Comment & poll: more Conservative to Labour switchers back net zero target

Nearly three-quarters (71%) of people who voted Conservative in 2019 but now say they’ll vote Labour if there was an election tomorrow, support the 2050 net zero target.

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By George Smeeton

info@eciu.net

Information on this page correct as of:

Responding to a speech by Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero Claire Coutinho today at the Conservative Party Conference, Alasdair Johnstone from the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) said:

“The Secretary of State's message appeared an attempt to assuage the concern of businesses worried by the Prime Minister's speech two weeks ago that shook investor confidence.

“Funding for insulating social housing will be welcome by those struggling with their energy bills. But this is just a drop in the ocean compared to the millions of private renters who have no power to make their homes warmer and cheaper to heat following the PM’s ditching of landlord energy efficiency standards during his net zero speech."[1]

The comments came as new polling from Focaldata for the ECIU found that nearly three-quarters (71%) of people who voted Conservative in 2019 but now say they’ll vote Labour if there was an election tomorrow, support the 2050 net zero target. [2]

Overall two-thirds (66%) of people support the target and about the same (67%) of those who say they would vote Conservative if an election were held tomorrow. This compared to 24% of all voters who said they oppose the target.

Voters ranked climate and the environment the fourth most important issues facing the country, behind the economy, health and immigration, but ahead of housing, crime and the UK leaving the EU.

Alasdair Johnstone said: “Despite efforts to suggest net zero is a vote loser, those planning to swing away from the Conservatives to Labour are even more up with net zero than the average. The public are concerned by climate change, and while there is a move to try to politicise net zero, the cold, hard physics of it is that unless we reach net zero emissions the extremes of flood and hire will only continue to get worse.”


Notes to editors:

1. ECIU: PM’s net zero changes could cost households up to £8bn: https://eciu.net/media/press-releases/2023/pms-net-zero-changes-could-cost-households-up-to-8bn

2. Polling conducted by Focaldata on 27th September 2023 of 1579 GB adults.

For more information or for interview requests:

George Smeeton, Head of Communications, ECIU, Tel: 07894 571 153, email: george.smeeton@eciu.net