In response to the initial question "if there were a referendum on whether the Elgin/Parthenon Marbles should be returned to Greece, how would you vote?", Two-fifths of British adults (40%) say they would vote for the Marbles to be returned to Greece and 16% say they would vote to keep them in Britain. However, when asked how they would vote if a number of conditions (see below) were satisfied, the support for the return of the Marbles rises from 40% to 56% and support for keeping them falls from 16% to 7%.
The remaining third (37%) are undecided. This means the total proportion of people who would support the return of the Marbles — in these circumstances — exceeds the number who still support them being kept in Britain by a ratio of 8 to 1.
The conditions were:
- If the Marbles were given to Greece on a long term loan but Britain would still own them
- If the Marbles were given to Greece on a long term loan but Britain would continue to own them and have joint care of the Marbles
- If a new Acropolis Museum was built in Athens
- If Greece would provide the British Museum with other exhibits
- If Greece agrees to waive all other claims for the return of material.
Greece has already offered to comply with these conditions.
Other points of note are:
- Of those people who have visited the Parthenon Marbles in the British Museum, almost twice as many support their return than those who support their retention.
- Over two-fifths (41%) say they had visited the British Museum but only 9% (less than a quarter) said they had visited the Duveen Gallery to see the Parthenon Marbles.
- More Conservative voters say they would support the return of the Parthenon Marbles than those who support keeping them.
Support for the return of the Parthenon Marbles is greater among -
- Older people (over 35) more than younger people (under 35)
- The more affluent (ABC1) more than those from less affluent backgrounds
- Broadsheet newspaper readers more than tabloid newspaper readers
- Labour and Liberal Democrat voters more than Conservative voters
- With the exception of those without any formal qualification, more highly educated people than less highly educated people, and
- Those who are more aware of the debate about the Marbles more than those who are not.
Fieldwork dates: 19-24 September 2002. Nationally representative sample of British adults aged 15+ (2,009), data have been weighted to the known population profile. Number of sample points across Britain: 193. Interviews conducted face-to-face in respondents' homes.