Politics and Global Warming, Spring 2014

Politics and Global Warming, Spring 2014

Report Summary

We find that registered voters are 2.5 times more likely to vote for a congressional or presidential candidate who supports action to reduce global warming. Further, registered voters are 3 times more likely to vote against a candidate who opposes action to reduce global warming.

Many Americans are also willing to act politically:

  • 26% are willing to join or are currently participating in a campaign to convince elected officials to take action to reduce global warming;
  • 37% are willing to sign a pledge to vote only for political candidates that share their views on global warming;
  • 13% are willing to personally engage in non-violent civil disobedience against corporate or government activities that make global warming worse.

The study also finds that while Democrats are more convinced that human-caused global warming is happening and more supportive of climate and energy policies than Republicans, there are deep divisions within the Republican Party. In many respects, liberal/moderate Republicans – about a third of the Republican party – are relatively similar to moderate/conservative Democrats, while conservative Republicans often express views about global warming that are distinctly different than the rest of the American public.

For example, among registered voters:

  • 88% of Democrats, 59% of Independents and 61% of liberal/moderate Republicans think global warming is happening, compared to only 28% of conservative Republicans;
  • 81% of Democrats and 51% of liberal/moderate Republicans are worried about global warming, compared to only 19% of conservative Republicans;
  • 82% of Democrats and 65% of liberal/moderate Republicans support strict carbon dioxide emission limits on existing coal-fired power plants to reduce global warming and improve public health, compared to only 31% of conservative Republicans.

The report includes an executive summary and many more interesting findings about how Democrats, Republicans and Independents think about global warming, what policies they support or oppose, and the different types of political activism they are willing to engage in.