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This post includes climate and environment headlines, data points, and key takeaways from recent public polls - including new polling on the Build Back Better plan and its major clean energy and climate provisions and a new poll assessing voters’ trust in the two parties to handle climate and environmental issues.
When trying to increase concern about climate, reframe the issue as a pollution problem—it’s relevant for everyone. Further, say "fight wealthy-, corporate-, mega-polluters," not "[fight] climate change." Using language like “alarm” and “anxious” can increase backlash among conservatives. When using images, visuals of smog and smokestacks created the highest lift in support for government action while storms and wildfires hardly lifted, largely due to declining support from conservative-leaning audiences.
Make clear the urgency of responding to climate change. According to this poll, only 45 percent of Americans view global warming as an urgent problem requiring immediate action. The poll also finds that while perceptions about the threat of climate change haven’t changed much, the partisan divide on the issue has widened in recent years.
This post includes a roundup of climate + environment headlines from this week’s public polls, good data points to highlight, and a full roundup with key takeaways from each poll - including timely new polling on the Build Back Better plan and its climate provisions nationally and in key battlegrounds, as well as new polling about the most trusted messengers on climate change.
- Navigator - Three in five Americans support the full $3.5 trillion Build Back Better plan, with or without explicit pay-fors (Report)
- Sierra Club - Arizona voters widely support the full $3.5 trillion Build Back Better plan and overwhelmingly oppose proposed cuts; majorities believe climate change is already affecting the state and want to see Arizona become a clean energy leader (Release, Memo, Topline)
- Climate Power + Data for Progress - Voters in frontline Democratic-held districts widely support the full $3.5 trillion Build Back Better plan (Release, AZ-01 Topline, FL-07 Topline, GA-07 Topline, IA-03 Topline, ME-02 Topline, MI-08 Topline, NJ-05 Topline, NY-04 Topline)
- NRDC Action Fund - Climate action is an important motivator for low-propensity Democrats and independents in the 2022 midterm elections (Release)
- Data for Progress - Majorities continue to support the major climate-related aspects of the Build Back Better plan, with energy efficiency and clean energy provisions especially popular (Release, Topline)
- Data for Progress - Voters nationwide support the Clean Electricity Performance Program to incentivize clean energy goals for utilities; supporters have winning arguments to use against pushback (Release)
- Morning Consult - Scientists are the most trusted sources of information about climate change across party lines; most Americans believe that climate change is already affecting the environment and weather where they live (Article, Crosstabs)
- Yale Program on Climate Change Communication + George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication - Public concern about climate change is rising, and support for federal climate action is rising along with it (Article on climate beliefs and concerns, Article on support for climate action)
This post includes a roundup of climate + environment headlines from this week’s public polls, good data points to highlight, and a full roundup with key takeaways from each poll - including lots of timely new polling on the Build Back Better plan.
- Yahoo + YouGov - Americans support Biden’s “$3.5 trillion infrastructure plan” by double digits, and a plurality support using the budget reconciliation process to overcome a Republican filibuster (Topline, Crosstabs)
- POLITICO + Morning Consult - Voters widely support tax breaks for renewable energy in the reconciliation bill, even when it’s framed as a Democratic proposal (Topline, Crosstabs)
- Data for Progress + Invest in America - Voters support the Build Back Better plan by a two-to-one margin after reading an explanation of its components; grid modernization continues to be one of the plan’s most popular provisions (Release, Topline)
- LCV + Climate Power - Majorities of voters across Democratic-held U.S. Senate battleground states (AZ, CO, GA, NH + NV) support the Build Back Better plan after a brief description, and majorities also reject the idea of trimming the bill down; top messages focus on jobs, pollution/health, and lowering utility bills (Deck, Memo, AZ Topline, CO Topline, GA Topline, NH Topline, NV Topline)
- Navigator - Climate is rising as a national priority; two in five voters say that weather in their community this summer has been different from past years, and most who have experienced unusual weather cite climate change as the reason (Release, Deck, Topline)
- Data for Progress - “Green jobs” are a confusing concept for voters (Memo)
- Yale Program on Climate Change Communication - Moderates have similar reactions to “climate change” and “extreme weather” as the rationale for emergency preparedness actions and policies, but there are benefits to using “extreme weather” with conservative audiences (Article)
In Response to Climate Change, Citizens in Advanced Economies Are Willing To Alter How They Live and Work
Most Americans are willing to make changes to their own lives to help reduce the effects of climate change. Ideology plays a larger role in shaping Americans’ climate attitudes than it does in other advanced economies. Three-fifths of Americans (60%) are at least “somewhat” concerned about climate change harming them personally, which is lower than any country surveyed aside from the Netherlands (59%) and Sweden (44%). In comparable economies such as Canada (68%), the U.K. (71%), and Germany (75%), two-thirds or more are concerned about climate change affecting them. There is a far wider gap between left- and right-leaning citizens’ climate attitudes in the United States than in any other country surveyed. Whether looking at personal concerns about climate (59-point gap between left and right in the U.S.) or willingness to make lifestyle changes to help reduce the effects of climate change (49-point gap between left and right in the U.S.), the difference in responses between left- and right-leaning Americans is much bigger than in any other country surveyed. Liberal and moderate Americans have similar climate attitudes as their ideological counterparts in other advanced economies, but conservative Americans are outliers even within the international right wing. U.S. moderates are equally or more willing to change their lifestyles to reduce the effects of climate change as those in the ideological center in Canada (82%), Australia (80%), and Germany (75%).
This post includes a roundup of climate + environment headlines from this week’s public polls, good data points to highlight, and a full roundup with key takeaways from each poll - including new polls on the Build Back Better budget, a study on the impact of language in the natural gas debate, and extreme weather polling.
- Navigator - Specific details engender broad support for the Build Back Better budget, even when it’s framed as a Democratic bill (Release, Slide Deck, Topline)
- Washington Post/ABC News - The Build Back Better budget has slim majority support when described as $3.5 trillion in spending for “expanded social programs, educational assistance and programs to address climate change” (Topline, Crosstabs)
- No Labels & American Action Network - Opposition polls claim that Americans want to pause on the kind of government spending included in the Build Back Better budget (Axios Article on No Labels Poll, No Labels Release, American Action Network Release)
- Yale Program on Climate Change Communication - Language used to describe gas as an energy source is hugely impactful in shaping opinions; Americans have positive attitudes about “natural gas,” but not about methane (Academic Paper, YPCCC Article)
- Economist/YouGov - Americans continue to attribute recent extreme weather events more to climate change than natural patterns; nearly one in four say they were personally impacted by Eastern seaboard hurricanes (Topline, Crosstabs)
Hot, dry days are more likely to affect Americans’ climate change beliefs than other types of extreme weather. The data show that Democrats and Republicans living in the same states or counties — or even sharing the same roof — can be a world apart when it comes to perceived experience with global warming. While 60% of Democrats nationally say they have personally experienced global warming, only 22% of Republicans agree. Only one type of weather has affected Americans’ beliefs that they had experienced global warming: hot, dry days. When hot, dry days persist for a long period of time, drought conditions arise. In particular, the intense heat and lack of rainfall that affected Texas and the Midwest in 2011, and which turned into a severe drought, stands out clearly in the study’s climate data. This drought was also associated with extreme wildfires in Texas, which burned about 4 million acres that year, doubling the previous record.
A June 2021 poll found that 57% of Montana voters support the Biden Administration’s American Jobs Plan creating a national path to achieving 100 percent clean electricity by 2035. However, the support is very polarized: 95% of Democrats said they’re supportive, along with 53% of Independents, but just 32% of Republicans. Voters showed similar levels of support when asked about green investments, jobs, and consumer incentives associated with the American Jobs Plan.
Many Americans believe that the oil and gas industry has too much power and influence in Washington, with support coming from both sides of the aisle. Two-thirds (67%) of Democrats believe the industry has too much power, while 39% of Republicans agree that they have too much power. When presented with quotes from an Exxon lobbyist that highlights the influence Exxon has in the capital, however, these percentages increase to 74% and 48% respectively. Finally, this research finds that when “oil and gas companies” is used, rather than “fossil fuel companies,” the percentage who believe that the industry has too much power increases. Advocates interested in highlighting these finding should consider focusing on the bipartisan distrust in the oil and industry, and use “oil and gas” language rather than “fossil fuel” language.