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Global Warming and the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election


Key Findings

 

  • With the exception of Ted Cruz voters, most supporters of the Democratic and Republican candidates think global warming is happening (Sanders: 93%, Clinton: 92%, Kasich: 71%, Trump: 56%). By contrast, fewer than half of Ted Cruz supporters—38%—think global warming is happening.
  • Supporters of the Democratic candidates are much more likely to think global warming is caused mostly by human activities (79% of Sanders supporters and 76% of Clinton supporters). Supporters of the Republican candidates are more likely to think it is caused mostly by natural changes in the environment (60% of Cruz supporters and 55% of Trump supporters), or are divided on the issue — 49% of Kasich supporters think global warming is mostly caused by humans, 46% think it is mostly caused by natural changes.
  • Fewer than half of any candidate’s supporters are aware that virtually all climate scientists have concluded human-caused global warming is happening. However, supporters of the Democratic candidates are the most likely to think at least 90% of climate scientists are convinced (Sanders: 38%, Clinton: 27%). Far fewer supporters of the Republican candidates understand the scientific consensus (Kasich: 11%, Trump: 3%, Cruz: 2%).
  • When asked how worried they are about global warming, a majority of Clinton (83%) and Sanders supporters (80%) say they are very or somewhat worried about it. Fewer than half of the Republican candidates’ supporters are very or somewhat worried about global warming. Kasich supporters are the most likely to say they are worried (nearly half—44%), followed by about one in three Trump supporters (35%) and about one in six Cruz supporters (17%).
  • Supporters of all Democratic and Republican candidates—except Cruz—are more likely to vote for a presidential candidate who strongly supports taking action to reduce global warming.
  • Conversely, supporters of all Democratic and Republican candidates—except Cruz—are less likely to vote for a presidential candidate who strongly opposes taking action to reduce global warming.
  • While very few voters say global warming will be the most important issue to them when picking a candidate to vote for this year (2%), about half (49%) say it will be among several important issues. Supporters of the Democratic candidates are most likely to say it will be among several important issues (Sanders: 74%, Clinton: 70%). By contrast, fewer than half of the Republican candidate supporters say the same (Kasich: 42%, Cruz: 33%, Trump: 30%).
  • Among the issues voters say will influence their vote for President in 2016, global warming ranked 5th in importance of the 23 issues asked about among Sanders voters (59% say it is “very important”) and 11th highest for Clinton supporters (51% say it is “very important”).
  • By contrast, supporters of the Republican candidates are least likely to say global warming is very important to them among the 23 issues (Trump: 18%, Kasich: 13%, Cruz: 13%).
  • About half of Sanders and Clinton supporters would be willing to join – or are currently participating in – a campaign to convince elected officials to take action to reduce global warming (51% and 47%, respectively). By contrast, fewer than one in five supporters of the Republican candidates would be willing to do so (Kasich: 17%, Trump: 16%, Cruz: 11%).
  • Registered voters support a broad array of energy policies, including many designed to reduce carbon pollution and dependence on fossil fuels, and to promote clean energy. The Democratic candidates’ supporters are the most likely to strongly or somewhat support such policies, but supporters of the Republican candidates do as well, including: Funding more research into renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power (Sanders: 93%, Clinton: 91%, Kasich: 86%, Trump: 76%, Cruz: 64%); providing tax rebates to people who purchase energy-efficient vehicles or solar panels (Sanders: 94%, Clinton: 92%, Kasich: 80%, Trump: 70%, Cruz: 59%).
  • At least half of supporters of all candidates except Cruz also would support: Regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant (Clinton: 91%, Sanders: 87%, Kasich: 74%, Trump: 62%, Cruz: 47%); requiring fossil fuel companies to pay a carbon tax and using the money to reduce other taxes such as income taxes by an equal amount (Sanders: 88%, Clinton: 85%, Kasich: 53%, Trump: 51%, Cruz: 27%).
  • Most Sanders and Clinton supporters (90% and 87%, respectively) and over half of Kasich voters (61%) support setting strict carbon dioxide emission limits on existing coal-fired power plants to reduce global warming and improve public health, even if the cost of electricity to consumers and companies would likely increase. Half of Trump supporters do as well (50%). By contrast, only 36% of Cruz supporters agree.
  • Most Sanders and Clinton supporters (90% and 76%, respectively) and over half of Kasich voters (61%) think the U.S. should reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, regardless of what other countries do. About half of Trump supporters agree (49%), but only four in 10 Cruz supporters (40%) do.