Politics & Global Warming, March 2021

6. Collective Efficacy

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

Perceived collective efficacy regarding global warming – the belief that like-minded citizens can work together to influence what government and business leaders do about global warming – 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. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8721.00064 About half of Americans are at least “moderately confident” that people like them, working together, can affect what their local government (53%), local businesses (51%), and their state government (49%) does about global warming. Four in ten or more are confident that people like them can affect what the federal government (47%) and corporations (45%) do about global warming.

Liberal Democrats have the highest perceptions of collective efficacy, with two in three or more expressing confidence that people like them can affect what various institutions do about global warming. Conservative Republicans have the lowest perceptions of collective efficacy regarding global warming, although that may be because they feel the questions are less personally relevant to them.