With devastating California wildfires, strong Atlantic hurricanes, and a powerful derecho in the Midwest, more and more Americans are feeling the effects of climate change. A new survey shows climate change will likely play a more important role in this year’s election than ever before.
The survey finds that around three-quarters of Americans report having seen the effects of climate change firsthand.
As reported by The New York Times, the survey also points to the significant growth of the “issue public” around climate change.
The issue public are “the people who make things happen on the issue,” said Dr. Jon Krosnick, a professor at Stanford University and the leader of the project. The issue public includes making donations to lobbying groups, sending emails to lawmakers, attending rallies, and voting.
According to the survey, in 2015, the issue public around climate change was 13 percent of the population––now, it has nearly doubled to 25 percent.
“We continue to see huge majorities of Americans believing that climate change is real and a threat, and passion about the issue is at an all-time high. No doubt, this issue will weigh heavily in the minds of a substantial number of Americans when they cast their ballots in November,” Dr. Krosnick said in a statement. “People are more sure than they’ve ever been.”
Other studies have produced similar results: voters really do care about climate change this election cycle. Some studies note that the increased concern is a partisan phenomenon as more Democrats than Republicans consider climate change as a major issue for our country.
The importance of climate change is the biggest gap (57 percentage points) in issue priorities between Trump and Biden supporters.
Climate change is now seen a top-tier issue along with other mainstay policy areas like health care, the economy and jobs, immigration policy, and Social Security.
As the coronavirus continues to spread across the country, 62% of voters say COVID-19 will also be a very important factor in their decision about who to support this November, according to Pew Research Center.
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