Poll: Independents — and Even Republicans — are Still Concerned About Global Warming and Overwhelmingly Support Clean Energy Development

Yale and George Mason University have released their latest polling analysis, “Public Support for Climate & Energy Policies in May 2011.”

Their polling “shows that despite political polarization in Washington D.C., public support for a variety of climate change and energy policies remains high, across party lines”:

  • 71 percent of Americans say global warming should be a very high (13%), high (27%), or medium (31%) priority for the president and Congress, including 88 percent of Democrats, 66 percent of Independents, and 50 percent of Republicans.
  • 91 percent of Americans say developing sources of clean energy should be a very high (32%), high (35%), or medium (24%) priority for the president and Congress, including 97 percent of Democrats, 89 percent of Independents, and 85 percent of Republicans.

This isn’t surprising to anybody who follows the actual polls — rather than the media’s and pundits’ and politicians’ misinterpretation of what they think the polling says. Also, people still confuse polling on global warming and climate science with polling on whether/how the government should go about addressing global warming.

Americans want action — see links to a dozen polls at the end — no matter what they appear to say about climate science, which critically depends on how the question is phrased (see “Opinion polls underestimate Americans’ concern about the environment and global warming”).


Here are more findings from Yale and GMU:

  • Majorities of Americans want more action to address global warming from corporations (65%), citizens themselves (63%), the U.S. Congress (57%), President Obama (54%), as well as their own state and local officials.
  • Despite ongoing concerns about the economy, 67 percent of Americans say the U.S. should undertake a large (29%) or medium-scale effort (38%) to reduce global warming, even if it has large or moderate economic costs.
  • 82 percent of Americans (including 94% of Democrats, 74% of Independents, and 76% of Republicans) say that protecting the environment either improves economic growth and provides new jobs (56%), or has no effect (26%). Only 18 percent say environmental protection reduces economic growth and costs jobs.
  • Large majorities (including Democrats, Independents, and Republicans) say it is important for their own community to take steps to protect the following from global warming: public health (81%), the water supply (80%), agriculture (79%), wildlife (77%), and forests (76%).

The broad public wants action on climate change and clean energy. But right now, a vocal minority has a stranglehold on one political party that can block action given the anti-democratic, super-majority “requirement” of 60 votes to pass legislation in the Senate. And in 2009 and 2010 the majority has, tragically and ultimately self-destructively, become a mostly silent majority. That is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a whimper….

Related Polls: