The Election and another Lying Climate Poll

The Guardian has a piece with the headline: Climate crisis affects how majority will vote in UK election – poll” reporting on a survey which claims that two-thirds of people agree that the climate emergency is the biggest issue facing humankind, with only 7% disagreeing.

They go on to claim that:

More than half of those polled (54%) said climate change would affect how they would vote, with the proportion rising to 74% for under-25s.

The Guardian typically gives no link to the source, but the poll’s findings can be consulted at the website of the survey’s client, ClientEarth, hereand it’s an object lesson in how to mislead without actually lying in opinion research.

Remember the old adage: “Opinions are like amygdalae. Everyone has one or two, but no-one knows why, or what they’re for”?

The survey starts, in best Cook/Lewandowsky fashion, by establishing the existence of a consensus, asking respondents:

Do you agree or disagree that:

– Climate change is an issue that will affect us and future generations;

– Awareness of climate change is growing;

– People are becoming much more fearful and anxious about climate change;

– The climate emergency demands much more urgent action;”

Once they’ve been softened up with talk of fear, anxiety, emergency and urgency, it’s little wonder that 63% are willing to assent to the final binary choice:

– Climate change is now the biggest issue facing humankind

.. from which it follows that it will effect my voting habits, choice of pension plan, and anything else you care to mention, your honour.

[Why not One Opinion Poll to Rule them All, with just one question:

Do you agree with what the authorities tell you everyone else believes, or are you the kind of miserable contrarian who has no friends on Facebook and gets his information from Russian bots and climate denier sites?”]

The only other mention of the poll I could find last night was at “Circular – the Website for Resource and Waste Professionals” – and a circular site for waste professionals is where it belongs.

The Waste Experts pick out the finding that:

Britons want financial institutions, companies and government to do more to act against climate change and are willing to put “planet before profits”, according to ClientEarth. Brits want their pensions and investments to minimise climate impacts and support a sustainable economy; far more than those who only seek to maximise financial returns – reveals new survey by environmental lawyers ClientEarth, released today (30 Oct).

Which figures, given that the charity ClientEarth is a bunch of lawyers who will take you to court if you stand up for reasoned scientific discussion in the face of consensus opinion.

But lets go back to the political part of the poll, which is my cue to steer discussion towards the election.

I follow polling on voting intentions at the Wiki site. I did the same for the US election, which is why I was one of about half a dozen people in the world who wasn’t surprised by Trump’s victory.

(One of the key aspects of the modern world is the vast amount of data available; the huge number of so-called experts paid to interpret it; and the minuscule size and practical invisibility of the intermediate corps of curious citizens capable of examining the data and sharing their wisdom with their fellow citizens – though we do our best. Which brings us straight back to the Climate Question of course.)

Wiki has a list of all the relevant polls of voting intentions, plus an excellent unsmoothed graph showing all the bumps, including the extraordinary June/July event, one month after the European parliamentary election, when the Tories, Labour, Lib Dems and Brexit were neck and neck at 20-25%, with the Greens peaking at 8%.

By August the polls had reverted to something more normal, with Tories and Labour leading over Lib Dems and the Brexit Party; Movement has been minimal over the past extraordinary six weeks, but that may change.

People distrust polls, so it’s worth making a couple of points in their favour. An intention to do something (vote for w x y or z) is quite different from an opinion, which may be based on a considered analysis of the question, or the first thing that comes into one’s head. Surveys of voting intention should therefore be more reliable, less dependent on extraneous factors, than surveys of opinion.

A quick look at the estimate for the gap between the leading two parties in the right hand column of the Wiki table tends to confirm suspicions of polls, since it shows a Tory lead over Labour which varies from 1% to 16% over the past three months, with no clear trend. The impression that the polls are zigzagging erratically is a bit unfair for two reasons: first, the gap doubles the normal margin of error of ~3%; and secondly, polls by individual polling companies show greater internal consistency than the total of all polls.

Somebody’s not doing it quite right, but, interestingly, it’s not because of bias on the part of company or client. Survation for the pro-Tory Daily Mail has shown consistently lower scores for the Tories than Opinium, who work for the pro-Labour Observer.

On the question of a significant trend, Opinium, with seven polls since the beginning of September, show a positive trend to the Tories, from 35% on 4-6 September to 40% 23-25 October. However, YouGov, which has done twelve polls in that period, mostly for the Times, shows no clear trend in the Tory vote.

At the time of writing just one poll has been published since the announcement of an election, by Survation. They show Conservatives on 34%, up 2% from their last poll twelve days ago; Labour also up 2% on 26%; Lib Dems down 2% on 19%; and the Brexit Party down 1% on 12%. Nothing very surprising then.

Oh, and the Greens, whose score has varied erratically from 2 to 7% over the past eventful six weeks, are now at 1%.

Over half the population may tell the lawyers at ClientEarth that the climate emergency will effect how they vote, but that’s not what the polls say.

[apologies for the odd changes to bold, which are a WordPress feature ]


  1. Well rejecting the climate hype, which I believe is becoming more and more the emerging position, is in a sense validation of the idea that climate change is a highly tanked concern. And as it becomes apparent to more and more people that XR is to helping deal with climate what the Khmer Rouge were to dealing with land reform, then yes there is a climate emergency. Just not maybe quite the way thise who fabricated the poll believe.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. An excellent summary of the Rovian turn in Polling and Election Punditry generally.
    Polls in some respects employ the psychology of prizefighters in a close bout both being hoisted aloft calainḿing victory in an attempt to influence the judges.

    Tactical Voting will be key if there is any chance of a Sovereign Brexit Parliament, That Bojo claimed CO2 Props to cheers from his own backbench suggests that his Global Banking sponsorship prospects are more important to him still /Carbin Currency End Game) than any real vector back towards constitutional probity for The UK breaking free of the Soviet shackles of the Stalinist EU.

    Wiki Ballot is an Initiative John Ward ( The Slog ) and myself have put out there to give an easy focal point for direct democracy sovereign Brexit groups to organise as they wish at a local level


  3. Founder of Client Earth, James Thornton, is an American import, (or a British re-import), having spent a lot of time with the powerful NGO, National Resources Defense Council.
    “A member of the bars of New York, California and the Supreme Court of the United States, and a solicitor of England and Wales, he moved from Wall Street law practice to found the Citizens’ Enforcement Project at NRDC in New York, where he brought some 80 federal lawsuits against corporations to enforce the Clean Water Act after the Reagan Administration had stopped enforcing the law. He won these cases and embarrassed the government to start enforcing the law again.”

    “ClientEarth is a charity that uses the power of the law to protect the planet and the people who live on it. We are lawyers and environmental experts who are fighting against climate change and to protect nature and the environment.”

    NRDC: “We combine the power of more than three million members and online activists with the expertise of some 600 scientists, lawyers, and policy advocates across the globe to ensure the rights of all people to the air, the water, and the wild.”

    This is NRDC’s recent output, the flavour is the same as Client Earth,

    Some history, which includes Thornton’s time with them:

    “The Natural Resources Defense Council is one of the many environmental groups that have colluded with federal agencies in “sue and settle” lawsuits. Since 2009, the NRDC has accepted at least nine settlements from the EPA.

    In these cases, environmental activists sue the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), arguing that the agency is taking too long to issue a particular regulation or that the agency isn’t meeting a specific legal requirement. The EPA can then either defend itself in court or settle with the environmentalists. In several cases the EPA issued a consent agreement to settle cases the very same day activists filed their lawsuits.”

    Client Earth is pursuing the NRDC model which Thornton helped establish in the US. Leo Di Caprio and Robert Redford are on the NRDC Board of Trustees.

    There is still a close association between Client Earth and NRDC. Former NRDC President, Frances Beinecke, is on the Board of Trustees of Client Earth.

    There are other US members, plus a deputy UK High Court Judge and Sarah Butler-Schloss, a representative of the Sainsbury Foundation:

    There is considerable establishment involvement, eg, Philippe Joubert, Chair of the Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change. A lady called Winsome Mcintosh is a family member of the Mackintosh Foundation which helped set up Client Earth:

    They also have a US Board where several of the UK board are also members.

    Lots of big globalist money behind Client Earth.


  4. They should call them ‘loaded question polls’. Exclude options you don’t want anyone to select, and away you go – a bit like the so-called “people’s vote” idea.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. From page 6 of the ClientEarth PDF linked by Geoff: ‘Q. Which, if any, of the following do you feel are affecting the UK now and will do in the future because of climate change?’

    60% of those polled felt that extinctions due to climate change are already affecting the UK.

    How? Did they perhaps feel that the extinction of a toad in Central America or a rat in the Torres Strait has somehow affected supplies of their posh coffee beans?

    And, if so, would that be positively or negatively?

    Opinion polls are always so vague.


  6. Vinny
    The whole questionnaire is simply a compendium of talking points from the Guardian environment pages with which respondents are invited to agree or disagree. There’s a good’s on “my favourite energy source” with, from memory, solar top with 28% followed by off shore wind, and nuclear a surprising fourth.

    There’s also “Would you be willing to change your car / household appliances if the government paid you to?” or words to that effect.

    I wonder how many sceptics got fed up half way through and told the interviewer to get lost?


  7. The Guardian seems to have its very own Climate Crisis. It is promoting holidays to far away places, such as this one to the Maldives, whilst warning constantly of apocalypse soon:
    “A gradual rise in average sea level is threatening to completely cover this Indian Ocean nation of 1196 small islands within the next 30 years,” the Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported in September 1988.”

    How about Thailand?

    Sri Lanka anyone?

    Hold on, what about the climate Crisis?

    “We will not stay quiet on the climate crisis, The climate emergency is the defining issue of our times”.

    “Taking a long-haul flight generates more carbon emissions than the average person in dozens of countries around the world produces in a whole year, a new Guardian analysis has found.”

    It seems the right hand of the Guardian isn’t taking notice of its left hand.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. “and a circular site for waste professionals is where it belongs”

    the circular filing cabinet for it, the circular firing squad for us


  9. bit o/t, but thanks for the link to – “Circular – the Website for Resource and Waste Professionals”

    who are they I thought? – from the web site –

    CIWM is justifiably proud of being a well-managed registered charity operating under a Royal Charter
    CIWM is the leading membership organisation for professionals in the sustainability, resources and waste management sector, representing and supporting over 5,000 individuals across the UK and overseas.”

    nothing against that, but a charity with no web page giving funding details makes me wonder,or did I miss it !!!


  10. 2b monarch of all you survey, try push – polling like Edward Bernays.

    “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, and our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of…. It is they who pull the wires that control the public mind.” – Edward Bernays.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. “We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, and our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of…. It is they who pull the wires that control the public mind.” Edward Bernays may have been correct when he wrote that, but he’s rather outdated now and would be considered a misogynist. In the western world it is commonly women who are being influenced and increasingly by other women.


  12. My post on NRDC should be “Natural” Resources Defense Council, not “National”.


  13. How about a climate poll of tourists exiting the new airports in the Maldives? Something like: ‘Are you worried about (1) the *carbon emissions* of your flight and/or (2) not being able to get a plane home afterwards – due to *climate change* effects submerging the runway’?

    Just Before They Sink Below The Waves Maldives Open Five New Airports This Year
    Date: 01/11/19 Maldives Insider

    Five new airports will come into operation by the end of the year, Maldives government announced Sunday.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. COP25 is to be held in Madrid 2-13 December. Has anyone asked future PM Corbyn if he will be attending the closing ceremony? Or is forming a cabinet more important than saving the planet?

    Meanwhile, from the Graun:

    Greta Thunberg, the Swedish climate activist who sparked the global student strikes, had travelled as far as Los Angeles without flying and was planning to continue to Santiago in time for the conference. On Friday she made a plea for help getting back to Europe in time for the conference. “It turns out I’ve travelled half around the world, the wrong way,” she tweeted. “Now I need to find a way to cross the Atlantic in November … If anyone could help me find transport I would be so grateful.”


  15. Geoff, it seems quite a lot of activists have been caught out by the sudden change of venue. These kids, for example, en route to present their “clear demands towards our political leaders” :

    More disappointments chronicled in the Guardian:

    “The British film-maker James Levelle is halfway through a 100-day, 7,000-mile fossil-free journey to Santiago. Supporters say he may not even be aware that the climate summit has been cancelled.”

    Oh, dear. The following tale of woe takes the biscuit, though:

    ‘Other climate groups are also reeling from the immense financial hit of non-refundable airline tickets and the complications of getting visas to a new venue.

    “We had big plans to bring indigenous representatives and partners to the summit,” said Nicole Oliveira, Latin America team leader of, which planned to bring about 60 people to a climate defenders gathering ahead of the summit, in addition to 16 staff and a dozen other regional partners. The group says the cost of airfares and accommodation could double if the climate conference moves to Spain – which would eat up 10-15% of their budget for the event.

    “What may not mean anything to the large corporations of the fossil fuel industry, to us as non-profit civil society organizations – and even more to the indigenous organizations – can often represent our survival as active agents of change,” Oliveira said.’

    So they’re complaining about having to pay for the airline travel without which they wouldn’t be able to attend COP25 (and without which there wouldn’t be international climate conferences anyway, come to that).

    I think this is the reason these ungracious people hate fossil fuels, airline travel, the economy and the modern world so much – try as they might, they can’t do without these things.

    It’s like listening to a big “I hate you!” from a sulky teenager to the long-suffering parents who keep him housed and fed.


  16. Another day, another fake survey in the Guardian. The article claims that most people support a net zero date of 2030.

    The survey was “commissioned by Green New Deal UK, a non-party-aligned campaign group”, and the actual question asked was

    The UK Government has committed to a target of bringing all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero. This means making efforts to lower carbon emissions, and offsetting any emissions with schemes such as planting trees or using technology like carbon capture and storage. When do you think the Government should aim to be net zero by?

    Click to access NEON_CarbonGoal_191030.pdf

    If you lie to people by telling that net zero means making an effort to reduce emissions and planting a few more trees, obviously you’re going to get the answer you want.

    HT Christopher Snowdon



    If you lie to people by telling that net zero means making an effort to reduce emissions and planting a few more trees, obviously you’re going to get the answer you want.

    …and if you omit to point out that it also means banning the petrol engine in eleven years’ time, among other minor adjustments. People may have already started to work this out, since there’s a worldwide slump in car sales. Since most car purchases in the West are non-essential replacements. I wonder if there’s an unconscious tendency to put off replacing the old car for a couple of years until a nice economical green electric one comes along? There’s nothing like a crisis in the auto industry for provoking a recession.

    I’m wondering if there’s something we can do about these phoney polls with the code of conduct of the polling organisations? It’s worth looking into.

    Liked by 1 person

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