Survey: Most Want Feds To Better Address Climate Change — Though Half Wouldn’t Spend $1 To Help

CHICAGO — A new poll finds that a large amount of Democrats and Republicans alike want the federal government to play a bigger role in combating climate change.

According to the survey conducted by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 61 percent of all Americans believe that climate change is an issue that needs to better addressed.

Earth view from outer space
While many Americans want to reduce their footprint, few are willing to put much money on the line: half of respondents wouldn’t even be willing to spend $1 a month to reduce emissions.

Broken down by party affiliation, 43 percent of Republicans and 80 percent of Democrats expressed such a concern, although these figures increase when only taking into account those who actually believe in climate change.

Seventy percent of Republicans and virtually all Democrats who subscribe to the view that the Earth is getting warmer believe that American politicians need to take further action.

In terms of climate policy, a majority of Americans support the standards set out by the Paris climate accord, while a plurality do not support a repeal of the Clean Power Plan, which the current administration is reviewing.

Despite the urgency from both sides, ideology and belief in climate change science were the biggest two determinants of support for policies addressing global warming, beating out variables such as education, income, and location.

Opinions were mixed on the divisive Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines, while a plurality of those polled felt unqualified to weigh in on fracking.

While many Americans want to reduce their footprint, few are willing to put much money on the line: half of respondents wouldn’t even be willing to spend $1 a month to reduce emissions, while about 18 percent would be willing to spend at least $100 a month.

“These results put the polarized climate debate in sharp relief, but also point to the possibility of a path forward,” says researcher Michael Greenstone in a press release.

Greenstone notes that, on average, Americans would be willing to add $30 to their utility bill to slow climate change, which in theory, could play a substantial role in reducing atmospheric impact.

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On an issue that has its many fervent supporters and detractors, finding common ground is essential, for which this poll may provide hope.

In total, 1,038 Americans completed the poll via web or phone in mid-August, which also addressed other issues.

The poll’s margin of error was estimated to be 4.1 percentage points.

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