64% Of Americans Are ‘Somewhat’ Or ‘Very Worried’ About Climate Change – Will They Vote? – Forbes
A new study from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communications found that 64% of Americans say they are “at least ‘somewhat worried’ about global warming and climate change, and 30% say they are “very worried” about it. In addition, 65% think that global warming will “harm people in the U.S.,” and over half, 51%, think it will harm their own family. Severe storms are engulfing parts of Texas and other areas of the U.S. this week, leaving thousands stranded, and causing many car crashes and at least one death so far.
The demographics of this Yale study were 51% women, and 49% men, and the age demographics of the study are fairly evenly split among Millennials, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers (at 26%, 28% and 29% respectively), with a few percent of Gen Z and the Silent Generation on either side of them.
Another Yale study, on Politics & Global Warming, 2022, found that “six in 10 registered Democrats say the climate crisis will be a very important factor when they decide who to vote for in November, By contrast, global warming is near or at the bottom of congressional voting priorities among Republicans.” This study was done from mid-April to mid-May and, therefore, would not include responses to the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act.
Global warming is a ‘high’ priority for voters
According to the politics study, “50% of registered voters say global warming should be a high or very high priority for the president and Congress; and 61% of registered voters say developing sources of clean energy should be a high or very high priority for the president and Congress.”
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Now that the Inflation Reduction Act is law, with the largest investment in climate change mitigation in U.S. history, of $369 billion – passed solely by Democrats with zero Republican support – does that mean that more people will vote for Democrats than Republicans in the November mid-term elections?
That remains to be seen, but it’s interesting to note that many of the policies voters who care about climate change have been asking for, based on this study, are incentivized or funded in the flurry of bills that President Biden and the Democrat-led Senate and House passed in his 20 months in office so far, including in the bipartisan Infrastructure Bill and this new Inflation Reduction Act. The question is, will it influence their vote?
Polling is showing that the “enthusiasm” for Democratic candidates is up, effectively tied with Republicans as of this writing, due in part to the overturning of abortion rights and the concern about threats to democracy in this country.
Morning Consult is reporting in their latest poll that generic Congressional Democrats are up 4% over generic Congressional Republicans. It’s rare for the party in power to be leading in a mid-term election, experts say.
Women tend to be pro-climate and vote
Women are energized around climate change issues, as are young voters, and high turnout of both women and young voters turned the presidential elections in favor of both Joe Biden and Barack Obama. Mid-term elections are historically trickier – and Obama lost Congress during his two midterms as president – but there are too many anomalies this year to predict.
The Yale study found that 78% of college-educated women think global warming is happening, compared to 72% of college-educated men who do, and that 63% of college-educated women think global warming will hurt the U.S., compared to 58% of college-educated men. The new Inflation Reduction Act particularly helps women, since women are buying more homes today and take more prescription drugs.
The League of Women Voters supports action on climate change and recently signed on to a letter to Congress urging support for the National Climate Adaptation and Resilience Strategy Act, which would, among other things, establish a White House Chief Resilience Officer.
A lot can happen in 76 days
With the election still 76 days away, Biden and his surrogates are poised to crisscross the country to explain the new Inflation Reduction Act to the American people.
As the public learns more about the bill’s new funding and tax credits to reduce energy costs, mitigate climate change, and reduce prescription drug costs (at least for those on Medicare), the IRA may have an impact on voters come November.
The 1,000 year floods happening now in multiple cities might influence these voters too.