Menopausal Mother Nature

News about Climate Change and our Planet

Uncategorized

Polls Show Climate Concerns Among Voters in Battleground States – The New York Times

Climate change has emerged as a major issue for voters this year, both nationally and in crucial battleground states like Arizona and Florida, new polls from The New York Times and Siena College suggest.

Nationwide, 58 percent of Americans said they were either “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” about their communities being harmed by climate change, according to a survey conducted in mid-October, with 39 percent saying they were “not too concerned” or “not at all concerned.”

But that poll also found a stark partisan split: 90 percent of voters who favored Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic nominee for president, expressed concern about climate change, while just 23 percent of voters who backed President Trump, the Republican incumbent, did so.



The New York Times /
Siena College poll

National: How concerned are you about your community being harmed by climate change?

Total

Total

Very concerned 37%

Somewhat 21

Not too 14

Not at all 25

Voting for

Biden

66%

24

5

4

Trump

6%

17

25

51

Gender

Men

31%

21

16

32

Women

44%

23

13

19

Age

18-29

51%

21

11

17

30-44

37%

17

20

25

45-64

33%

24

13

29

65+

37%

22

13

24

Race/Ethnicity

White

34%

21

17

27

Black

55%

29

6

9

Hispanic

43%

23

8

24

Other

44%

23

20

11

Based on a New York Times/Siena College poll of 987 likely voters in the United States from Oct. 15 to 18, 2020.


The candidatescould not be farther apart on the issue. Mr. Trump has often dismissed global warming as a hoax and has moved to roll back environmental and climate regulations while in office. Mr. Biden calls climate change an “emergency” and has proposed spending more than $2 trillion to overhaul the nation’s energy system and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

In a handful of key swing states, The New York Times and Siena College asked voters about their views on climate-related topics: Rising sea levels in Florida, extreme heat in Arizona, support for fracking in Pennsylvania and the opening up of public lands for oil and gas development in Alaska.



The New York Times /
Siena College poll

Arizona: How worried are you that rising temperatures from global warming will have a significant impact on your life?

Total

Total

Very worried 34%

Somewhat 23

Not too 18

Not at all 23

Voting for

Biden

62%

28

6

3

Trump

4%

18

32

46

Gender

Men

27%

24

20

28

Women

40%

24

17

18

Age

18-29

43%

32

13

12

30-44

37%

28

17

17

45-64

26%

24

22

26

65+

36%

15

18

30

Race/Ethnicity

White

30%

23

21

25

Hispanic

43%

29

15

12

Based on a New York Times/Siena College poll of 1,252 likely voters in Arizona from Oct. 26 to 31, 2020.


In Arizona, which endured a series of deadly, record-breaking heat waves in July and August, 57 percent of likely voters said they were very or somewhat worried that rising temperatures from global warming would have a significant effect on their life, according to a Times/Siena poll released Sunday.

Arizona’s voters are sharply polarized on the issue: 90 percent of those supporting Mr. Biden expressed worry about climate change, while just 22 percent of those backing Mr. Trump did. Overall, Mr. Biden leads Mr. Trump 49 percent to 43 percent among Arizona’s likely voters in the presidential race, the survey found.

Some voters said concern about rising temperatures factored into their decision. Marco Miranda, 27, a registered nurse in Yuma, Ariz., said he had voted for Mr. Trump in 2016 but had voted early for Mr. Biden this time around.

Climate change “certainly played a role,” Mr. Miranda said, adding that he had not paid as much attention to the issue in the previous election. “I’m not a Democrat, but the Republicans don’t believe in science or climate change, and they’ve been rolling back all sorts of environmental and climate policies,” he said. “It’s fine to deregulate some things, but not that.”

For others, though, climate change remains a background concern. “I do feel like what we do as a nation can impact the environment, but there are so many other things in the world we should be concerned about,” said Alfred Rubio, 39, a police officer in Gilbert, Ariz., who plans to vote for Mr. Trump, citing abortion and immigration as two of his top issues.

Mr. Rubio, who said he has previously worked outdoor construction jobs in Arizona, added that he was less worried about extreme heat. “Is it hot? Yeah, it’s really hot,” he said. “But that’s why we have air-conditioners. If this was truly a concern for people, we wouldn’t get as many people as we have flooding into Arizona from other states.”

There are signs that climate change could become a more prominent issue in Arizona over time: The state’s younger voters tended to be much more worried about rising temperatures, with 75 percent of respondents aged 18 to 29 expressing concern, while just 51 percent of those aged 65 and older did. Hispanic voters, a fast-growing demographic in Arizona, also expressed much higher levels of concern than did white voters.



The New York Times /
Siena College poll

Florida: How worried are you that rising sea levels from global warming will have a significant impact on your life?

Total

Total

Very worried 24%

Somewhat 30

Not too 19

Not at all 25

Voting for

Biden

46%

38

10

6

Trump

3%

19

29

46

Gender

Men

19%

32

18

30

Women

30%

28

19

20

Age

18-29

37%

36

16

11

30-44

29%

35

19

17

45-64

20%

29

20

27

65+

23%

26

17

32

Race/Ethnicity

White

20%

29

21

28

Black

23%

40

17

17

Hispanic

40%

27

13

19

Based on a New York Times/Siena College poll of 1,451 likely voters in Florida from Oct. 27 to 31, 2020.


In Florida, a state particularly vulnerable to flooding from sea level rise along the coast, 54 percent of respondents said they were either “very worried” or “somewhat worried” that rising sea levels from global warming would have a significant effect on their life.

A partisan split was evident there, too: 82 percent of Democrats and 58 percent of independents expressed worry, while just 26 percent of Republicans did. Overall, Mr. Biden led Mr. Trump 47 percent to 44 percent among likely voters in Florida, the poll found.

Kelly Kaiser, 47, an independent voter who lives in Bradenton, Fla., and owns a small interior design business, said she was very concerned about sea level rise. “I’m on the coast, my job is on the coast, and from what I’ve read, if water levels rise just six inches, we’re going to have a lot of flooding problems,” she said.

At the same time, she voted early for Mr. Trump this year, in part because she trusts him more on the economy at a time when the coronavirus pandemic is roiling the country. “I’m afraid climate didn’t play a role in my vote this time,” she said. “Does that mean I’m not concerned about the environment? No. But at this moment, I have to save the business. In four years I may feel very differently.”

Vickie Campbell, 66, a retiree in Dunedin, Fla., did feel differently this time. While she voted for Mr. Trump in 2016, in large part because she didn’t want to vote for Hillary Clinton, she voted early for Mr. Biden this year. “Climate wasn’t at all on my mind last time, but it is now,” she said. “I don’t like that Trump’s taken us out of the Paris climate agreement, and all the rollbacks around clean air and water are very concerning.”

Ms. Campbell said that the images of wildfires out West over the summer and fall had brought climate change to the front of mind. “Seeing that, it makes you worry about your own area,” she said. “It’s fire out there, it’s water here, but you realize it’s only a matter of time before you’re affected, too.”



The New York Times /
Siena College poll

Pennsylvania: Do you support or oppose the underground oil or natural gas extraction process known as fracking?

Total

Total

Support 52%

Oppose 27

Voting for

Biden

25%

47

Trump

86%

5

Gender

Men

61%

24

Women

45%

31

Age

18-29

36%

46

30-44

51%

30

45-64

60%

24

65+

55%

21

Location

City

32%

38

Suburb

51%

29

Rural

65%

19

Based on a New York Times/Siena College poll of 1,862 likely voters in Pennsylvania from Oct. 26 to 31, 2020.


In Pennsylvania, a major producer of natural gas, Mr. Trumphas tried to win over swing voters by arguing that Mr. Biden’s proposed climate policies would harm the state’s fossil fuel industry. But so far, those attacks do not seem to have given him a decisive advantage, a Times/Siena survey found.

Overall, 52 percent of likely voters in Pennsylvania support fracking, a technique that has led to a boom in gas production in the state and helped create thousands of jobs, though it has also led to local pollution concerns. Just 27 percent opposed fracking, while the rest said they didn’t know or declined to answer.

But in the presidential race, Mr. Biden still leads Mr. Trump among likely voters in Pennsylvania 49 percent to 43 percent, the poll found. Mr. Biden has said he would not ban fracking altogether, though he does envision a transition away from oil and gas in the years ahead.

Margaret Watkins, 69, lives in Indiana County, Penn., where growth in the natural gas industry has partly offset a decline in coal mining in recent decades. She voted for Mr. Trump in 2016 but plans to vote for Mr. Biden this time. Her disapproval of the president’s immigration policies was a bigger factor than energy policy, she said, but she broadly agrees with Mr. Biden’s approach to the latter. While she supports fracking today because it underpins jobs in her area, she sees renewable energy as the future. “My dad and grandfather were in the coal mines, but you know those days are over,” she said. “We need to transition into future energy sources, cleaner energy sources.”



The New York Times /
Siena College poll

Alaska: Do you support or oppose opening up public lands in Alaska for oil and gas drilling, logging, or other types of natural resource extraction?

Total

Total

Support 50%

Oppose 39

Voting for

Biden

19%

70

Trump

82%

12

Gender

Men

60%

31

Women

42%

47

Age

18-44

42%

48

45-64

63%

30

65+

46%

41

Race/Ethnicity

White

50%

38

Non-white

50%

42

Based on a New York Times/Siena College poll of 423 likely voters in Alaska from Oct. 9 to 14, 2020.


In Alaska, the fastest-warming state in the country, 56 percent of respondents said they were “very worried” or “somewhat worried” that global warming will have a significant effect on their life, with 43 percent saying they were “not too worried or not at all worried.”

But Alaska’s economy also depends heavily on oil and gas production, and voters wrestled with those contradictions as well: 50 percent of voters favored opening up public lands in Alaska for oil and gas drilling, logging or other types of extraction, with just 39 percent opposed.

Alaska has long been a Republican stronghold, but there are signs of a surprisingly competitive race this year: Mr. Trump led Mr. Biden 45 percent to 39 percent in the Times/Siena poll of likely voters, released in mid-October.

Some Alaska voters cited global warming as an important issue for them this year. Michael Rose, a 71-year-old clinical psychologist and political independent in Anchorage, said he voted third party in 2016 but plans to vote for Mr. Biden this year. Climate change was a “moderately high factor” in his vote, he said, citing the effects that rising temperatures were having on wildfires and declining fish populations in the state. “I’m afraid we’re reaching the point of no return,” he said. “And from what I can see, President Trump does not even consider climate to be an issue.”

But Mr. Rose also said he was in favor of opening up public lands in Alaska, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, to oil and gas development. “We’re still going to need oil and gas in the future,” he said, “though hopefully we’ll be able to decrease that over time by using more renewable energy.”

How Climate Became a Hot Election Issue

For decades, surveys have consistently shown that a majority of Americans accept the scientific evidence that global warming is real and caused by human activities such as burning fossil fuels. Polls have also found broad support for policies to lower planet-warming emissions and promote renewable energy sources like solar and wind power.

But over the past few years, pollsters have found evidence that voters are increasingly fired up about the subject. A recent study from Stanford University found that the “issue public” for climate change — those who feel that the issue is extremely important to them personally — had reached an all-time high of 25 percent this year.

“That’s a big deal, because these are the people who write letters to lawmakers, donate to lobbying groups or vote based on the issue,” said Jon Krosnick, a professor of communication, political science and psychology at Stanford who has been conducting climate change polling for more than two decades. “That rise has come in the last few years, and I’ve never seen that magnitude of change on any issue,” he said.

Several factors could explain the uptick in concern over climate change, experts said. Much of the increase has been concentrated among Democrats, who may be reacting sharply to Mr. Trump’s dismissal of global warming. A recent spate of disasters with links to climate change, including record breaking wildfires in the West and a string of hurricanes in the South, may be playing a role.

Dr. Krosnick also cited increasingly widespread media coverage of global warming as a key factor. “Just about every year now we see headlines announcing that it’s the warmest year on record, or close to it,” he said. “It’s just a continued accumulation of evidence.”

LEAVE A RESPONSE