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Partisan Climate Opinion Maps 2016


Our new tool maps variations in opinion within the populations of Democrats and Republicans respectively. The maps provide new insights into the political dynamics of climate change opinion and suggest new opportunities for bipartisan conversations.

 

About the Partisan Climate Opinion Maps

Even as US partisan polarization shapes climate and energy beliefs and attitudes, substantial heterogeneity in climate opinions still exists among both Republicans and Democrats. To date, our understanding of this partisan variability has been limited to analysis of national- or less commonly, state-level opinion poll subsamples. The Partisan Climate Opinion Maps provide new data about how Republican and Democratic climate and energy opinions vary across all 50 states and all 435 congressional districts, revealing new spatial patterns with policy-relevant implications for the trajectory of US climate change policy reforms.

The public opinion estimates were generated using a statistical model that combines nationally representative survey data gathered by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason Center for Climate Change Communication between 2008 and 2016 with voter registration, U.S. census, and geographic data. Party registration data is available for 32 states, and is imputed in the remaining states (i.e., in Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin).

Details about the methods can be found here:

Mildenberger, M., Marlon, J.R., Howe, P.D., & Leiserowitz, A. (2017) “The spatial distribution of Republican and Democratic climate opinions at state and local scales,” Climatic Change. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-017-2103-0.

Additional information can be found in Howe, P., Mildenberger, M., Marlon, J.R., and Leiserowitz, A., “Geographic variation in opinions on climate change at state and local scales in the USA,” Nature Climate Change. DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2583.

Downscaling Methodology

This site provides estimates of Republicans’ and Democrats’ climate change beliefs, risk perceptions, and policy preferences at the state and congressional district levels – a new source of high-resolution data on public opinion that can inform national, state and local decision-making, policy, and education initiatives. The estimates are derived from a statistical model using multilevel regression with post-stratification (MRP) on a large national survey dataset (n>12,000), along with demographic and geographic population data, along with political party registration data derived from state voter files.

For more details, please see the peer-reviewed paper describing these results: Mildenberger, M., Marlon, J.R., Howe, P.D., & Leiserowitz, A. (2017) “The spatial distribution of Republican and Democratic climate opinions at state and local scales,” Climatic Change. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-017-2103-0.

Additional information about the methods can be found in Howe, P., Mildenberger, M., Marlon, J.R., and Leiserowitz, A., “Geographic variation in opinions on climate change at state and local scales in the USA,” Nature Climate Change. DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2583.

Climate Change in the American Mind Survey Question Wording

Model estimates in the maps were derived from public responses to the following survey questions. The response categories for many questions were collapsed into a single variable for mapping. For example, for the question measuring how worried respondents are about global warming, “very worried” and “somewhat worried” were combined into a single measure of “worried.” Likewise “Not very worried” and “Not at all worried” were combined into a single measure of “not worried.” The responses below are color coded to indicate how they were grouped into the variables shown on the maps. Individuals who responded “Don’t know” or who did not answer the question were not modeled separately and appear as gray segments within the bar charts.

BELIEFS

Global warming is happening Recently, you may have noticed that global warming has been getting some attention in the news. Global warming refers to the idea that the world’s average temperature has been increasing over the past 150 years, may be increasing more in the future, and that the world’s climate may change as a result. What do you think: Do you think that global warming is happening?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don’t know

Global warming is caused mostly by human activities Assuming global warming is happening, do you think it is… ?

  • Caused mostly by human activities
  • Caused mostly by natural changes in the environment
  • Other
  • None of the above because global warming isn’t happening

Most scientists think global warming is happening Which comes closest to your own view?

  • Most scientists think global warming is happening
  • There is a lot of disagreement among scientists about whether or not global warming is happening
  • Most scientists think global warming is not happening
  • Don’t know enough to say

RISK PERCEPTIONS

Worried about global warming How worried are you about global warming?

  • Very worried
  • Somewhat worried
  • Not very worried
  • Not at all worried

Global warming will harm people in the US How much do you think global warming will harm people in the United States?

  • Not at all
  • Only a little
  • A moderate amount
  • A great deal
  • Don’t know

POLICY SUPPORT

Fund research into renewable energy sources
How much do you support or oppose the following policies? Fund more research into renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power
  • Strongly support
  • Somewhat support
  • Somewhat oppose
  • Strongly oppose

Regulate CO2 as a pollutant How much do you support or oppose the following policies? Regulate carbon dioxide (the primary greenhouse gas) as a pollutant

  • Strongly support
  • Somewhat support
  • Somewhat oppose
  • Strongly oppose

Require utilities to produce 20% electricity from renewable sources How much do you support or oppose the following policies? Require electric utilities to produce at least 20% of their electricity from wind, solar, or other renewable energy sources, even if it costs the average household an extra $100 a year

  • Strongly support
  • Somewhat support
  • Somewhat oppose
  • Strongly oppose

Data Download Agreement (fill out form to the right to download the data)

The YPCCC is pleased to offer our downscaled climate change opinion estimates to the public. These data are distributed under the following terms of use. This is a legal agreement between you, the end-user (“User”) and Yale University on behalf of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication (the “YPCCC”).  By downloading the survey data made available on this web site (“Data”) you are agreeing to be bound by the terms and conditions of this agreement.  If you do not agree to be bound by these terms, do not download or use the Data. The YPCCC hereby grants to the User a non-exclusive, revocable, limited, non-transferable license to use the Data solely for (1) research, scholarly or academic purposes, (2) the internal use of your business, or (3) your own personal non-commercial use.  You may not reproduce, sell, rent, lease, loan, distribute or sublicense or otherwise transfer any Data, in whole or in part, to any other party, or use the Data to create any derived product for resale, lease or license.  Notwithstanding the foregoing, you may incorporate limited portions of the Data in scholarly, research or academic publications or for the purposes of news reporting, provided you acknowledge the source of the Data (with express references to the YPCCC, as well as the complete title of the report) and include the following legend: The YPCCC bears no responsibility for the analyses or interpretations of the data presented here.

THE DATA IS PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, ARISING BY LAW OR OTHERWISE, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO WARRANTIES OF COMPLETENESS,  NON-INFRINGEMENT, ACCURACY, MERCHANTABILITY, OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.  THE USER ASSUMES ALL RISK ASSOCIATED WITH USE OF THE DATA AND AGREES THAT IN NO EVENT SHALL YALE BE LIABLE TO YOU OR ANY THIRD PARTY FOR ANY INDIRECT, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, PUNITIVE OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, DAMAGES FOR THE INABILITY TO USE EQUIPMENT OR ACCESS DATA, LOSS OF BUSINESS, LOSS OF REVENUE OR PROFITS, BUSINESS INTERRUPTIONS, LOSS OF INFORMATION OR DATA, OR OTHER FINANCIAL LOSS, ARISING OUT OF THE USE OF, OR INABILITY TO USE, THE DATA BASED ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, BREACH OF CONTRACT, BREACH OF WARRANTY, TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE), OR OTHERWISE, EVEN IF USER HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.

The YPCCC has taken measures to ensure that the Data is devoid of information that could be used to identify individuals (e.g., names, telephone numbers, email addresses, social security numbers) who participated in or who were the subject of any research surveys or studies used to collect the Data (“Personally Identifying Information”).  However, in the event that you discover any such Personally Identifying Information in the Data, you shall immediately notify the YPCCC and refrain from using any such Personally Identifying Information. This license will terminate (1) automatically without notice from the YPCCC if you fail to comply with the provisions of this agreement, or (2) upon written notice (by e-mail, U.S. or otherwise) from the YPCCC.  Upon termination of this agreement, you agree to destroy all copies of any Data, in whole or in part and in any and all media, in your custody and control. This agreement shall be governed by, construed and interpreted in accordance with the laws of the State of Connecticut. You further agree to submit to the jurisdiction and venue of the courts of the State of Connecticut for any dispute relating to this Agreement. Please use the following citation in any work that makes use of the data and documentation as follows: Matto Mildenberger, Jennifer R. Marlon,Howe, Peter D, and Anthony Leiserowitz (2017). “The spatial distribution of Republican and Democratic climate opinions at state and local scales.” Climatic Change, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-017-2103-0. Direct any questions to the YPCCC at climatechange@yale.edu.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What do these maps depict?

The maps depict estimates of the percentage of registered Democrats and Republicans who hold particular beliefs, attitudes, and policy preferences about global warming. The estimates were generated from a statistical model that incorporates actual survey responses from a large dataset of >12,000 individuals since 2008. The actual survey responses were combined with party registration data, geographic data, and demographic data from the Census to estimate opinions based on information such as gender, race and ethnicity, and educational attainment; they also take into account changes in public opinion over time.

Where do the survey data underlying the estimates come from?The data underlying the maps come from a large national survey dataset ( >12,000 respondents) collected between 2008 through 2016 as part of the Climate Change in the American Mind project led by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication. Reports from the individual surveys are available here: CCAM Reports.

How accurate are the estimates?

No model is perfect and there are uncertainties in the model estimates. To validate the original model, we conducted independent surveys in four states (CA, TX, OH, CO) and two metropolitan areas (Columbus, OH and San Francisco, CA) and compared the survey results to our model estimates. On average, the model estimates differed from the survey results by 2.9 percentage points among the four states and 3.6 percentage points among the two metropolitan areas, within the survey margins of error. A series of technical simulations estimate that the model has an average margin of error of ±7 percentage points at the state level, which includes the error inherent in the original national surveys themselves, which is typically ±3 percentage points. For this paper, we validated the model against the Cooperative Congressional Election Study data. The model estimates also tend to be conservative, so geographic areas with extremely high or low measures are not estimated as well as areas with values closer to the national average for each survey question.

What does the gray color mean on some of the bars beneath the maps?

The gray area reflects people who refused to answer the question or said “don’t know”. We do not provide specific values for the gray areas because we did not model this group specifically.

Do the maps account for differences in population density across the country?

No, the maps depict the estimated proportion of people within each geographic area who would answer each question as indicated. We have not adjusted the maps based on population density differences. It is important to keep in mind that some geographic areas may be large, but have few residents (e.g., Wyoming), while other geographic areas may be small, but have many residents (e.g., New Jersey). For reference, Wikipedia has a population density map here. The type of map used in this tool is called a choropleth map, which means the colors on the maps reflect the percentage of the population in a given geographic unit. These kinds of maps are used to represent everything from election results (e.g., the red state / blue state maps common during presidential elections) to census and economic data (e.g., per capita income or unemployment rates).

Can I use the data?

Yes. We encourage you to explore the maps and use the results in your own work. The data are available on our Data Download tab at the top of this page so that you can do your own analyses and create your own visualizations. If you publish an academic paper using these data please acknowledge the source by using the following citation:

Mildenberger, M., Marlon, J.R., Howe, P.D., & Leiserowitz, A. (2017) “The spatial distribution of Republican and Democratic climate opinions at state and local scales,” Climatic Change. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-017-2103-0.

If you publish a news article, visualization or blog post using these data, please include a link back to the Partisan Climate Opinion Maps website.