Be the first to hear about new surveys and studies.

Global Warming and the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election


1. Global Warming Beliefs and Attitudes

 

1.1. Most Clinton, Sanders, Kasich, and Trump supporters—but not Cruz supporters—think global warming is happening.

With the exception of Ted Cruz voters, most supporters of the Democratic and Republican candidates think global warming is happening:

  • Bernie Sanders: 93%
  • Hillary Clinton: 92%
  • John Kasich: 71%
  • Donald Trump: 56%

By contrast, fewer than half of Ted Cruz supporters—38%—think global warming is happening.

Image for Most Clinton, Sanders, Kasich, and Trump Supporters–but not Cruz Supporters–Think Global Warming Is Happening
Image for Most Clinton, Sanders, Kasich, and Trump Supporters–but not Cruz Supporters–Think Global Warming Is Happening

 

1.2. Majorities of Clinton and Sanders supporters think global warming is human-caused. Majorities of Cruz and Trump supporters think it is natural. Kasich supporters are split.

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).

By contrast, 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.

2016_3_CCAM_Global-Warming-U.S.-Presidential-Election_Chart_1.2

 

1.3. Clinton and Sanders supporters are more likely to understand the scientific consensus on global warming.

A recent review study by Cook and colleagues[1] found that all peer-reviewed studies about the extent of the scientific consensus about global warming have reached similar conclusions: between 90% and 100% of climate experts are convinced that human-caused climate change is happening. The most rigorous of these studies have found that 97% of climate scientists are convinced that human-caused climate change is happening.

Fewer than half of any candidate’s supporters are aware that such a consensus exists. However, supporters of the Democratic candidates are the most likely to think at least 90% of climate scientists are convinced:

  • Bernie Sanders: 38%
  • Hillary Clinton: 27%

Far fewer supporters of the Republican candidates understand the scientific consensus:

  • John Kasich: 11%
  • Donald Trump: 3%
  • Ted Cruz: 2%

[1] Cook, J., Oreskes, N., Doran, P. T., Anderegg, W. R. I., Verheggen, B., Maibach, E. W., Carlton, J. S., Lewendowsky, S., Skuce, A. G., Green, S. A., Nuccitelli, D., Jacobs, P., Richardson, M., Winkler, B., Painting, R., & Rice., K. (2016). Consensus on consensus: A synthesis of consensus estimates on human-caused global warming. Environmental Research Letters 11(4). doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/11/4/048002

2016_3_CCAM_Global-Warming-U.S.-Presidential-Election_Chart_1.3

 

1.4. Most Clinton and Sanders supporters are worried about global warming. Fewer than half of Republican candidate supporters are worried, Cruz supporters least of all.

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%).

2016_3_CCAM_Global-Warming-U.S.-Presidential-Election_Chart_1.4