Voters think that Climate Change is a top priority, but it won’t affect who they vote for.

Issue

Percentage Agree

Poll

Concerned or Very Concerned

77 %

Ipsos MORI 2008(a)

Should be top Priority of Government

28 %

ICM research 2006

Top voting issue*

ave. 7.8 %

Ipsos MORI Aug 2007- Aug 2008

* Spontaneous responses grouped under Environment / Pollution

It’s frankly bizarre. In line with other polls, a recent Ipsos MORI poll puts fairly concerned and very concerned citizens combined making up 77% of the UK population, yet it clearly doesn’t figure as a singular voting issue.

As the chart below shows, over the last two and a half years, climate change has not even registered in the top 5 voting issues. In fact, between Aug 2007 and Aug 2008, the number of voters who said that the Environment/ Pollution was their top issue averaged at 7.8% of the population.

Ipsos-MORI 2008 "Issues Index Jan 05-Jun 08"

Ipsos-MORI 2008

There are a couple of possible reasons for this disparity, some just technical artefacts of polling methods which may account for a small amount of the difference but also some more significant possible factors.

One possible explanation is that while people are concerned it is not their central reason that decides their vote. Others perhaps think that action by the U.K is futile without international co-operation in which they have little faith. Another possibility is that people believe that climate change will not be solved by government but by individuals and businesses. It is also possible that voters think it is too late to act on climate change and have become resigned to a global catastrophe. Over the next few days I will post more on these subjects and identify trends in the polling data that can elucidate the cause of this paradox.

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