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Climate Activism: Beliefs, Attitudes, and Behaviors – November 2019


2. Activism Efficacy

2.1. Only one in three Americans think citizens can influence elected officials’ global warming policy decisions.

Only one in three registered voters (33%) think elected officials are influenced by the advocacy actions of citizens (for example, rallies, marches, petitions, phone calls, etc.) when considering policies to reduce global warming. No political subgroup has a majority of members who think citizens influence elected officials with regard to climate policies. Liberal Democrats are the most likely to think so (40%) while conservative Republicans are the least likely (23%).

 

2.2. Americans are more confident they can influence local than national decision-makers.

Perceived collective efficacy regarding global warming – the belief that like-minded citizens can work together to influence the global warming actions of government and business leaders – is an important motivator for individuals to take collective action.Bandura, A. (2000). Exercise of human agency through collective efficacy. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 9, 75-78. doi:10.1111/1467-8721.00064 Half of Americans (50%) are at least “moderately confident” that people like them, working together, can affect what local businesses do about global warming, and 48% are confident that people can affect what their local government does. Fewer are confident that people can influence what their state government (42%), corporations (37%), or the federal government (35%) do about global warming.

Democrats are more likely than Independents or Republicans to express confidence that people can affect what government and business do about global warming.