Quantcast

Poll: Partisan Divide Over Climate Change Grows Wider

Politics

A new Gallup poll offers some hope in the face of unrelenting climate change. Overall, 45 percent of those surveyed said global warming will pose a serious threat in their lifetime—the highest percentage recorded since the question was first asked in 1997.

As a whole, Americans' concerns about climate change "are not much different from the record-high levels they were at a year ago," Gallup said.


But here's the bad news. The issue has become more politically polarized than ever, and it's likely because of Donald Trump.

After a year of President Trump—who thinks global warming is a "hoax," dropped climate change from a list of top national security threats, and made it known that America is at odds with the rest of the world by withdrawing from the 2015 Paris agreement—Republicans have become more skeptical than ever about climate change, the Gallup poll suggests.

Only a third of Republicans said they worry about climate change or even acknowledge that it has already begun. Seven in 10 Republicans think the seriousness of global warming is exaggerated in the news. The percentage of Republicans who affirm the scientific consensus of global warming is down 11 percentage points since last year.

Independents have also become less convinced about climate change and its impacts. Independents who believe global warming is caused by human activities dropped to 62 percent from 70 percent the year before.

Still, there's a silver lining. Democrats are more unnerved about the issue than ever because of Trump.

Earlier surveys have already shown that the majority of Dems are concerned about climate change and believe it is caused by human activities. This year's poll found that 82 percent of Democrats agree that the effects of climate change have already begun, up from 73 percent a year earlier.

"With Trump reversing many of his predecessors' policies aimed at curbing global warming, Democrats are feeling a greater sense of urgency about the issue," Gallup said.

Of course, the devastating effects of climate change are already being felt—and the U.S. government knows it. 2017, one of the hottest years in modern history, was also an extremely costly year. According to a report from the National Centers for Environmental Information, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), "the U.S. experienced 16 weather and climate disasters with losses exceeding $1 billion, with total costs of approximately $306 billion—a new U.S. annual record."

Trump and his climate-denying cabinet members are ignoring the vast scientific consensus of human-caused climate change.

Peter Gleick, the president-emeritus of the Pacific Institute and a member of the U.S. National Academy of Science tweeted Wednesday, "If you deny the reality of human-caused climate change, you are making a political statement that is scientifically wrong. Don't pretend the problem is the science. The problem is you're afraid if you admit the science you won't like the policies we have to pursue."

The Gallup survey was based on interviews with 1,041 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia from March 1-8. The margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pick one of these nine activism styles, and you can start making change. YES! Illustrations by Delphine Lee

By Cathy Brown

Most of us have heard about UN researchers warning that we need to make dramatic changes in the next 12 years to limit our risk of extreme heat, drought, floods and poverty caused by climate change. Report after report about a bleak climate future can leave people in despair.

Read More Show Less
Jamie Grill Photography / Getty Images

Losing weight, improving heart health and decreasing your chances for metabolic diseases like diabetes may be as simple as cutting back on a handful of Oreos or saying no to a side of fries, according to a new study published in the journal The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Golde Wallingford submitted this photo of "Pure Joy" to EcoWatch's first photo contest. Golde Wallingford

EcoWatch is pleased to announce our third photo contest!

Read More Show Less
A boy gives an impromptu speech about him not wanting to die in the next 10 years during the protest on July 15. The Scottish wing of the Extinction Rebellion environmental group of Scotland locked down Glasgow's Trongate for 12 hours in protest of climate change. Stewart Kirby / SOPA Images / LightRocket / Getty Images

It's important to remember that one person can make a difference. From teenagers to world-renowned scientists, individuals are inspiring positive shifts around the world. Maybe you won't become a hard-core activist, but this list of people below can inspire simple ways to kickstart better habits. Here are seven people advocating for a better planet.

Read More Show Less
A group of wind turbines in a field in Banffshire, Northeast Scotland. Universal Images Group / Getty Images

Scotland produced enough power from wind turbines in the first half of 2019, that it could power Scotland twice over. Put another way, it's enough energy to power all of Scotland and most of Northern England, according to the BBC — an impressive step for the United Kingdom, which pledged to be carbon neutral in 30 years.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Beekeeper Jeff Anderson works with members of his family in this photo from 2014. He once employed all of his adult children but can no longer afford to do so. CHRIS JORDAN-BLOCH / EARTHJUSTICE

By Jessica A. Knoblauch

It's been a particularly terrible summer for bees. Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it is allowing the bee-killing pesticide sulfoxaflor back on the market. And just a few weeks prior, the USDA announced it is suspending data collection for its annual honeybee survey, which tracks honeybee populations across the U.S., providing critical information to farmers and scientists.

Read More Show Less

tommaso79 / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Rachel Licker

As a new mom, I've had to think about heat safety in many new ways since pregnant women and young children are among the most vulnerable to extreme heat.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Kris Gunnars, BSc

It's easy to get confused about which foods are healthy and which aren't.

Read More Show Less