We love wind, but we just don't know it!

Again and again, polls show the UK public are pretty supportive of onshore wind. Our own polling from ComRes to mark the launch of this campaign shows 73% of the British public back onshore wind power.

Interestingly, men and women seem pretty united in their support for onshore wind energy - both 73% men and women told us they support it, and there’s only a small difference when it comes to support for offshore wind and solar farms. This is despite significant and established gender divides when it comes to both fracking and nuclear. For example, our polling had 42% of men support fracking, 27% women; 61% men support nuclear, 33% women - but divides like that are pretty normal. We don’t know if it’s weird men and women agree about clean energy, or disagree about nuclear and fracking.

Significantly, the poll also found two thirds of people living in rural areas say they support onshore wind farms (65%). Although support for onshore wind was lower here than in urban areas (75%), again, it is still very high. The difference is similar to one found if you split by age - 77% of 18-24s support onshore wind compared to 66% of over 65s.

We also found support especially high in Scotland - with support at 80% - the part of the country with by far the most onshore wind per capita. This would reflect older, 2003 research by Mori Scotland (pdf) which talked to people who actually live near large wind sites and feel it’s had a positive impact on their area.

What’s probably most interesting in the polling data, however, is how much we seem to underestimate support for onshore wind. Ask people if they support or oppose onshore wind and 73% will give it a thumbs up, but ask them to estimate how much of the population agree with them and only a minority (11%) think that 71% or more of people in the UK support the use of the technology. We see a similar trend, though slightly less marked, when it comes to solar farms. 80% say they support solar farms, but only 10% of people think more than half the population support it.

Methodology note: ComRes interviewed 2037 British adults online aged 18+ between 12th and 13th October 2016. Data were weighted by age, gender, region and socio-economic grade to be representative of the population as a whole. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules (www.britishpollingcouncil.org). If you’re geeky enough to want to read the full thing, fill your boots.

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Photo: Andrew Hill Creative Commons