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Politics / Elections

October 30 2014

Global Warming & the Rising American Electorate

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).

 

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Topics: Attitudes & Beliefs Citizen Behavior Politics / Elections
September 29 2014

Media “Echo Chambers” and Climate Change

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.

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Topics: Attitudes & Beliefs Media Politics / Elections
September 24 2014

Beyond Partisanship on Climate Change

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.

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Topics: Attitudes & Beliefs Citizen Behavior Policy Support Politics / Elections
July 27 2014

Voters Will Support Pro-Climate Candidates With Pledges, Time, and Money

Voters Will Support Pro-Climate Candidates With Pledges, Time, and Money

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.”

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Topics: Citizen Behavior Politics / Elections
July 15 2014

How Important is Global Warming to the American Voter?

How Important is Global Warming to the American Voter?

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.

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Topics: Attitudes & Beliefs Politics / Elections
June 26 2014

Politics & Global Warming, Spring 2014

Politics & Global Warming, Spring 2014

A special report on the politics of global warming. Based on a nationally representative survey conducted in spring 2014, we analyze how Democrats, Republicans and Independents think about global warming, what policies they support or oppose, and the different types of political activism they are willing to engage in.

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Topics: Attitudes & Beliefs Citizen Behavior Consumer Behavior Policy Support Politics / Elections Risk Perceptions
May 29 2014

Americans support limits on CO2

Americans support limits on CO2

Americans support limits on CO2 from existing coal-fired power plants and regulating CO2 as a pollutant

Each year in the United States about 40 percent of carbon dioxide emissions – the primary cause of global warming – comes from electric power plants, especially those powered by the burning of coal.

On Monday, June 2, the EPA will release new proposed limits on CO2 emissions from existing coal-fired power plants. These regulations are likely to face fierce resistance from the coal industry and their allies.

What do Americans think about these proposed limits?

A national opinion survey we conducted in April of this year finds that – by nearly a two to one margin – Americans support setting strict limits on carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal-fired plants, even if the cost of electricity to consumers and companies increases.

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Topics: Policy Support Politics / Elections
April 20 2014

Americans want government action to protect the environment

Americans want government action to protect the environment

As the country celebrates Earth Day (April 22), leaders in Washington DC should bear in mind that majorities of Americans say a variety of environmental issues should be a high priority for the president and Congress.

Our recent national survey  found that over half of Americans say Washington DC should make addressing water pollution (62%), developing sources of clean energy (61%), toxic waste (56%), and air pollution (54%) a “very high” or “high” priority.

Nearly half also say the president and Congress should give high priority to the issues of damage to the Earth’s ozone layer (46%), loss of tropical rain forests (45%), and global warming (44%).

The American public expects their representatives in Washington to take action to protect the environment.

 

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Topics: Politics / Elections
January 11 2014

Anthony Leiserowitz on MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry Show

On Saturday, January 11th, 2013, YPCCC Director Anthony Leiserowitz spent the morning discussing, among other things, the parallels between climate change and the smoking debate on MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry Show.  Watch the conversation below.

Segment 1:

 
Segment 2:
 

 

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Topics: Attitudes & Beliefs Citizen Behavior Health Knowledge / Climate Literacy Media Outreach Projects Politics / Elections Risk Communication Risk Perceptions
September 13 2013

What’s Next? A Town Hall Meeting with US Sen. Chris Murphy

On September 13, 2013, YPCCC Director Anthony Leiserowitz moderated a town hall meeting featuring US Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) about climate change impacts in New England.

Other panelists included Kerry Emanuel of the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Alexander Felson, Director of the Urban Ecology and Design Laboratory of the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and the Yale School of Architecture; Marion McFadden, Acting Executive Director of the Hurricane Sandy Task Force; Katie Scharf Dykes of the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection; and Professor Ronald Smith of the Center for Earth Observation in Yale’s Department of Geology and Geophysics.

 

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Topics: Attitudes & Beliefs Outreach Projects Policy Support Politics / Elections Vulnerability & Resilience
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