5. Global Warming as a Voting Issue

5.1. Most Democrats say global warming will be a very important issue when deciding who they will vote for in the 2020 presidential election.

Global warming is the 11th most highly ranked issue registered voters say will be “very important” to their vote in the 2020 presidential election, with 45% saying it is very important (see Data Tables, pp. 42–51). This is six ranks higher than in April 2019, when global warming was the 17th most important issue (when 38% of registered voters said it will be very important to their vote).

Among Democrats, about seven in ten say global warming will be a very important issue in determining their vote for president (72%; an increase of eight percentage points since April, 2019). This includes 78% of liberal Democrats and 65% of moderate/conservative Democrats. Global warming is the 3rd most important voting issue among liberal Democrats, while environmental protection is 1st. Among moderate/conservative Democrats, global warming ranks 7th, with environmental protection 3rd. By contrast, global warming is near or at the bottom of presidential voting priorities among Republicans.


After each respondent rated how important each of the 29 issues would be to their vote in the 2020 Presidential election, we showed them the list of issues they had rated highest and then asked, “Which one of these issues is the most important issue to you when voting for a candidate?”

Using this method, global warming is the 5th ranked voting issue among all registered voters, with 7% of registered voters saying it is their most important issue. For context “the economy” is the #1 issue for registered voters, with 14% saying it is the most important issue.

Among Democrats, global warming is voting issue #2 (13% of Democrats), below only healthcare (16% of Democrats). Global warming is the #1 most important issue for voting for president among liberal Democrats (17% of liberal Democrats) and #5 among moderate/conservative Democrats (8% of moderate/conservative Democrats). Global warming was near the bottom of the most important issue list for Republicans.

The percentages for all 29 voting issues can be found in the Data Table on p. 52.