Meanwhile, 23 percent of respondents favor keeping them in Britain and another 32 percent said they “did not”mind either way.” Another seven percent said they did not know how they felt about the issue.
YouGov also tested some of the arguments that have been made for or against returning the Parthenon Marbles to Greece, and found that the arguments “for” tend to be more popular than the arguments “against.”
Thirty-six percent say one of the best arguments for returning the sculptures is that they “are one work of art, and they should be reunited along with the rest of the Parthenon sculptures in Greece.” While the British Museum houses many of the sculptures from the Parthenon, others can be found around the world in places like Paris and Copenhagen.
Another 34 percent are swayed by the argument that the sculptures belong in Greece due to their importance as a part of Greek cultural heritage.
The most popular argument for keeping the sculptures in Britain is that sending them back would set a bad precedent. If Britain has to give these sculptures back, the argument goes, it will throw into doubt the fate of not only other artifacts kept at the British Museum, but also those in museums around the world. Twenty-seven percent rank this among the most convincing arguments for keeping the sculptures in Britain.
Twenty-three percent are also convinced by the argument that there was no injustice in taking the artifacts at all: because the Ottoman Empire permitted Lord Elgin to take the sculptures and the Ottoman Empire was in charge of Greece at the time, it wasn’t illegal for him to take the Marbles at all.
Only nine percent think it’s a good argument that Britain should be able to keep the Marbles – even if they were taken illegally – just because they were taken 200 years ago.
The poll was conducted 16-17 October during the visit of British-Lebanese barrister Amal Alamuddin Clooney in Athens where she held meetings with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and members of the government.
In total, 1,966 UK citizens participated in the survey.