UK: People to Vote for Pro-Wind Politicians, Poll Says
New independent research published today reveals that people are less likely to vote for political parties that oppose wind farm developments. The polling, undertaken by ComRes, asked about voting intention for both tomorrow’s local elections and the next General Election in May 2015.
The results show that, in a General Election, 31% of voters are less likely to vote for a party that removes support for wind energy, compared to 27% who would be more likely to vote for a candidate who backed ending policies supporting more wind farm development.
For local elections, the difference is more pronounced. 34% of local voters said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who actively supported wind power, compared to 24% who said that they would be less likely to vote for a pro-wind politician.
The polling also found that results are particularly stark in areas where the results of the next General Election will likely be decided.
§ In the Conservative-Labour battleground of the North West of England, twice as many said they were “much less likely” (17%) to vote for a party blocking future wind developments than those “much more likely” (8%) to do so.
§ The figures were even more pronounced in the South West, where there are several Liberal Democrat marginal seats. 39% of those polled actively support pro-wind candidates, compared to 23% of those who are anti-wind.
Women were found to be particularly positive towards wind, with nearly one in three (30%) saying they would be less likely to support a national party removed support for wind energy, compared to 22% who would be more likely.
The research also shows that wind compares favourably with attitudes to hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for shale gas. 26% of voters would be concerned about supporting a pro-fracking politician compared to 22% who would be more likely to vote in favour. Women are less in favour of fracking than men, with only 15% of women saying they would be more likely to vote for a party that supported the use of fracking compared to 26% who were less likely to do so.
As much as this highlighted policy areas where votes may be won, it was still clear that despite the volume of anti-wind rhetoric from some politicians, voters remain more concerned with other issues. For example 70% of voters would be more likely to support a party that reduced levels of immigration and 45% said the same about a party that would leave the European Union.
Commenting on the research, Maria McCaffery Chief Executive at RenewableUK said: “The countdown to the next national election is on, and these results show that those politicians who attack wind farms risk alienating important parts of the electorate – the very people who could decide the next election. We continually see high approval ratings for wind energy, and it’s clear that as voters go to the ballot box they keep that favourability towards wind. For the energy sector to secure the investment needed and to create tens of thousands of jobs over the next decade it’s vital that we see strong political leadership. Today’s results should encourage politicians of all parties to do just that”.
Press release, May 2, 2013; Image: