Voters Care About Climate, But Will Candidates Notice?

That voters don’t care about climate change has long been a political truism. But is it true?

According to research from the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, not anymore. Their study, “The Benefits of Taking a Pro-Climate Stance in 2012,” suggests that a majority of voters (55%) will consider a politician’s stance on global warming when they cast their vote. What’s more, these “climate change issue voters” are far more likely to be believers in global warming than deniers, suggesting that candidates have many more votes to gain than to lose by endorsing an aggressive response to climate change. Perhaps most remarkably, voters want politicians to take strong action to mitigate warming’s effects –– even if doing so affects the economy:

More highlights:

  • Independents are generally in favor of climate action, and resemble Democrats in their climate beliefs much more than they do Republicans.
  • Most voters –– even most Republicans –– favor policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant, making fossil fuel companies account for their external costs, and enacting a revenue-neutral tax shift that taxes carbon emissions and reduces income tax.
  • Not only do these patterns manifest nationally, they also hold true in ten swing states.

Whether the candidates respond to voters’ concerns –– or whether Republicans in particular are too captured by fossil fuel donors to pay heed to the electorate –– remains to be seen. Regardless, it’s a remarkable study, even more so considering that it was conducted in March: before this summer’s devastating drought and wildfires demonstrated that the costs of unchecked climate change will be far more severe than the costs of reducing emissions.

Read more here.



Sage Editors

SAGE Magazine is a publication of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.

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One Comment

  1. The climate is not the president’s — or the government’s — responsibility. Stop worshiping at the alter of the State. They are not gods. They are humans. Very flawed humans who prey on your gullibility. They are lying, scheming politicians. And that was a redundancy if there ever was one..

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