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Poverty tops election issues for evangelicals

Poverty and inequality will be the most important voting issues facing the UK for evangelicals according to a report issued by Evangelical Alliance ...

Poverty and inequality will be the most important issue facing the UK for evangelicals considering who to vote for at the general election in May.

While immigration is the issue of highest concern for the majority of voters, the Evangelical Alliance's Faith in Politics? report shows 32 per cent ranked poverty and inequality top.

The survey, which questioned more than 2,000 evangelicals on their political views, also found evangelicals are more engaged with politics than the average person –94 per cent answered that they are "certain" or "likely" to vote.

Despite this, disillusionment is high with respondents. Less than one in 10 think that politicians can be trusted to keep their manifesto promises, and half of respondents say they are less likely to believe a politicians today than five years ago.

Dr Dave Landrum, advocacy director at the Evangelical Alliance, said: "Evangelical Christians are passionate about politics that works for the good of all of society, and when it comes to voting they're not going to be backing the party which just benefits themselves the most."

In fact, political ties have changed among this group since 2010, with support for both UKIP and The Green Party increasing drastically, from one per cent in 2010 for The Green Party rising to 12 per cent, and from 2 per cent to 12 per cent for UKIP.

Support for the Conservatives has declined by nearly a third, while Liberal Democrats lost half of their support.

The Labour Party now has the highest level of support, back by 31 per cent of evangelicals.

Dr Landrum recognised that the issues concerning evangelicals are quite different from the issues that concern the general public.

"Evangelicals care far more about poverty than immigration. With around two million across the UK this is a section of society that the politicians cannot ignore. No party has this vote in their pocket and there are aspects of all parties that attract as well as deter evangelical voters.

"The high level of engagement contrasts with a high degree of distrust in politicians and their promises. Many commented that the redefinition of marriage had badly damaged their view of politics."

He concluded: "It's time for politicians to rebuild trust with all voters, but in the coming months evangelical voters are likely to be wary of grand promises made by any of the political parties."

Read the Faith in Politics? report in full at www.eauk.org/surveys.

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