On October 23rd, President Obama’s signature climate change program The Clean Power Plan was entered into the Federal Register. Almost immediately, 26 US states sued to stop the policy, which sets strict limits on coal-fired power plants. However, according to our model of state-level public opinion (Yale Climate Opinion Maps, 2014), a majority of the public in 23 out of the 26 states filing suits actually support setting strict limits on coal-fired power plants. Across all 26 suing states, 61% of the public supports the policy, ranging from 73% public support in New Jersey to 43% in Wyoming and West Virginia. Across all 26 suing states, only 38% of the public on average opposes the policy.Citizen Behavior Politics / Elections Format Climate Notes Tags Energy Topics Politics & Policy Support
Politics / Elections
Among Republicans, Catholics More Likely to Believe that Global Warming is Happening and Support Policies to Reduce It
On June 18th, Pope Francis released a much-anticipated encyclical—one of the most significant forms of communication within the Catholic Church—on climate change. In September, the Pope will visit the United States, where one in four Americans are Catholic, and address the Republican-controlled U.S. Congress at the invitation of House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH).
Our research has shown that, in general, Republicans are less convinced that human-caused global warming is happening and less supportive of climate and clean energy policies than are Democrats. We have also found that American Catholics are more likely than other American Christians to believe global warming is happening and to be worried about it
In this Climate Note we investigate whether or not there are differences in global warming beliefs, attitudes, and policy preferences between Catholic and non-Catholic Republicans. Overall, we find that Catholic Republicans are more convinced that global warming is happening and human-caused, and are more worried and supportive of climate policies, than are non-Catholic Republicans. These differences between Catholics and non-Catholics are unique to Republicans; that is, we see far fewer differences between Catholic and non-Catholic Democrats and Independents on these issues.
Attitudes & Beliefs Knowledge / Climate Literacy Politics / Elections Values & Religion Format Climate Notes Projects Climate Change in the American Mind Tags Demographics Energy Knowledge Values / Religion Topics Beliefs & Attitudes Politics & Policy Support
In January 2015, the U.S. Senate voted on an amendment sponsored by Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) stating that: “it is the sense of Congress that — (1) climate change is real; and (2) human activity significantly contributes to climate change.” 50 Senators voted in favor of the amendment, while 49 opposed it.
In this note we compare each Senator’s vote on the Schatz amendment with the views of their own constituents, according to our model of public opinion about climate change at the state level. The comparison finds that Senators were more likely to vote “Yea” on the Schatz amendment if they represent states where a majority of constituents think global warming is at least partly caused by human activities. Senators from states where the public was evenly split or slightly more likely to say global warming isn’t happening or naturally caused were more likely to vote “Nay.”Politics / Elections Format Climate Notes Projects Yale Climate Opinion Maps Topics Politics & Policy Support
We are pleased to share a piece we authored recently published in The Conversation about how the American electorate is changing in ways that bode well for increased support for tackling climate change.
The Rising American Electorate (RAE) is a voting block identified by the non-profit Voter Participation Center as young voters (18-30 year olds), Latinos, African-Americans, unmarried women and others. According to exit polls, this group accounted for about half of voters (48%) in the 2012 national elections and is projected to comprise a growing proportion of the electorate in the coming years.
The RAE is more engaged than other Americans on climate issues. According to YPCCC/George Mason research, a solid majority of the RAE is worried about global warming (63%), compared to just half of other Americans registered to vote (50%), and more of the RAE say global warming is important to them (62% versus 52%, respectively).Politics / Elections Format Climate Notes Projects Climate Change in the American Mind Tags Demographics Topics Politics & Policy Support
The new Republican leaders in Congress have pledged to roll back the EPA’s proposed new regulations on coal-fired power plants – a key component of President Obama’s strategy to reduce global warming.
However, Republican voters are actually split in their views about climate change. A look at public opinion among Republicans over the past few years finds a more complex – and divided – Republican electorate.
For this study, we combined the results from six of our nationally-representative surveys over the past three years, which provided enough data for an in-depth analysis of the diversity of views about global warming within the Republican party.
We find that solid majorities of self-identified moderate and liberal Republicans – who comprise 30% of the party – think global warming is happening (62% and 68% respectively). By contrast, 38% of conservative Republicans think global warming is happening. At the extreme, Tea Party Republicans (17% of the party) are the most dismissive – only 29% think global warming is happening.Attitudes & Beliefs Policy Support Politics / Elections Format Climate Notes Projects Climate Change in the American Mind Tags Energy Topics Beliefs & Attitudes Politics & Policy Support
Environmental groups are spending record amounts of money on environment and energy campaign ads this season. Candidates in hotly contested races are using climate change to distinguish themselves from their opponents, even though the issue is not top-tier for voters in the midterms.
An important driver of the prominence of global warming in American politics is how the issue resonates with the so-called Rising American Electorate (RAE) – Millennials (18-to-30 year olds), Latinos, African Americans, and unmarried women, among others. According to the Census, the RAE is a rapidly growing segment within the U.S. population and as a group, the RAE comprised nearly half (48%) of the electorate in 2012 according to national exit polls.
As the RAE votes in growing numbers, they will increasingly replace more traditional types of voters, such as older white men and married women. So what does the RAE think of global warming?
In our Spring 2014 survey, we asked a representative sample of American voters how a candidate’s support or opposition to reducing global warming would influence their vote. While all registered voters appear more likely to support a pro-climate action candidate (45%) over an anti-climate action candidate (17%), the RAE is particularly likely to do so when compared to traditional voters (51% and 12%, respectively).
Attitudes & Beliefs Citizen Behavior Politics / Elections Format Climate Notes Projects Climate Change in the American Mind Tags Demographics Topics Behaviors & Actions Beliefs & Attitudes Politics & Policy Support
We are pleased to announce the recent publication of a new peer-reviewed article: Feldman, L., Myers, T., Hmielowski, J., & Leiserowitz, A. (2014). The mutual reinforcement of media selectivity and effects: Testing the reinforcing spirals framework in the context of global warming. Journal of Communication. DOI:10.1111/jcom.12108
Given the diverse sources of news now available in the U.S., partisans can easily choose news sources that align with their political attitudes. Does the rise of partisan news—on cable, talk radio, and the Internet—allow Americans to insulate themselves in “echo chambers” where they are exposed only to content consistent with their opinions, while shielded from dissenting views? If so, this may reinforce partisans’ existing attitudes, making it increasingly difficult for policymakers and the public to achieve mutual understanding and compromise on the most pressing issues of the day, including climate change.Attitudes & Beliefs Media Politics / Elections Format Articles Tags Media Studies Topics Beliefs & Attitudes Politics & Policy Support
The visuals at the People’s Climate March in New York last Sunday conveyed more than just catchy slogans and clever words of inspiration. The signs and costumes and floats were messages to the world designed to create change. This marcher is making a very clear statement that is supported by our findings, presented in our recent report, Politics and Global Warming, Spring 2014. We find that while big differences do exist between conservative Republicans and Democrats, other Republicans look more like Democrats than their conservative fellow party members on numerous climate issues. Just one example among registered voters: Majorities of Democrats (88 percent) and moderate-to-liberal Republicans (61 percent) think global warming is happening. By marked contrast, only about one in four – 28 percent – conservative Republicans agree.Attitudes & Beliefs Citizen Behavior Policy Support Politics / Elections Format Climate Notes Topics Behaviors & Actions Beliefs & Attitudes Politics & Policy Support
Millions of registered voters would sign a pledge to vote for, would work for, or would give money to candidates who share their views on global warming – if asked to by a person they like and respect. This suggests that global warming could become a more prominent electoral issue if campaigns engage and mobilize this potential “issue public.”Citizen Behavior Politics / Elections Format Climate Notes Projects Climate Change in the American Mind Topics Behaviors & Actions Politics & Policy Support
In our spring 2014 national survey, we asked Americans who are registered to vote how important 19 different issues will be to their vote in the 2014 Congressional election. Here we focus only on those who say an issue will be “very important” to their vote – the strongest possible response. Fewer than half of Americans say a candidate’s stance on energy independence (43%), protecting the environment (39%), developing clean energy sources (39%), or global warming (32%) will be “very important” to their vote.Attitudes & Beliefs Politics / Elections Format Climate Notes Projects Climate Change in the American Mind Topics Beliefs & Attitudes Politics & Policy Support