The population of the UK is equally split over the importance of institutional religion in public life, but three-quarters of the public and 70 per cent of Christians believe it is wrong for bishops to have reserved places in the House of Lords.
The findings come in an ICM poll commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust, as part of the Power 2010 initiative for reform of the second chamber in parliament, of which the religion and society think-tank Ekklesia is a member.
This is the first major survey of public opinion with regard to the place of bishops in the House of Lords. It was carried out on 10-11 March 2010.
* 43% of people believe it is important that institutional religion plays a role in public life, whilst 41% feel it isn't important.
* Many more Muslims (84%) than Christians (50%) believe that it is important that 'organised religion should play a role in public life'.
* 74% of the population - including 70% of Christians - believe it is wrong that some Church of England Bishops are given an automatic seat in the House of Lords.
* 65% say it is important that anyone who sits in the House of Commons or House of Lords and votes on laws is elected
* Support for the place of Church of England bishops in the Lords is least in Scotland, where only 20% of the population believe their presence is significant.
ICM Research is a nationally and internationally recognised market research company offering polling, focus groups and telephone surveys in various specialist areas - http://www.icmresearch.co.uk/
Power2010 is a major new coalition working to 'change politics - for good' in Britain - http://www.power2010.org.uk/
Read the full survey results (Adobe Acrobat *.PDF file format) here: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/content/survey_on_bishops_icm.pdf