bad. 34% of people would stop all immigration permanently or temporarily. 39% would support only allowed “skilled immigrants who will help the economy”, 22% “only skilled and unskilled immigrations who will help the economy”, 5% think we should allow all types of immigration.

From an economic point of view, 41% agree that the public sector couldn’t cope without immigrants – but this is far outstripped by 73% who agree immigration puts pressure on public services. 34% think they have made it easier to find tradesment. 34% think immigration has made it harder for them personally to get a fair wage for their work. Culturally 49% said having a wide variety of cultures was part of British culture, 51% thought it had undermined British culture. While on balance these figures are negative towards immigration, it’s worth pointing out that these findings are not actually as hostile towards immigration as some other polls.


Moving on, Populus asked about attitudes towards religion – given that the far-right have increasingly tended to put forward an anti-Muslim message, rather than a race-based one.

Firstly on the general subject of religion, 54% of people described themselves as Christian and about 5% other religions. 35% of people said they were not a member of any religious group. However, only 23% said religion was important to them, with only 11% agreeing strongly. Amongst those who described themselves as Christians, only 33% said religion was important to them, 36% said it was not. As we’ve seen before, people describing themselves as Christian does not necessarily imply they are particularly religious (indeed, other polls have shown many don’t believe in a god!). 68% agreed with the statement that religion should not influence laws and policies in this country. Overall 23% said they thought religion was a force for good in the UK, 42% disagreed.


Comparing attitudes to different religious groups, Muslims were seen as both the most different to respondents in terms of customs and habits, and as causing the most problems for the country. 69% of people see Muslims as different, 44% “completely different” – in comparison 28% see Hindus as completely different, 29% Sikhs and 19% Jews. Asking whether different groups create problems in the UK, Hindus, Sikhs, Christians all produced very similar results with about 15% saying they caused problems. Asked the same about Muslims, 52% of people said they caused problems in the UK.

Interestingly, Muslims are also the religious minority people are most aware of coming into contact with – 45% say they come into contact with Muslim people at least weekly, compared to 31% for Hundus, 24% for Sikhs and 24% for Jews.

Populus then asked people to imagine a mosque being built in their local area – 43% said they would support a campaign to block it, 19% would oppose a campaign to block it.


50% of English people define themselves primarily as British, compared to 39% who define themselves as primarily English. There is an correlation here between whether people see themselves as British or English, and how they fall into Populus’s segments – the two most liberal segments are most likely to view themselves as British (by 60% to about 25%), the two groups most hostile towards immigration are more likely to view themselves as English (by about 60% to 40%)

Asked what it was that most defined someone as British, the most popular option was essentially self-definition – people who “put bring British/English ahead of belonging to a particular ethnic or religious group”. This was picked first by 34% of respondents, compared to 24% who defined it first as being born here, 18% in terms of citizenship, 7% in paying taxes, 7% by descent and 6% by speaking English. Again, there were interesting patterns looking at Populus’s segmentation – the two most liberal groups tended to take a legalistic view – and were most likely to define Britishness primarily in terms of citizenship, and the least likely to view it in terms of birth or descent. Those most hostile to immigration tended to view where you were born as more important than citizenship, and were most likely to consider where someone’s parents were born in defining Britishness.

Given the length of the survey there were questions on other subjects to – most notably community involvement – but I’ll leave you to explore it yourself.

115 Responses to “Populus on immigration and English national identity”

1 2 3

    And, BTW, thanks for the quasi-link to the YouGov referendum poll, which makes some interesting reading although it sadly lacks weighting information.

    Interesting that 17% overall want the Assembly abolished and more interesting still that 17% of L-D supporters for the Assembly want the same. Federalism really would seem to have been eradicated within their ranks.

    It’s also interesting to note that the poll perfectly reasonably asked an Assembly VI question – after all the whole poll is about the Assembly but apparently DID NOT ask a Westminster VI question, unlike the recent Scottish poll for the Greens.

  2. Anthony,

    Now that it’s publicly available on the YouGov site, would you know if the lack of weighting information is just an oversight? Any hopes of a revision being posted including the weightings?


  3. Mark A,

    re-read… “in part contributed”

  4. Interesting poll many English people I know would interchange English or British on a whim or mood at the time.

    A local authority poll on siting of an incinerator in NW Norfolk had 70763 (61%) response and 92% against. A very English response!

    Interesting that on previous thread yesterday I suggested DC start an airlift from Tunesia to Egypt and roll back on no fly. Airlift announced at PMQ today. No.10 must avidly read UK Polling Report!

  5. NEILA.

    The circumstances you feared/forecast occurred today with air strikes on the protestors/rebels.

    Still-if the casualties are guaranteed to be low then we can all relax.

  6. “Airlift announced at PMQ today”

    A very good & humane gesture-provided we ensure that no Libyans are moved -that would be an unwarranted intrusion in a domestic spat ;-)

  7. Crossbat11

    “As for the immigration survey, I was surprised that the figures for people describing themselves as Christians, and those saying that they took their religion seriously, were as low as they appear to be. The last survey I recall, admittedly some years ago, suggested a figure of 70%+ who regarded themselves as Christians, now it’s down to 50%+ in this latest survey. If true, we increasingly live in a secular and irreligious world and I wonder what impact this has on our culture, social cohesion and politics. There was a time when religious observance was one of the few shared national experiences that bound our society together and the church was at the heart of nearly all our local communities. A lot of our great political movements and inspirations derived from the church and I sometimes wonder if we appreciate the scale and size of the hole that the disappearance of this influence has had in the nation’s cultural life. I think it’s a hole yet to be filled and we may have lost more than we yet know. A personal and probably controversial thought, I accept”

    Personal, yes – but controversial – why should it be, you said nothing offensive? Although, sadly, it’s simple, sincere statements such as these that get rejected by many. Christians everywhere are getting vilified in our country now for holding sincere beliefs based on the scriptures they regard as sacred. In spite of mostly being harmless and genuinely caring individuals, they are being accused of deep prejudice by the growing liberal agenda, spearheaded by the likes of the National Secularist Society and Stonewall who are – often at the taxpayer’s expense – infiltrating every layer of government.

    This all accompanied with a refusal to ‘notice’/acknowledge that the foundation of our civilised society in this country today came from its Christian roots.

    There was a terrible case before the court 2 days ago where, if I understood the report correctly, 2 judges ruled that a married couple were unfit to adopt as they wished for holding the view that homosexuality is sinful (as anyone who truly believes the bible believes) – note FOR HOLDING THE VIEW, not for illtreating or intimidating a homosexual – something which this kind of caring people would not do. Holding a view on this subject does NOT constitute hatred. (After all, God hates the sin but loves the sinner; He also “sends his rain on just and unjust”.)

    Free speech is [legally] dead for Christians it seems.

    Still, rant over – and no doubt my comment will be considered a lot more unacceptable amongst the intellectuals on this site than yours was, I am sure!

  8. “Free speech is [legally] dead for Christians it seems.”

    Literally so in Pakistan.

  9. I should have said, in the case I spoke of baove, that the judges didn’t deny the Christians their rigth to believe what they believe exactly – but, worse still, said that this country is now essentially secular and THEREFORE the views of secularists should trump the views of Christians as outdated and irrelevant.

  10. @barbazenzero

    “As a registered poster – and with the yellow background you must be – you can post proper HTML links or just URLs without spaces in”

    I’ll try inserting this [url=]link[/url] then.

  11. Well it wasn’t moderated but it didn’t work. Let’s try a straight URL.

  12. @BT – have you been listening to Glen Beck

  13. Colin
    “A very good & humane gesture…”

    Yes, it is. But probably just a gesture, because as I understand it there are 20,000 or so waiting to cross the border into Tunisia and only 2,000 are getting through daily.

    But every little helps.

  14. @BT

    All I can say is, try looking at things from the secularist’s point of view. Discussion of this point beyond that is outside the scope of this forum.

  15. @ BT

    I agree with you SO much.

    It is utterly disgraceful that you do not have the right to discriminate against gay people.

  16. @ Eoin

    “secular Arabs tend to place greater emphasis on their own well being, than joining in jihadist bloodbaths”

    Well that is encouraging-particularly since jihadists seem noticable by their absence in Libya at present.

    So all that remains is for Gaddaffi to remind his lads from Chad, Niger, Zimbabwe, Mali etc etc of the time honoured tradition that Arabs only kill each other in acceptably small numbers.

    But since Gaddafi trained Foday Sankoh, Charles Taylor, Moses Blah & Blaise Compaore in Libya I rather fear that he favours the African way of killing…..

    ……that plus he vowed just the other day to “fight to the last man and last woman”….and has said things like “execution is the fate of anyone who forms a political party”.

    So I am not too hopeful that the Arab tradition of concern for another arab’s “wellbeing” is alive & well in the heart of Colonel Gaddafi. ;-)

  17. Now I think about it…in which country is the plane landing to take on board passengers?

  18. “Christians everywhere are getting vilified in our country now for holding sincere beliefs based on the scriptures they regard as sacred. In spite of mostly being harmless and genuinely caring individuals…”

    That could equally be applied to Muslims, except nobody gives a sh*t about them…

  19. Billy 3.48pm

    Nonsense, your comment may be based on your feeling but not on reality, (nor on how I feel about Muslims)!

    If Christian rights were recognised in this country in the same politically correct way that Muslims are all the time, it would be a completely different story.

    To be fair, I think the Tories have made some right noises about rebalancing the current absurd situation that prejudices Christians, and adding a bit of decency and common sense instead of all the PC stuff that’s dominated the scene up to now.

  20. BT Says
    “If Christian rights were recognised in this country in the same politically correct way that Muslims are all the time, it would be a completely different story.”

    Please elucidate.

  21. @ BT

    I never mentioned that that was how you felt about Muslims (apologies if it came across that way).

    A lot of Muslim values are the same a Christian values, so if one is being hit, the other is being hit. I’m not denying that Christians aren’t prejudiced against (I’ll freely admit I don’t like all organised religions) but I do think some of it is being blown out of proportion.

    Judges comments, if you’re interested, on the matter were:

    “No one is asserting that Christians (or, for that matter, Jews or Muslims) are not ‘fit and proper’ persons to foster or adopt. No one is contending for a blanket ban. No one is seeking to de-legitimise Christianity or any other faith or belief. No one is seeking to force Christians or adherents of other faiths into the closet. No one is asserting that the claimants are bigots. No one is seeking to give Christians, Jews or Muslims or, indeed, peoples of any faith, a second class status. On the contrary, it is fundamental to our law, to our polity and to our way of life, that everyone is equal: equal before the law and equal as a human being endowed with reason and entitled to dignity and respect.”

  22. Not sure if Eoin is still with us, but as I type an Irishman has just scored the fastest ever century in World Cup history and Ireland are closing in on an improbable victory against England.

    Whatever happens, it’s a remarkable innings.

  23. @Billy – “…I’ll freely admit I don’t like all organised religions….”

    You should try disorganised religions – the services are a complete hoot.

  24. @ Colin

    It’s just a shame that we don’t know which country sold Gadaffi his weapons so that we could administer a proper punishment.

  25. @ Alec

    I’d imagine :)

    But where would you find them?

  26. The Libya situation is looking more like a mini civil war than revolution, and will be more drawn out than other recent events elsewhere. I don’t think that oil price is coming down soon, even if nothing else happens.

    I hope there is caution from meddling outside powers (you know who)

  27. @Alec

    at this rate we’ll be handing the ashes over to them :-(


    Thanks for the http tip!

    Anthony, why do YouGov routinely miss out the weighting data in many (not all!) of your Scottish/Welsh polls?

    Surely not an “oversight”? That would be rather poor for a BPC member.

  29. Yeeehhhhhhhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaa! :)

  30. BT

    “If Christian rights were recognised in this country in the same politically correct way that Muslims are all the time, it would be a completely different story. ”

    But since the constitutional model in the UK is to have the representatives of only one Christian sect as part of the legislature – is it the Sunni or Sh’ite Muslims that have this automatic privilege? Or does your “politically correct” label not apply to politics?

  31. Does make me laugh that in a time when level of anti-Muslim hysteria is at boiling point, and a staple of the daily press, we have to listen to Christians claim they’re the persecuted minority.

  32. TGB

    Looks a certainty that your captain will change his nationality then!

  33. The Janjaweed, Tutsi and Hutu must be counting themselves lucky they had limited oil resources otherwise no fly zones wud have been endemic

  34. Didn’t I read a report about a poll recently about social attitudes where 100% of the Muslim-identifying respondents answered “No” to the question about whether a homosexual lifestyle was acceptable?

    I’d be interested to read cases of Muslim foster parents and what they answered to the questions in their interview about teaching children in their care about the validity of homosexual relationships.

    (I say all this as someone who is only vaguely theistic and doesn’t consider homosexuality in any way immoral or unacceptable, but is slightly anxious about the prospect of a large chunk of the decent foster parents in the country being disqualified – it’s not like we have an abundance of volunteers).

  35. @Eoin,

    Quoting those three examples isn’t particularly great tactics given that a) none of them used airpower to attack their enemies and b) they are great examples of where, arguably, the reticence of the West to intervene led to huge loss of innocent lives.

  36. The rumours are rife that Gaddafi has WMD… thus Justifying another invasion of an Arab Secular State…

    I thought about it long and hard.. and I am inclined to agree that a) it probably has WMD b) it might warrant intervention

    In this case for WMD read White Men Drilling.

  37. Neil A,

    Janja used air power, I can assure you.. point still stands since intervention was not on the agenda

  38. Neil,

    casualties in the conflicts I mention ? c.1.5mill…. so far in Libya Human Rights Watch say c.1,000 killed [that includes those killed by the protesters who unlike Egypt, Tunisia are actually armed too [a bit lie the IRA if you like… close to 4,000 died in that one]

  39. “In this case for WMD read White Men Drilling.”

    Intervention essential then.

  40. Two new polls out today by Yougov and rmg Clarity on tommorows referedum on powers for the Welsh Assembly

    Headline figures are (For those going to vote and removing dont knows)
    Yougov/ ITV Wales- Yes:69% No:31%
    rmg Clarity/ Western Mail (Trinity Mirror)- Yes:67% No:33%

    Bodes well for the Yes campaign, Yougov poll also showing far higher than expected turnout at 54%. When most political commentators think it will be in the lows 30s

    For more detail-


    As you discovered, BBcode doesn’t work here, but most simple HTML linke the <a> <b> & <i> tags does.


    You’re welcome, but it’s for my own convenience too, as I don’t have to copy, paste and edit to view the link’s target.

  42. PS But a pity there’s neither a preview nor an edit button.

  43. @Neil A

    I don’t know the precise figures but very few Muslim families adopt at all, so I guess the question does not really arise.

    Having said that while I believe that the court in the adoption case had no option, I strongly support the right of Christian families to bring up as adopted children in accordancd with the tennets of their faith and believe that the decision will lead to many more children in care.

    Either that, or religious families may not fully disclose their views during the adoption process.

  44. Billy

    “It’s just a shame that we don’t know which country sold Gadaffi his weapons”

    John Simpson was reporting on TV last night from an arsenal in Benghazi. He was wandering around reading the manufacturers names on the cases-UK & Russia. were certainly mentioned -also ( If memory serves) USA. & China .

    We’ve all been at it.

    We are all culpable-though one would like to think that no one intended Gaddafi to use them on his own people.

    Acknowledging unequivocally that politicans of all persuasions have come to be embarrased by the actions of the dictators they have cosied up to-I find the leg-crossing equivocation on the UK political left about Gaddafi both amusing & instructive.

    And its not just politicians .

    Funniest of all is the mea culpaitis at LSE ( aka Libyan School of Economics :-) )

    The LSE’s former director Anthony Giddens called Libya the future “Norway of north Africa,” writing in the Guardian,
    Now they are all changing tack, as fast as they can. The LSE is even investigating Gaddafi Jr’s doctoral thesis for plagiarism while pleading “embarrassment” over its eagerness to take £1.5 million from the man who recently told protesters to clear the streets or” face rivers of blood”.

    …His LSE PHD thesis was entitled ” “The Role of Civil Society in the Democratization of Global Governance Institutions.”

    You have to laugh :-) :-) :-)

  45. TGB

    That was an incredible effort by Ireland. But I feel their loss in their game against bangladesh (a match they should have won), may cost them a chance of a quarter finals place.

    England should still qualify confortably. 6 point should do it and they already have 3. So any two wins over Bangladesh, South Africa and West Indies should do it.

  46. There doesn’t seem to be much discussion of the Populous poll on immigration attitudes, so here’s my two penn’orth:-

    I notice that socio-economic groups D and E are more prevalent in the ‘Active Enmity’ tribe. I wonder to what extent that might be because immigrants tend to settle in poor areas at first and that therefore there is more direct competition for housing, jobs etc with the native population?
    In other words, the Ds and Es feel more directly threatened by immigration.

  47. RAF

    ” don’t know the precise figures but very few Muslim families adopt at all, so I guess the question does not really arise.”

    Quite so.

    This was the elephant in the room which no one mentioned, when Gove issued fresh guidance to stop LAs resisting white fostering of asian children .

    Last year, about 20 per cent of the 2,300 children waiting to be adopted were black or Asian.-and Gove’s initiative will hopefully open up a happier future for them.

  48. @Colin

    I support the overthrow of Qaddafi – by his own.people. The pan ME revolution will only work if the Arabs themselves overcome their rulers.

    If there was a genocide foing on, I woyld support intervention, as I have in the past (Bosnia, Rwanda, Kosovo). But there isn’t.

    Indeed I would suggest that more are being killed currently in other.ME states, and there a silence on algeria, where one of the most brutal butchers of modern ME history remains our trusted friend

  49. RAF

    I pretty well agree with that.

    I don’t think there is any question of sending UN ground troops in-I hope not anyway.

    I would be in favour of a NFZ-but there seem to be significant problems-the sheer size of the country.-the perceived need to destroy his air defence systems first ( a clearly aggressive act of war)-and one wonders whether UN could agree on it.

    I saw on the news he has over 200 jets-so one can only hope & pray that he doesn’t use them on civilians .

    I agree about Algeria.God knows what happens if that blows up. It supplies 13% of Europes LNG !!

  50. @Colin

    And Gove (who was himself adopted) is absolutely right to change the rules where no reasonably “equivalent” parents are available. Children heed a proper home and loving parents, and adoptive parents make huge sacrifices as it is to ensure they can adopt.

1 2 3