Report: Politics & Global Warming, March 2018

Click here to read the report from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication. Here’s the executive summary:

Executive Summary

Drawing on a nationally representative survey (n=1,278; including 1,067 registered voters), this report describes how Democratic, Independent, and Republican registered voters view global warming, climate change and energy policies, and personal and collective action. Among other important findings, this survey documents an increase in Republican understanding of the reality of human-caused global warming, worry about the threat, and support for several climate policies over the past 6 months.

Global Warming Beliefs and Attitudes

  • Most registered voters (73%) think global warming is happening, including 95% of liberal Democrats, 88% of moderate/conservative Democrats and 68% of liberal/moderate Republicans, but only 40% of conservative Republicans.
  • A majority of registered voters (59%) think global warming is caused mostly by human activities, including 84% of liberal Democrats, 70% of moderate/conservative Democrats, and 55% of liberal/moderate Republicans (14 percentage points higher than in October 2017), but only 26% of conservative Republicans.
  • A majority of registered voters (63%) are worried about global warming, including 88% of liberal Democrats, 76% of moderate/conservative Democrats, and 58% of liberal/moderate Republicans, but only 30% of conservative Republicans. Worry about global warming has increased among liberal/moderate Republicans by 15 percentage points since May 2017 and by seven points among conservative Republicans since October 2017.
  • Global Warming and Energy Policies

    Large majorities of registered voters across the political spectrum support a range of policies that promote clean energy and reduce carbon pollution and dependence on fossil fuels. These include:

  • Funding more research into renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power (87% of registered voters, 94% of Democrats, 83% of Independents, and 79% of Republicans).
  • Generating renewable energy on public land in the United States (86% of registered voters, 91% of Democrats, 82% of Independents, and 81% of Republicans).
  • Providing tax rebates to people who purchase energy-efficient vehicles or solar panels (85% of registered voters, 91% of Democrats, 82% of Independents, and 77% of Republicans).
  • Regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant (81% of registered voters, 91% of Democrats, 80% of Independents, and 69% of Republicans).
  • Setting strict carbon dioxide emission limits on existing coal-fired power plants to reduce global warming and improve public health, even if the cost of electricity to consumers and companies would likely increase (73% of registered voters, 87% of Democrats, 70% of Independents, and 56% of Republicans, a nine percentage-point increase since October 2017).
  • Requiring fossil fuel companies to pay a carbon tax and using the money to reduce other taxes (such as income tax) by an equal amount (71% of registered voters, 84% of Democrats, 68% of Independents, and 56% of Republicans, a seven percentage-point increase since October 2017).
  • Three in four registered voters (77%) support continued S. participation in the Paris Climate Agreement, including almost all Democrats (92%), three in four Independents (75%), and a majority of Republicans (60%).
  • A majority of registered voters (66%) oppose President Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement, including 91% of Democrats and 63% of Independents, but only 36% of Republicans.
  • A majority of registered voters (59%) think protecting the environment improves economic growth and provides new jobs. An additional 21% think protecting the environment has no effect on economic growth or jobs. By contrast, only 18% think protecting the environment reduces growth and costs jobs. Conservative Republicans are the only political group more likely to think protecting the environment reduces growth and jobs (39%) versus improves it (32%).
  • When there is a conflict between environmental protection and economic growth, 71% of registered voters think environmental protection is more important, including 85% of Democrats, three in four Independents (75%), and more than half of Republicans (52%).
  • A large majority of registered voters (81%, including 94% of Democrats, 81% of Independents, and 65% of Republicans) say that schools should teach children about the causes, consequences, and potential solutions to global warming.
  • Solid majorities of Democrats, Independents, and Republicans say the United States should use more solar energy (80% of registered voters, 84% of Democrats, 80% of Independents, and 75% of Republicans) and wind energy (73% of registered voters, 82% of Democrats, 75% of Independents, and 62% of Republicans).
  • Only about one in ten registered voters think the United States should use more coal (12% of registered voters; 6% of Democrats, 14% of Independents, and 18% of Republicans) and oil (11% of registered voters; 7% of Democrats, and 16% of both Independents and Republicans). Slightly more than one in three think the United States should use more natural gas (36% of registered voters; 31% of Democrats, 39% of Independents, and 42% of Republicans), and about one in four (23%) think the United States should use more nuclear energy (19% of Democrats, 36% of Independents, and 26% of Republicans).
  • About half of registered voters support expanding drilling for oil and natural gas off the U.S. coast (49% of registered voters, 31% of Democrats, 43% of Independents, and 73% of Republicans).
  • Forty-five percent of registered voters support drilling and mining for coal, oil, and natural gas on public land in the United States (27% of Democrats, 35% of Independents, and 69% of Republicans).
  • Only one in three registered voters support drilling for oil in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (32% of registered voters, 15% of Democrats, 28% of Independents, and 52% of Republicans).
  • Global Warming as a Voting Issue

  • Nearly four in ten registered voters (38%) say a candidates’ position global warming will be very important when they decide who they will vote for in the 2018 Congressional election.
  • Of 28 issues asked about, global warming was ranked the 15th most important voting issue among all registered voters. However, it was the fourth most important issue for liberal Democrats.
  • Acting on Global Warming

  • Across party lines, a majority of registered voters say corporations and industry should do more to address global warming (70% of registered voters; 84% of Democrats, 70% of Independents, and 55% of Republicans).
  • At least half of registered voters – including Democrats, Independents, and liberal/moderate Republicans, but not conservative Republicans – think citizens, the U.S. Congress, President Trump, their own member of Congress, and/or their local government officials should do more to address global warming. Half or more Democrats and Independents think their governor and/or the media should do more.
  • A majority of registered voters (54%) think global warming should be a high or very high priority for the president and Congress, including a majority of Democrats (78%) and Independents (58%), but fewer Republicans (25%).
  • A strong majority of registered voters (70%) think the United States should reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, regardless of what other countries do. Majorities of liberal Democrats (91%), moderate/conservative Democrats (77%), and liberal/moderate Republicans (63%) take this position, as well as 46% of conservative Republicans.
  • Individual and Collective Action

  • A total of one in three registered voters (34%) are either participating (3%), or would definitely (10%) or probably (22%) participate, in a campaign to convince elected officials to take action to reduce global warming (51% of Democrats, 31% of Independents, but only 15% of Republicans).
  • However, fewer than half of that number (13%) say they have actually contacted an elected official during the past 12 months to urge them to take action to reduce global warming, including one in five liberal Democrats (21%).
  • A majority of registered voters (54%) would vote for a candidate for public office because of their position on global warming (72% of Democrats, 42% of Independents, and 36% of Republicans).
  • About one third of registered voters say that, if asked by someone they like and respect, they would donate money to an organization working on global warming (37%), contact a government official about global warming (35%), volunteer for an organization working on global warming (33%), and/or meet with an elected official or their staff about global warming (32%).
  • Leave a Reply

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

    WordPress.com Logo

    You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

    Google+ photo

    You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

    Twitter picture

    You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

    w

    Connecting to %s