What Do Voters Think of Climate Change?

Americas Majority Foundation, an organization that I work with, held several polls over the past three months, including post-election polls. In August, the foundation polled 1100 Hispanics, and in a national post-election poll, polled 1000 whites, 1000 blacks and 1000 Hispanics. Finally we polled black and Hispanic voters in New Mexico, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Illinois: states where America's PAC was involved. (We polled 3500 Hispanic voters in three states: Illinois, Wisconsin and New Mexico, and 2800 black voters in two states: Wisconsin and North Carolina.) 

Americas Majority Foundation has been doing surveys on voters’ attitude on climate change for the past four years. While voters will tell pollsters that climate change is a serious problem, they don’t rate “fighting” climate change as a major priority. In our polls, we added additional options on what causes climate change, and guess what, voters actually reject the climate alarmist worldview. They agree with climate realists on what causes climate change, and furthermore, view job creation as more important than fighting climate change.

After the 2010 elections, we asked what causes climate change, and included as the options, human activity or natural events either alone or combined with human activity. The latter two options are what climate realists believe, and we found that the vast majority of voters accepted that climate change was a natural event or caused by natural events combined with human activity. They rejected the climate alarmist position that human activity is the primary mover behind climate change.

The majority of voters accepted that climate change has happened before, and by a small majority, rejected the need to alter our lifestyle. The poll was skewed to a Democratic base with two thirds of the respondents minority voters. We also asked whether they had heard of climategate to gauge how much they were aware of the various aspects of the climate change debate. Two thirds of the respondents had not heard of climategate, so they were not aware of the questionable aspects of the climate alarmist data.

In our survey, more respondents accepted that human activity, combined with natural events, was the primary cause, but when combined with those who believed in natural events as the primary mover, they accepted what many climate realists like Roy Spencer or Judith Curry have written. In August's Hispanic poll, we found that two out of three Hispanics agreed with the notion that either natural events or natural events, combined with human activities, is the primary mover behind climate change.

In a survey of 3400 Hispanic voters in Illinois, Wisconsin, and New Mexico, along with 2800 black voters in Wisconsin and North Carolina, 62% to 75% believed that natural events, either combined with human activities or alone, was the primary mover behind climate change with blacks more likely than Hispanics to be accepting of either options. (Hispanics who preferred to answer the question in Spanish, were more likely to accept human activity as the driving force behind climate change but even a majority of them accepted the climate realist point of view.) In our post election national poll, three quarters of the voters, regardless of race, accepted the climate realist position that either natural events or natural events combined with human activity caused climate change as opposed to human activity alone.

Some five years after climategate broke, nearly 70 percent of voters still have not heard of climategate, which shows two things. The first is that the media has done a very poor job of discussing the issues of climate change fairly, and many were not aware of the controversial nature of the alarmist research. This should have given the alarmists an edge along with the fact just as four years ago when we did our survey, the survey was skewed toward Democratic voters.

This brings us to answer how much voters are willing to sacrifice when it came to fighting climate change. Guess what, most voters will not give up job creation and their economic status to fighting climate change.

Three quarters of voters, regardless of racial status, want job creation over fighting climate change. So for Republicans, this is an issue that they can win despite conventional wisdom. Voters want jobs and opportunities that energy development can offer. The other aspect is that the voters, using common sense, accept the climate realist position that natural events are a primary mover in climate change whether it is combined with human activity or by itself. While the media has been propagating the climate alarmist position, the failure of alarmist computer models and the reality of the climate the average voters have experienced has soured many voters of the alarmist’s position. This is an issue that the GOP can easily win as a wedge issue.


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