Ipsos and Ben Schott of 'Schott's Almanac' have teamed up to explore the British public's attitudes towards beliefs.
Women are more superstitious than men, according to Ipsos's poll with Ben Schott exploring faith, beliefs and superstition (carried out by telephone 5-7 October 2007). Women are more than 20 points more likely than men to believe in guardian angels and premonitions (see below chart), and also more likely than men to believe in heaven, fate, souls, god, life after death, ghosts, telepathy, reincarnation, hell and witches and wizards.
Published in The Times on Halloween (31 October), the poll shows that almost two in five people believe in ghosts, with women more likely to believe than men (44% compared to 31%). Almost a third of people believe that governments around the world are concealing evidence of extra-terrestrial beings, and 9% believe that some crop circles are the work of extra terrestrial forces.
While 77% of the British public deny that they are superstitious, half (51%) touch wood to avoid bad luck, two in five (39%) cross their fingers for good luck, 16% have a lucky charm and 15% consider the number '13' to be unlucky. Indeed, three in ten of those who claim not to be superstitious cross their fingers for good luck (30%).
Almost a quarter (23%) read their horoscopes regularly, with women twice as likely as men to do so (31% compared to 14%). Labour voters are more likely to read their horoscope regularly (28%) than Conservative (22%) or Lib Dem voters (17%). Of those who regularly read them, a quarter of people believe that horoscopes accurately predict events in their lives.
- Ipsos interviewed a representative quota sample of 1,005 adults in Great Britain aged 16+
- Interviews were conducted by telephone between 5-7 October 2007
- 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.
- Throughout the volume, an asterisk (*) denotes any value of less than half a per cent
- Unless otherwise stated, results are based on all respondents
- Download the data tabulations pdf, 731KB
Qa In general, how happy or unhappy are you with your life at present?
|Neither happy nor unhappy||6|
Q1-11 I am going to read out a number of things. For each, please tell me whether or not you believe in it.
|Life after death||47||43||10|
|Witches and wizards||13||85||2|
Q12-16 Which, if any, of the things I'm going to read out do you believe in?
|That dreams can predict the future||35||60||6|
|That it is possible to receive communications from the dead||32||61||7|
|That some crop circles are the work of extra-terrestrial forces||9||84||7|
|That certain magical words, or spells, can have real effects||12||83||5|
|That some governments around the world are concealing evidence of extra-terrestrial beings||31||60||9|
Q17 Do you read your horoscope on a regular basis? By regular I mean at least once a week.
Q18 Do you believe that your horoscopes accurately predict events in your life?
Q19 Does knowing someone's star sign change the way you think of or behave towards them?
Q20 Have you ever seen a ghost? Base: All who believe in ghosts (387)
Q21 Do you have something that you occasionally wear or carry around with you that brings you luck?
Q22 Would you be prepared to sleep in a room in which someone had died within the last month?
Q23 Do you ever literally 'touch wood' in order to avoid bad luck?
Q24 Have you ever sought advice from a fortune-teller, palmist, or Tarot-card reader or medium?
Q25 Do you consider the number 13 to be unlucky?
Q25 Do you ever cross your fingers to bring good luck?
Q26-29 Do you think or do anything special if you are alone and you …
|See a magpie||26||73||1|
|Break a mirror||7||91||2|
Q30 Do you consider yourself to be a religious person?
Q31 Do you consider yourself to be a spiritual person?
Q32 Do you believe in God?
Q33 Do you consider yourself to be a superstitious person?