Is Ken onto a winner with climate change?

Is Ken onto a winner with climate change?


    …or do the voters not really care?

As regular visitors to the site will know one of my favourite polling tables each month is the response to the Ipsos-MORI “What would you say is the most important issue facing Britain today? (Spontaneous)” question. There are no prompts and the pollster has been asking it in the same way for more than thirty years.

There are two questions – in the first respondents are asked to name THE most important issue (Q7 in the table) while in the second they are asked to name other issues without a limit on the number (Q7/8 in the table).

Public opinion is important as we move towards the May 1st local elections and, of course, the London Mayoral election. For the latter the incumbent, Ken Livingstone, has made the environment, particularly taking steps to control carbon emissions, the central plank of his campaign.

    Yet the data from the poll suggests that climate change is far from the top of voters’ concerns and those in London rate it even lower than the country as a whole.

The main rationale for his central London congestion charge has now evolved from freeing up the city’s traffic to making a contribution to tackling global warming.

Yet look at the table above. Just 4% stated that “pollution / environment” was the most important issue with the proportion rising to 10% when “other issues” are included. The detailed data shows that the concern in London is only about half the level as in the country as a whole.

Transport is even further down the list although it does register slightly higher amongst those in the capital.

The problem, of course, is that most people say they support measures to deal with climate change – it is just that they do not rate it that highly in their list of priorities.

The Mayoral betting has seen a move back to Ken following yesterday’s YouGov poll.

Mike Smithson

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