A recent YouGov survey shows that 58% of UK adults support the demand of Just Stop Oil to stop new oil and gas and rather than being counterproductive, disruptive action by Just Stop Oil has potentially increased the number of people in the UK willing to take climate action.
In polling commissioned by Social Change Lab, three nationally representative surveys of over 2,000 adults were conducted on 29th March, 9th April and 19th April.
Results from the latest survey on 19th April, showed that public awareness of Just Stop Oil increased from close to zero before the actions began, to over 63% in just two and a half weeks and that 58% of UK adults now support the demands of Just Stop Oil, compared with 23% against and 19% neutral.
The survey also measured people’s satisfaction with the efforts of the UK government and found that only 26.1% of UK adults thought the government was doing a lot to tackle climate change, while 46% disagreed with this statement.
The detailed results of the survey show that rather than putting people off taking climate action as some have claimed, three weeks after the Just Stop Oil protests began, the number of people who said they were likely to talk with friends and family about climate change, contact their MP about climate issues or attend a legal protest about climate change over the next 12 months had risen by a statistically significant amount – from 8.7% to 11.3%, equivalent to approximately 1.7 million adults.
Dr Ben Kenward, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Oxford Brookes University, who assisted with the research, said
“We don’t know for sure what caused the increase during this period, but the fact that 63% of the population has now heard about Just Stop Oil suggests it might be a factor. Further, this shows it isn’t the case that these protests backfired by causing a large negative reaction in the population.”
James Ozden, Director of Social Change Lab, said
“We’ve heard many people speculating that the disruptive protests utilised by Just Stop Oil were damaging to the climate movement. Our survey results don’t support this, finding no loss in support for key climate policies, and instead, we find that the likelihood of the UK public taking various forms of climate action has increased in the same period.”
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Social Change Lab is a research non-profit focused on understanding the impact of social movements and protest on social change.
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Notes to Editors
Recruitment was completed via online methodology, inviting a nationally representative sample of approximately 2,000 UK adults based on age, gender, social grade, region, 2016 EU Ref and 2019 General Election votes. Weighting was applied to adjust the demographic distribution to a nationally representative sample based on the crossbreaks listed above.
Awareness of Just Stop Oil protests:
- On Saturday 9th of April, 51.5% of the population had heard of Just Stop Oil protests
- On Tuesday 19th of April, 63.2% of the population had heard of Just Stop Oil protests
- We didn’t measure the number of people who heard of Just Stop Oil before the protests (March 29th), as it was a new campaign and they had received very little media attention, but we estimate the number is below 10% of the UK population.
Likelihood to contact your MP about climate change
- The number of people who believe they are likely to contact their MP about climate-related issues increased from 14.4% of the UK population to 16.9%, a difference of 2.5 percentage points which equates to an additional 1.66 million people. This was a statistically significant difference with a p-value of 0.004 and outside the margins of errors of this survey.
Likelihood of talking to your friends and family about climate change
- The number of people who believe they are likely to talk to their friends or family about climate change increased from 57.0% of the UK population to 59.3%, a difference of 2.3 percentage points which equates to an additional 1.52 million people. This was a statistically significant difference with a p-value of 0.015 and outside the margins of errors of this survey.
Likelihood to go to a legal protest
- The number of people who were likely (somewhat likely, likely, or very likely) to go to a legal climate protest in the next 12 months increased from 10.1% to 11.7% of the UK population, which equates to approximately 1.1 million additional people. This was a statistically significant difference with a p-value of 0.02 and outside the margins of errors of this survey.