Religion and Brexit : populism and the Church of England

Smith, Greg and Woodhead, Linda (2018) Religion and Brexit : populism and the Church of England. Religion, State and Society, 46 (3). pp. 206-223. ISSN 0963-7494

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Drawing on our own recent surveys on beliefs and values in Great Britain (Woodhead) and evangelical Christians in the UK (Smith) this article explores the links between religion, views and votes on leaving or remaining in the EU in the UK’s 2016 referendum. Poll data gathered shortly after the 2016 referendum (n = 3,243) allows us to test associations between religious identity and behaviour and attitudes to voting Leave, while controlling for other demographic variables. The main finding is that identifying as Church of England (Anglican) is an important independent predictor of voting Leave even when other relevant factors like age and region are corrected for. By contrast, self-defined English evangelicals (from an opportunity sample of 1,198, collected and analysed by Smith) appear to be more pro-EU and generally internationalist in outlook. Previous surveys by Woodhead on religion and values in the UK provide some explanation for these findings, and for the striking difference of UK and US evangelicals, 81% of whom supported Donald Trump in the 2016 US presidential election. The article ends with reflections on whether the term ‘populist’ can be usefully applied to the evangelical pro-Trump vote in the US or the Church of England pro-Brexit vote in the UK. © 2018, © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Religion, State and Society
Additional Information:
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Religion, State and Society on 15/08/2018, available online:
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? anglicanbrexitchurch of englandeu referendumeuropeevangelicalsidentityno religionnonespopulismreligionvotingreligious studiessociology and political science ??
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Deposited On:
10 Jan 2019 10:06
Last Modified:
12 May 2024 01:11