The next Conservative Leader will struggle to rebuild an election-winning voter coalition without strong leadership on net zero. Both current Conservative voters and possible defectors to the party remain strongly in favour of the target of reaching net zero by 2050.
Our new research, using polling from Public First, reveals that voters’ support for net zero remains undimmed despite the Ukraine crisis and the rising cost of living. Net zero remains the 4th most important issue for all voters, and the 5th most important for Conservatives – above crime, housing and Brexit.
This reinforces the findings of previous Onward research which showed that Net Zero scepticism is completely out of touch with public opinion.
This would make it harder for the Conservatives to maintain a majority:
As opposed to cutting green initiatives, 68% of Conservative voters agree that “moving to having our own renewable energy sources in the UK will bring the cost of energy down”. In addition, 68% of Conservative voters also believe that investing in renewables like wind and solar is the best way to deliver energy security. Increasing investment in wind power generates the greatest electoral dividends, securing the new leader between 317 and 365 seats in the MrP analysis.
Of those 2019 Conservative voters who have defected to Don’t Know, 36% say they would be more likely to vote Conservative again if they kept net zero as a way of cutting back on Russian gas. In addition, 41% of undecided voters who would consider voting Conservative also say they would be more likely to vote for them in this scenario.
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