POLITICS
19/02/2015 14:19 GMT | Updated 19/02/2015 15:59 GMT

Christian Support For Conservatives Drops By A Third, Evangelical Alliance Report Says

Conservative support among Christians has dropped by a third since the last election, in new research that will lend weight to the Tories allegations of a left-wing allegiance in the Church.

Almost 40% of Christians surveyed by the Evangelical Alliance said they intended to change who they vote for in this election, and both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats have seen significant drops in support from a community where almost double the national average intend to vote.

The Faith in Politics? report follows a survey of 2,020 evangelical Christians, conducted by the Evangelical Alliance between August and September 2014, shows that poverty and inequality is the single most important issue for evangelicals, compared to only 4% of the general population saying the same.

david cameron church

Prime Minister David Cameron leaves St Michael and All Angels Church in Southfields, London

The survey comes as the Church of England defended itself against accusations of left-wing bias after releasing an unprecedented general election manifesto that claims it's the "duty" of every Christian to vote.

A leading group of bishops issued the 52-page letter, warning that people "feel detached" from politics and calling for a "fresh moral vision of the kind of country we want to be".

Conservative backbencher Nadine Dorries earlier said there was a "very definite left-wing leaning'' to the intervention from the bishops, which refers to topics including the Trident nuclear deterrent, Britain's relationship with the European Union and the welfare.

The top issues for evangelical Christians, according to the EA survey, also included religious liberty, human trafficking and opposition same-sex marriage - which could also be one of the reasons behind a drop in support for Conservatives, who proposed the same sex marriage bill.

The research said there has been a fivefold increase in support for both Ukip and The Green Party among Christians. Support for the Conservatives declined by nearly a third, while the Liberal Democrats lost over half of their support. The Labour Party now has the highest level of support, backed by 31% of evangelicals.

Dr Dave Landrum, advocacy director at the Evangelical Alliance, said: “The issues that concern 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."