Thursday, February 7, 2019

New Poll: Republicans And Democrats Tend To Agree On Climate Change

By Tony Guerrieri, Executive Director, Joint Conservation Committee

Just how far apart are Republicans and Democrats when it comes to views on climate change? Not all that far, according to researchers from Monmouth University Polling Institute of New Jersey in a new poll released in November.
An increasing number of Americans believe climate change is occurring, including a majority who now see this issue as a very serious problem.
Most Americans are optimistic that there is still time to prevent the worst effects climate change and support taking action, but they are not confident in the government’s ability or willingness to do something about it.
Asked “Do you think that the world’s climate is undergoing a change that is causing more extreme weather patterns and the rise of sea levels, or is this not happening,” nearly 8-in10 (78 percent) of respondents said yes, up from 70 percent the last time the poll was taken in 2015.
Sixteen percent said no, down from 22 percent in 2015 and 5 percent volunteered that they didn’t know, down from eight percent.
Of note, nearly two-thirds of Republicans (64 percent) now believe in climate change, a 15 point jump from just under half (49 percent) three years ago.
Belief in climate change continues to be higher among Democrats (92 percent, up from 85 percent in 2015) than independents (78 percent, up from 74 percent).
A majority of Americans (54 percent) currently say that climate change is a very serious problem, which is up significantly from 41 percent in the 2015 poll. Another 17 percent say climate change is a somewhat serious problem and 7 percent say it is not too serious.
The remainder say climate change is not  happening (16 percent) or don’t know if it is happening (5 percent).
Although the majority of Americans believe climate change is occurring, there continues to be a significant partisan divide about the seriousness of the problem.
More than 8-in-10 Democrats (82 percent) say climate change is a very serious problem, an increase of 19 percentage points from 63 percent in 2015. Half of independents (51 percent, up from 42 percent) say climate change is a very serious problem and only a quarter of Republicans (25 percent, up from 18 percent) feel the same.
Belief in climate change is nearly the same among Americans who live in coastal areas (79 percent) and those who live in inland states (77 percent).
However, coastal state residents (61 percent) are more likely than inland state residents (44 percent) to see climate change as a very serious problem.
Asked “Is climate change caused more by human activity, more by natural changes in the environment, or by both equally,” 37 percent said both are equally to blame. Three-in-ten (29 percent) respondents said human activity is more to blame and 10 percent say natural changes in the environment are the larger cause.
Regardless of the cause, a majority of Americans (54 percent) say there is still time to prevent the worst effects of climate change. Another 16 percent say it is too late to act and 4 percent volunteer that there is mothering we can or should do about it.
The remainder are unsure if there is still time to prevent the worst effects or do not believe climate change is happening.
Among the just over half who say there is still time, 31 percent of that group feel we have to act in the next year or two to prevent the worst effects of climate change, 46 percent say we need to act in the next 10 to 15 years, and 17 percent say we have more time than that to act.
Most Americans (69 percent) support the government doing more to reduce the type of activities that cause climate change and sea level rise, while just 22 percent oppose it. here are predictable partisan differences, with 85 percent of Democrats, 70 percent of independents, and 51 percent of Republicans supporting government action.
These partisan results were similar in 2015 when 77 percent of Democrats, 66 percent of independents, and 47 percent of Republicans supported government action.
Although most Americans support Washington doing more about climate change, they have little confidence in the government’s ability to do so. This lack of confidence is one area that produces bipartisan agreement.
The majority of Republicans (55 percent), Democrats (55 percent), and independents (61 percent) are not too or not at all confident.
The poll finds significant differences in climate change opinions based on age.
Two-thirds (67 percent) of Americans who are 18 to 34 years old see climate change as a very serious problem compared to half (51 percent) of those age 35 to 54 and just under half (46 percent) of Americans age 55 and older.
The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from November 9 to 12, 2018 with 802 adults nationwide, 244 of whom identified as Republican.
Click Here for a copy of the full poll results.

Tony Guerrieri is the Executive Director of the Joint Legislative Air and Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee and can be contacted by sending email to: or calling 717-787-7570.

(Reprinted from the February newsletter of the Joint Conservation Committee.)
Op-Ed: Climate Action Has To Be The Major Benchmark For Environmental Progress In PA - Dan Grossman, EDF & Davitt Woodwell, PEC:

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