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New Study on How Americans’ Attitudes on Global Warming Influence Voting

Yale and George Mason University released the results of a national global warming survey conducted in March 2016. The survey results capture America’s views on global warming using a set of attitudes categorized into 6 different groups called Global Warming’s Six Americas. The survey relates these 6 groups to voting issue priorities and presidential vote preferences to measure the impact of belief in global warming on the 2016 presidential election.

Survey Results

The six categories are Alarmed, Concerned, Cautious, Disengaged, Doubtful and Dismissive. Here’s how Americans breakdown in thirds:

  • 45% were categorized as Alarmed and Concerned, representing those most motivated and engaged about global warming in the population.
  • 34% fall in the two middle groups, the Cautious and Disengaged.
  • 21% are in least motivated and engaged groups, the Doubtful and Dismissive.

Compared to 2015, the Alarmed group increased by 5 percent, which brings it back to its 2008 level. But over the past 8 years, it is unclear whether Americans’ attitudes about global warming are following any particular trend.

Global warming, environmental protection, and clean energy are top priorities for some Americans and unimportant for others. Here’s the breakdown:

  • For the Alarmed, over 80% of them consider these issues top priority among a list of 23 issues.
  • For the Concerned, 53% prioritize environmental protection and about 40 percent prioritize clean energy development and global warming.
  • The four least engaged groups of Americans consider global warming the least important issue. Among these four groups, 35% and fewer consider environmental protection and clean energy development important in their decision for the 2016 presidential election.

Want that translated into the influence of global warming on voting?  Here it is:

  • 78% of the Alarmed and 64% of the Concerned would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports action to reduce global warming.
  • 54% of the Dismissive say that they are less likely to vote for the candidate if the candidate supports action to reduce global warming.

This survey shows how large an impact attitudes towards global warming have on voting in the presidential election. The results highlight an opportunity for businesses to take part in increasing American engagement with global warming. You can learn more about this survey by visiting this site.

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