Climate change is a political winner, recent polls make clear (see links below). It is a wedge issue that divides Tea Party extremists from Democrats, independents, and even moderate/liberal Rebuplicans.
As one of the leading experts on public opinion analysis in this area, Stanford’s Jon Krosnick, explained in October, candidates “may actually enhance turnout as well as attract voters over to their side by discussing climate change.”
Providing further support for that view is a new analysis of by The Yale Project on Climate Change Communication. They found:
- Concern about the effects of climate change is high across political groups, with majorities of Democrats and Independents expressing concern about global warming and its potential harm for themselves and future generations.
- Across party lines, there is support for taking action to reduce global warming, with pluralities of all groups favoring medium-scale efforts. Even among Republicans, a sizeable majority support making some effort to address global warming.
- Independents more closely resemble Democrats in their attitudes and beliefs about global warming, and like Democrats, most support efforts to address the problem. Thus, the issue of global warming is a political opportunity to connect with most Independents.
- A majority of registered voters (58%) say they will consider candidates’ position on global warming when deciding how to vote.
- Policies to promote renewable energy are favored by the majority of voters across party lines. Majorities support eliminating federal subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, but oppose ending subsidies to the renewable energy industry. Instead, solid majorities of Democrats, Independents, and Republicans support funding more research into renewable energy sources.
- Registered voters support regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant. They are also willing to support a candidate who promotes a carbon tax but this depends on how the money is used. Candidates garner greater support when the money is used to create jobs, decrease pollution, or pay down the national debt compared to giving a tax refund to American families.
- Democratic and Independent majorities want Congress and President Obama to do more to address global warming, as do increasing numbers of Republicans.
And that was all pre-Sandy polling!
Discovery News notes in its piece about the poll that global warming was a political winner for Gov. Jay Inslee (D-WA):
Among the politicians probably benefiting from public opinion is Governor Jay Inslee of Washington. Inslee was elected while being conspicuously vocal about climate change and even coauthoring a book on the promise of clean energy.
“Every ton of coal that is burned anywhere on the planet Earth ends up in Puget Sound,” said Gov. Inslee at a recent meeting with the press in Olympia, Wash. When asked about the negative effects of ocean acidification — caused by the burning of fossil fuels worldwide — to the state’s shellfish industry, he said, “This is not only about the polar bears. It is about business opportunities in our state that are today being damaged.”
The Yale poll makes clear that a lot of swing voters will vote based on their concern about global warming — whereas few will vote based on their denial.
Again, countless recent polls have come up with similar findings:
- Study (10/11): Democrats Taking “Green” Positions on Climate Change “Won Much More Often” Than Those Remaining Silent
- Poll (12/11): Independents, Other Republicans Split With Tea-Party Extremists on Global Warming
- Poll (4/12): Clean Energy Is A Political Wedge Among Republicans
- Gallup (4/12): 65% of Americans Have More Guts Than Obama, Support ‘Imposing Mandatory Controls On CO2 Emissions’
- Poll (4/12): Large Majority Of Americans Understand Global Warming Made Several Major Extreme Weather Events Worse
- Yale Poll (10/12): “Large And Growing Majority Of Americans” Say “Global Warming Is Affecting Weather In The United States”
- Poll (4/12): 75 Percent of Americans Support Regulating CO2 As A Pollutant, 60 Percent Support Revenue-Neutral Carbon Tax