The Pope, who is arriving in Britain on Thursday, is more widely recognised than the Archbishop of Canterbury. While one in four people (25%) British adults support his visit, one in ten (11%) oppose it, according to an Ipsos poll conducted exclusively for The Tablet. The poll covered a wide range of subjects relating to the Papal visit, religion and society as well as the allegations of sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church.
Catholics are far more enthusiastic about the visit. Almost two thirds (71%) of people who describe themselves as Catholic support the visit of the Pope, with almost half (47%) strongly supporting it.
Two thirds (63%) of British adults neither support nor oppose the Pope’s state visit to Britain. Indifference towards the visit is evidenced yet further with three quarters (76%) saying they will not be following the Pope's time in Britain closely - one in five (22%) say they will.
The public draw a distinction between religion and the Roman Catholic Church as forces for good. Half (52%) agree that "religion is, on balance, a force for good" while two in five (41%) feel the same is true of the Roman Catholic church.
Just one in ten (11%) feel that the Roman Catholic Church has handled the allegations about priests sexually abusing children well, indeed only 15% of Catholics feel the same way; while over half (55%) of the public feel the Catholic Church has handled the allegations badly, a third (32%) say 'very badly'.
The good news for Christians is that two in three (67%) agree that British society should retain its Christian culture. More people agree that religious organisations should be allowed to run some schools than disagree (49% agree, 28% disagree).
Simon Cowell, David Cameron and Fabio Capello are all recognised by more people than the Pope, however, Archbishop Rowan Williams is less recognised. Two thirds (65%) correctly named the Pope from a photo bearing no clues to his position, while half (50%) recognised the Archbishop of Canterbury.
To read the Tablet's write up of the findings, visit The Tablet website.
Ipsos interviewed a representative sample of 996 adults aged 15+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted face-to-face between 20-26 August 2010. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population. Where percentages do not sum to 100, this may be due to computer rounding, the exclusion of "don’t know" categories, or multiple answers. An asterisk (*) denotes any value of less than half a per cent. Data are based on all adults unless otherwise stated.