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Climate Change in the American Mind: Politics & Policy, Spring 2023


5. Political Actions to Limit Global Warming

5.1. Relatively few registered voters have engaged in political actions to reduce global warming in the past year.

Relatively few registered voters have engaged in political actions to reduce global warming over the past 12 months, including 17% who say they have signed a petition about global warming at least “once,” and 12% who say they have donated money to an organization working on global warming at least “once.” Fewer (5%) have volunteered their time to an organization working on global warming at least “once” in the past year.

This dot plot shows the percentage of registered voters, broken down by political party and ideology, who have engaged in political actions to reduce global warming at least "once" over the past 12 months. Relatively few registered voters have engaged in political actions to reduce global warming in the past year. Data: Climate Change in the American Mind, Spring 2023. Refer to the data tables in Appendix 1 of the report for all percentages.

 

5.2. Relatively few registered voters have urged elected officials to reduce global warming.

Eight percent of registered voters have contacted government officials to urge them to take action to reduce global warming at least one time over the past 12 months. This includes 17% of liberal Democrats, 9% of moderate/conservative Democrats, and 6% of liberal/moderate Republicans, but less than 1% of conservative Republicans.

This dot plot shows the percentage of registered voters, broken down by political party and ideology, who have contacted government officials to urge them to take action to reduce global warming at least one time over the past 12 months. Relatively few registered voters have urged elected officials to reduce global warming. Data: Climate Change in the American Mind, Spring 2023. Refer to the data tables in Appendix 1 of the report for all percentages.

 

5.3. Many registered voters are willing to take political actions to reduce global warming.

More than half of registered voters (56%) say they would sign a petition about global warming, including majorities of liberal Democrats (86%) and moderate/conservative Democrats (68%), but fewer liberal/moderate Republicans (38%) and conservative Republicans (21%). Fewer say they would donate money to an organization working on global warming (32%), contact government officials about global warming (31%), volunteer their time to an organization working on global warming (31%), or meet with an elected official or their staff about global warming (28%).

About one in four registered voters (27%) would support an organization engaging in non-violent civil disobedience against corporate or government activities that make global warming worse, and 15% (including 27% of liberal Democrats) would personally engage in such non-violent civil disobedience.

This dot plot shows the percentage of registered voters, broken down by political party and ideology, who "definitely" or "probably" would take various political actions to reduce global warming if a person they like and respect asked them to. Many registered voters are willing to take political actions to reduce global warming. Data: Climate Change in the American Mind, Spring 2023. Refer to the data tables in Appendix 1 of the report for all percentages.

 

5.4. Few registered voters would be willing to get arrested as part of a non-violent civil disobedience action.

Although 15% of registered voters say they would personally engage in non-violent civil disobedience against corporate or government activities that make global warming worse (refer to section 5.3), only 5% say they would be willing to get arrested as part of such an action (2% “definitely would,” 3% “probably would”; refer to data tables, p. 45). This includes 10% of liberal Democrats, 4% of moderate/conservative Democrats, 2% of liberal/moderate Republicans, and 1% of conservative Republicans.

According to the most recent data available from the U.S. Census Bureau, there are more than 168 million registered voters in the United States. Given that 2% say they “definitely would” get arrested as part of a non-violent action against activities that make global warming worse, and an additional 3% “probably would,” it suggests that approximately 3 to 8 million registered voters may be willing to do so.

This dot plot shows the percentage of registered voters, broken down by political party and ideology, who "definitely" or "probably" would be willing to get arrested as part of a non-violent civil disobedience action against corporate or government activities that make global warming worse. Few registered voters would be willing to get arrested as part of a non-violent civil disobedience action. Data: Climate Change in the American Mind, Spring 2023. Refer to the data tables in Appendix 1 of the report for all percentages.

 

5.5. One in three registered voters are participating, or willing to participate, in a campaign to convince elected officials to take action to reduce global warming – although current participation is low.

One in three in ten registered voters (33%) say they are either “definitely” (9%) or “probably” (22%) willing to join a campaign to convince elected officials to take action to reduce global warming or are already currently participating in such a campaign (1%; refer to data tables, p. 45). This includes 63% of liberal Democrats (3% “currently,” 19% “definitely,” 42% “probably”), 33% of moderate/conservative Democrats (1% “currently,” 8% “definitely,” 23% “probably”), 18% of liberal/moderate Republicans (none “currently,” 4% “definitely,” 13% “probably”), and 8% of conservative Republicans (less than 1% “currently,” 1% “definitely,” and 6% “probably”).

This dot plot shows the percentage of registered voters, broken down by political party and ideology, who say they are either "definitely" or "probably" willing to join a campaign to convince elected officials to take action to reduce global warming or are already currently participating in such a campaign. One in three registered voters are participating, or willing to participate, in a campaign to convince elected officials to take action to reduce global warming. Data: Climate Change in the American Mind, Spring 2023. Refer to the data tables in Appendix 1 of the report for all percentages.