In February 2015 a survey was published by the Evangelical Alliance, looking at the key issues of importance to evangelical Christians. The Alliance surveyed over 2000 evangelical Christians, asking questions about their political views and voting intentions.
The survey found that poverty was the main concern for Lib Dems Christians. When Liberal Democrat supporters were asked in more detail about their policy priorities, the top five issues that emerged were:
- Helping the poorest: 74%
- Ensuring religious liberty: 64%
- Eliminating human trafficking: 53%
- Protecting 0.7% international development aid: 51%
- Introducing the living wage: 50%
When it comes to the other parties, Labour, the Greens and undecided voters also identified poverty and inequality as being the most important issue. For Conservative voters the economy came top, while, as one would expect, for UKIP the EU was the main priority.
While the EA survey found that 29% of the Christians questioned, voted Lib Dem in 2010 (with 22% voting Labour and 40% Conservative), when asked how they would vote this time around, 31% said they would vote Labour,
28% Conservative, 12% UKIP - and only 11% Lib Dem.
In response to the survey Nick Clegg said:
"This is a fascinating survey, and I am struck by a number of things. First the high level of engagement of evangelical Christians with public and political life, and your hugely encouraging commitment to our democratic processes. Having a thriving democracy and fair governance is fundamental to the DNA of the Liberal Democrats, and something I personally hold dear.
"Second, tackling poverty and inequality shines through as a priority, echoing the commitment and work of churches and Christian organisations across the UK, working tirelessly to serve the most disadvantaged in their communities. Tackling inequality and deprivation by giving everyone the opportunity to get on in life is a central theme for my party.”
He went on: “As a liberal, I am deeply committed to the belief that nobody should suffer from persecution based on any criteria –whether religion, gender, ethnicity, disability, or anything else. Religious freedoms as outlined in Article 18 of the UN Convention of Human Rights are fundamental, and must be upheld; one of many reasons it is essential the UK keeps our commitment to the Convention.”
You can read Nick's comments in full here: http://www.eauk.org/idea/the-hparty-leaders-respond.cfm.
Given these Evangelical Alliance survey results, we still need to get across the message to Christian voters, and in particular Liberal Democrat supporters, that their concerns are reflected in our 2015 Manifesto - with its key themes of equality of opportunity and greater tax justice.
In addition, Lib Dem MP, Michael Moore's Private Members Bill, ensuring that 0.7% of the UK's Gross National Income is spent on international aid, is set to become law by the end of this Parliament, one of the Lib Dems' proudest achievements in this Parliament.
To hear more about why Christians might want to vote Lib Dem, check out our new ‘Why Vote Lib Dem’ resource www.ldcf.org/whyvotelibdem