Climate Change is Here, and Voters Have Noticed

October 10, 2022

Sleeping Giant stirring.

Washington Post:

With less than a month until Election Day, roughly half of registered voters say climate change is either “very important” or “one of the most important issues” in their vote for Congress, according to a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll.

As Republicans work to wrest control of the House and Senate from Democrats, the results are divided along party lines. Among adults, roughly 8 in 10 Democrats (79 percent) say climate change is at least very important in their vote, compared with 46 percent of independents and 27 percent of Republicans.

Similar shares of voters of all ages say global warming is a priority at the ballot box. That’s a change from previous polls that have shown younger Americans worry more about Earth’s rapid warming, which is more likely to affect them in the form of raging wildfires, rising seas and stronger storms.

Other main findings include:

  • Consistent with previous polls, Black Americans (69 percent) and Hispanic Americans (58 percent) are more likely to say climate change is important in their vote than White Americans (46 percent). Those findings come as research shows that communities of color are disproportionately exposed to dirty air, tainted water and other environmental hazards.
  • Overall, climate change ranked below the six other issues tested in the poll, including the economy, abortion, crime and immigration. While 51 percent of registered voters say climate change is important in their vote, that compares with 85 percent who say the economy is important.
  • The gap is smaller when it comes to the highest category of importance. Roughly 14 percent of registered voters say climate change is “one of the most important issues” in their vote, below the economy (27 percent) and abortion (22 percent) but similar to immigration (14 percent) and crime (13 percent).

The poll also surveyed Americans on which party they trust more to handle pressing issues facing the nation. 

  • Democrats had a 21-point advantage on trust to handle climate change, their largest lead on any issue tested. 
  • Still, that is smaller than in 2018, when voters trusted Democrats by a 32-point margin to handle the issue during a strong Democratic year.

Washington Post:

A solid majority of American teenagers are convinced that humans are changing Earth’s climate and believe that it will cause harm to them personally and to other members of their generation, according to a new Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll. Roughly 1 in 4 have participated in a walkout, attended a rally or written to a public official to express their views on global warming — a remarkable level of activism for a group that has not yet reached voting age.

Below: Louisiana Candidate integrates climate message as a kitchen table issue.

Bloomberg Green:

If nothing else, Americans — who popularized climate change denial — are starting to believe their own eyes. Almost half of Americans now report they’ve seen global warming affect other people, and 30% say they’ve experienced its effects personally. Research also shows that Americans believe most of their compatriots don’t support climate policies when the opposite is true. That implies regular Americans aren’t nearly as split over the need to take action as some politicians might have us believe.

Nevertheless, big-picture metrics suggest there’s still an enormous amount of work to do if we’re to avert the worst of the projections. Last year the average amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increased at its fifth-fastest rate since record-keeping began in 1958. The global annual average reached 414.7 parts of CO2 for every million parts of atmosphere, the highest level in at least 2 million years. Glaciers shrank for the 34th year in a row, ocean temperature set a record, sea levels rose faster than the long-term trend, and a record 32% of land around the world experienced drought. The hotter atmosphere has already locked in almost a foot of global sea-level rise from Greenland alone. And two scientists suggested that the most important metric of all—the imbalance between the Earth’s incoming and outgoing energy— wasn’t even being measured directly.


4 Responses to “Climate Change is Here, and Voters Have Noticed”

  1. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    I’d quite hoped that the Dobbs decision would get more people to the polls, but I’m not sure that’s enough either.

    Saudi Arabia raising the price of oil might be enough to get clueless Americans to vote based on gas prices.

    • jimbills Says:

      “Saudi Arabia raising the price of oil might be enough to get clueless Americans to vote based on gas prices.”

      But, they’ll blame Biden for that. It’s always the party with the Presidency that gets blamed for the current economic troubles.

  2. jimbills Says:

    So, bottom line, climate change ranks as equal to immigration and crime as a concern to voters, and the Republicans get more votes in those latter two issues.

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