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Poll: Public backing for Clarkson

Suspended Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson would be reinstated were the public able to decide his fate, a new poll suggests.

Research by uSurv for the Press Association revealed some 55% of people aged 18 and above were in favour of giving Clarkson his job back, following his suspension by the BBC for allegedly punching a producer.

His support rose further still among viewers of the hit motoring show, who made up 61% of those polled, with 70% saying he should return compared with just 30% calling for him to be sacked.

The results of the online survey come as an internet petition urging the corporation to reinstate him gained hundreds of thousands of signatures, promoted with the Twitter hashtag #BringBackClarkson.

The TV presenter has laughed off the controversy but said he has regrets as he waits for the outcome of a probe into what the broadcaster has officially described as a "fracas".

Support for Clarkson, who has been embroiled in several controversies in recent months, drops among older people, with 67% of over 60s who expressed an opinion saying he should lose his job.

The poll also suggests men appear more likely to back him, with a 60% to 40% split, while women are divided almost 50:50. Among Top Gear viewers, 75% of men and 64% of women were supporters.

Respondents in Scotland and Northern Ireland were less forgiving, as 56% and 63% respectively would get rid of him, while his biggest champions appear to be from the North East and Wales, where 73% and 64% want to see him return.

Higher income earners were more inclined to reinstate the millionaire presenter - 58% of both those earning between £20,000 and £39,999 and more than £40,000 per year sided with the 54-year-old.

:: uSurv questioned 1,000 people aged 18 and above online on March 11, with the sample selected to represent the gender and regional breakdowns of the UK according to the 2011 census.

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