YouGov leader poll response: net zero policy roll-back viewed as ‘untrustworthy’

YouGov polling finds Rishi Sunak’s net favourability rating now stands at -45, his lowest score to date, following net zero announcements.

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By George Smeeton

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Following new YouGov polling showing the Prime Minister’s approval ratings have fallen following his recent speech on net zero [1], new polling by Focaldata for the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) has found that the Government rolling back on net zero policies makes it look ‘untrustworthy’.

When voters were asked what they would feel about the Government taking action to push back or scrap key climate policies they had previously committed to, the top response (40%) was ‘untrustworthy’. A quarter (25%) responded with ‘chaotic’ with less than one in three (29%) saying it would be ‘sensible’ [2].

When asked which sector would most likely create long-term growth in the economy, the top response (54%) was renewable energy and clean technology with manufacturing second on 44%.

Almost two-thirds (60%) think the UK should be one of the most ambitious counties in the world when it comes to addressing climate change, regardless of what other countries do. This is compared to around a third (32%) who think that the UK should wait for other countries, such as the US and China, to act.

A third of adults (33%) would say that any decision by the Prime Minister to push back or delay climate related polices would be ‘reckless’ and another third (31%) would describe it as ‘backwards’. Less than a third (29%) said ‘sensible’ and around one in six (15%) said ‘forward looking’.

Alasdair Johnstone, Politics Analyst, from the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, said: “The relative political chaos of the last few days combined with the fact that the vast majority of the public back the 2050 net zero target, appears to have taken its toll. It is clear that the announcements made won’t have any real near-term impact on the cost of living for hard-working families but could make it much harder to hit our climate targets.

“In his speech the Prime Minister hinted towards future announcements on climate policy, which will likely need to be much more sincere in order to win back voters’ trust, particularly in the so-called Blue Wall. Climate change is a long-term challenge, with people concerned about how it will affect current and future generations. Flip-flopping on it will impact on trust.”

The Government have announced that it intends to push back the date of phasing out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030 to 2035. However, previous polling from ECIU and Focaldata found that nearly half (46%) said they thought the Government should stick with its plan to phase out new purely petrol and diesel by 2030 and hybrids by 2035 [3].


Notes to editors

[1] Sunak net favourability falls again to new low following net zero announcements:

[2] Polling conducted by Focaldata 1641 UK Adults between 20th – 22nd September 2023

[3] Public back Government’s petrol and diesel car phase out:

For more information or for interview requests:

George Smeeton, Head of Communications, ECIU, Tel: 07894 571 153, email: