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Catholics 'likely to back Labour'
11:54am Sunday 26th January 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Catholics are more likely to vote Labour while Church of England worshippers most consistently back the Conservatives, according to new research.
Think tank Theos said they have carried out the first in-depth analysis into the relationship between religion and politics in Britain.
Catholics were found to be the most left-wing of Christian groups and more pro-welfare than Anglicans, who were said to be more authoritarian in their political values.
Non-religious people are most consistently libertarian, taking a strong line against censorship and are sceptical about management and the fair distribution of wealth.
Nick Spencer, Theos's research director and co-author of the report, said that while there are clear alignments between religious views and voting, "block votes" do not exist in Britain.
"Every five years or so, someone claims that this or that religious (or non-religious group) might swing the election," he said.
"Politics isn't like that, however, and this report shows that religious block votes do not exist in Britain as many claim they do in America.
"It does show, however, that there are clear and significant alignments between various religious and political camps, of which politicians should be aware.
"At a time when mass party membership, political ideology and party tribalism are at a low ebb, we should pay attention to the big political values that shape our voting behaviour."
The report 'Voting and Values in Britain: Does religion count?' was based on data from the latest 2010 census.
Researches said non-Christian groups were harder to analyse because of small samples.
However, in 2010 Muslims tended to strongly vote Labour, as did Hindus and Sikhs to a lesser extent.
By contrast, the Jewish vote was more likely to go to the Conservatives and Buddhist to the Liberal Democrats.
All groups, irrespective of religion, rated the economy, immigration, the budget deficit and unemployment as their most important issues.