Archive for April, 2013

Why has Labour’s lead over the Tories fallen this month?

Posted in Politics on April 28th, 2013 by Leo – Comments Off on Why has Labour’s lead over the Tories fallen this month?

Two weeks ago, Labour’s lead over the Tories fell several points over a weekend. It’s still big enough to give Labour a decent majority, but it’s the first sustained shift of this size since the Tories’ omnishambles last spring.

There’s been some speculation about why the polls changed. Was it because Thatcher’s death reminded a bunch of people that they loved the Tories after all; because the welfare debate hurt Labour; because Tony Blair was nasty about Ed Miliband in the New Statesman; or was it the belated unwinding of the gains that Labour made in 2012?

The reason the question of why it happened is important* is that some changes are only temporary – usually when there’s been an external news story or a well-received political setpiece. But politics news that says something new and fundamental about one party can produce a more lasting realignment. This is what happened after the omnishambles budget – and it’s what some are saying is happening to Labour with the welfare debate (in a bad way).

Firstly, on the headline numbers, there was a drop in Labour’s lead between the 12th and 15th April. Excluding a couple of outliers**, Labour went from 11.4 ahead in the YouGov*** polls before that weekend to 7.5 in the polls since then.  While Lib Dem and UKIP scores haven’t changed much, the Tories have gone up a couple of points and Labour have fallen about the same amount:

The detail of who has switched might give us a clue about why things have changed.

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Poll: It doesn’t matter what’s causing it – UK adults believe the government must act on climate change

Posted in Climate Sock on April 4th, 2013 by Leo – 3 Comments

This is the latest in the series of blogs on Carbon Brief’s new energy and climate change poll. It was written by Ros Donald and Christian Hunt and the original is available here.

Are scientists, communicators and policymakers too preoccupied about whether people ‘believe’ in human-caused climate change or not? Polling by Carbon Brief shows that while people may not be sure whether humans are warming the planet, the majority still wants action now to abate climate change.

According to polling carried out for Carbon Brief by Opinium, 89 per cent of respondents said they believe climate change is happening. Only six  per cent said they did not believe the climate is changing.

But opinion was divided when it came to what’s causing climate change. The majority – 56 per cent – said humans are causing the warming, but a significant number – around 33 per cent – believe it’s mostly down to natural causes.

Belief Graph .png

Question: Which of the following statements do you agree with most? Climate change is happening and is mostly caused by humans; Climate change is happening and is mostly caused by natural processes; Climate change is not happening.

How significant is this? We found that despite the confusion about what’s causing global warming, 67 per cent of respondents want action to abate emissions now. That’s compared to 13 per cent who said we don’t need to worry about doing anything now and 12 per cent who said it would never be a problem.

Action Graph .png

Question: Which of the following statements do you agree with most?

So whatever people’s beliefs about the causes of climate change, they still want us to do something about it.

Previous study

This result mirrors the outcome of  an Angus Reid poll, released just after the Copenhagen climate summit and the leak of climate scientists’ emails from the University of East Anglia in 2010. These events are widely reported in the media as being the cause of much skepticism in the public.

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Polling reveals public trusts scientists most on climate

Posted in Climate Sock on April 3rd, 2013 by Leo – Comments Off on Polling reveals public trusts scientists most on climate

This post is the latest in the series on Carbon Brief’s energy and climate change poll. It was written by Ros Donald and the original was published here.

People in the UK overwhelmingly trust scientists more than any other source to give them accurate information about climate change, according to a new survey. In contrast, politicians and social media come joint last on the list.

Scientists most trusted

According to a new poll conducted for Carbon Brief by pollsters Opinium ,  69 per cent of those asked agreed that scientists and meteorologists are trustworthy sources of accurate information about climate science. Only seven per cent disagreed that scientists could be trusted to do this.

Next highest came ‘green’ charities such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, and BBC journalists and commentators, with 39 per cent and 31 per cent respectively saying they trusted these sources. But these groups divided opinion – 23 per cent don’t trust green charities, and 25 per cent think the BBC can’t be trusted to provide accurate information.

Sharing last place: politicians and social media 

While scientists topped the trust league table, politicians, blogs and social media came bottom. Only seven per cent said they considered politicians to be reliable sources of climate change information – and websites and social didn’t do any better, also scoring a seven per cent rating. 64 per cent said they didn’t think politicians could be trusted to give them accurate information, compared to 53 per cent for social media sources.

Trust Graph

Question: How trustworthy do you think the following information sources are in providing you with accurate information about climate change? 

Previous studies

Carbon Brief’s results tally closely with a previous study Ipsos Mori carried out last February for Climate Week of around 1,000 respondents. Asked whose views they trust on climate change, 66 per cent of those asked said they trust scientists the most.

In this survey, celebrities were deemed least trustworthy, with only one per cent professing trust in their views on climate change.

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Climate scientists ARE trusted – and other lessons from the new poll

Posted in Climate Sock on April 2nd, 2013 by Leo – Comments Off on Climate scientists ARE trusted – and other lessons from the new poll

Carbon Brief’s poll has tons of interesting findings – some of them covered in last week’s blogs.

But as with any apparently new information, it’s useful to put the results in the context of what we’ve seen before. How does the poll fit with what others have shown?

I’m going to pick on three places where it’s interesting to compare the new poll with previous ones.

1. Doubts about climate change aren’t rising

I’ve been banging on about this for a while. Poll after poll is showing that belief that climate change is real and man-made is at the same level it was at before Copenhagen, ‘climategate’, the UK’s cold winters, and the subsequent dip in belief.

The Carbon Brief poll adds yet more weight to this. Compared with a question asked by ICM in ’09 and last year, the results show no movement:

It really is time we stopped saying that belief in climate change is falling.

2. ‘Belief’ in climate doesn’t mean that much anyway

But when I’m not banging on about the fact that climate denial isn’t rising, I can usually be found arguing that focusing on ‘belief’ in climate change misses the point.

One of my favourite charts is from a post-Copenhagen poll that showed that, even among those who said they don’t think global warming has been proven, a majority wanted a reduction in worldwide emissions.

I’ve taken this to indicate there’s a bunch of people who respond to questions about whether they ‘believe’ in climate change as if they’re being asked “are you a tree-hugging leftie who hates business?” – so they say no to that question, but still want the government to do something about climate change.

But is that true? A question in the Carbon Brief poll supports that view, albeit not quite to the extent seen in the Copenhagen poll.

Of those who think climate change or global warming is mostly caused by natural processes (about a third of the total), 45% think that tackling climate change should still be part of the government’s economic programme:

3. There isn’t a big problem with trust in climate scientists

A poll conducted in March ’11 and reported 18 months later by LWEC found that only 38% agreed they trusted climate scientists to tell the truth about climate change.

This prompted soul-searching among those worried about public perceptions of climate change: if even climate scientists aren’t trusted, what hope is there for building support for action to tackle climate change?

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