Climate as a Voting Issue, Part 2: A Majority of Americans Would Vote for a Climate Candidate

By Meighen Speiser
With elections just around the corner, and recent news coverage about politicians talking about climate change, Americans are beginning to think about the candidates and issues they will have the opportunity to vote on this November. Part of the mix of concerns will be about the impacts of climate change and the will for policymakers to work on solutions, both now reaching high levels across the political spectrum. Last month, ecoAmerica released the first of a two-part American Climate Perspectives Survey on Climate As A Voting Issue. The results provided answers to key questions: how do Americans think about climate and elections, and could either political party embrace climate change as an issue to garner support? The first report offered three key takeaways:
  • Americans overwhelmingly (90%) believe that Democratic and Republican leaders should work together on climate solutions.
  • Independents side with Democrats in their disapproval of environmental rollbacks made by the Trump Administration.
  • Americans are more concerned about climate change this election than previous ones.
Building on these findings, part two of the survey focused more closely on voting, and if they intend to vote for candidates who support climate solutions. The following are the key findings:
  • There are partisan differences in knowledge of, and interest in, candidate positions on climate change. However, in total, a majority of voters would like to know more. Slightly less than half (45%) of  Republicans are aware of their candidates’ position on climate change, and 38% would like to learn more. A majority (60%) of Democrats, and just over half (51%) of  Independents are aware, and a stronger majority would like to learn more (71%, 57% respectively).
  • Voters under 45 years old are more concerned (69%) about climate change than voters aged over 45 years old (59%). Because older voters are more likely to turn out to vote, but are less concerned about climate as an election issue, those in the climate movement should focus on turnout campaigns that target millennials.
  • A strong majority (70%) of voters would likely vote for a candidate who supports climate solutions. While partisan differences exist , Democrats (89%), Independents (71%), and a surprising percentage of Republicans (46%) report being likely to vote for candidates who support climate action.
Find, and read the full toplines and report HERE. The findings of these surveys are clear. Americans are concerned about climate change. They believe that leaders must work together, and will support candidates who have an agenda of climate solutions. To talk about these climate solutions and opportunities for action in your community, check out our simple communication guides. Each month, we break down the most simple and effective ways to talk climate — from Starting The Conversation and Clean Energy to conversing about Climate in your Community and Voting and Climate Change.

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