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Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change Co-Chairs Release First Comprehensive State-Level Polling Data on Climate Change

Press Release

Date: Nov. 13, 2013
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Environment

Today Rep. Henry A. Waxman and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, co-chairs of the Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change, released new state-by-state data on Americans' views on climate change. The new polling data shows how Americans in different states view the issue of climate change and specific policies to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The data was prepared by Stanford University Professor Jon Krosnick.

Fact sheets detailing data for 46 states are available here.

"This new report is crystal clear," said Rep. Waxman. "It shows that the vast majority of Americans - whether from red states or blue - understand that climate change is a growing danger. Amerians recognize that we have a moral obligation to protect the environment and an economic opportunity to develop the clean energy technologies of the future. Americans are way ahead of Congress in listening to the scientists."

"These polls are further proof that the American people are awake to the threat of climate change, and have not been taken in by the polluting industries' conspiracy of denial," said Sen. Whitehouse. "Now it's time for Congress to wake up and face the facts: climate change is real; it is hurting our people, our economy, and our planet; and we have to do something about it."

The data show that a majority of people in states across the country recognize the reality of climate change and the need to take urgent action. Key findings include:

· The vast majority of Americans acknowledge the science and believe that climate change has been happening. In every state surveyed, at least 75% of the population acknowledges the existence of climate change. The percentage of people who acknowledge the existence of climate change is high in traditionally blue states such as Massachusetts (88%), Rhode Island (87%), New York (84%), and California (82%) as well as traditionally red states such as Oklahoma (87%), Texas (84%), and South Dakota (83%). See map.

· The majority of Americans believe that the government should limit greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. industry. In every state surveyed (for which there was adequate data), at least two-thirds (67%) of the population believes that the government should limit greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. businesses. The percentage of people who support government action to cut carbon pollution and other greenhouse gases is high in traditionally blue states such as New Jersey (80%), Connecticut (80%), and California (80%) as well as red states such as Georgia (85%), Arkansas (85%), and Kentucky (79%). See map.

· The majority of Americans support action to cut greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, including regulations or tax breaks. In every state surveyed (for which there was adequate data), at least 62% of the population supports taking action to cut carbon pollution from power plants, including regulations or tax breaks. The percentage of people who support cutting carbon pollution from power plants is high in traditionally blue states such as New York (84%), Massachusetts (81%), Oregon (79%), and Delaware (79%) as well as red states such as Virginia (81%), Arizona (81%), and Texas (79%). See map.

· The majority of Americans believe that the United States should take action to address climate change regardless of whether other countries do. In every state surveyed (for which there was adequate data) except for one, at least half of the population believes that the United States should take action to address climate change whether or not other countries act. The percentage of people who support U.S. action, regardless of international action, is high in traditionally blue states such as Washington State (75%), Maryland (71%), and Oregon (68%) as well as red states such as Kansas (77%), Nebraska (73%), and North Carolina (67%). See map.

To generate the state-level data, Professor Krosnick combined the results of the best national surveys over the past decade of Americans' opinions about climate change. This large dataset gave Professor Krosnick sufficient data to assess how respondents in individual states view climate change. Professor Krosnick then modeled what public opinion would be in each state today, statistically adjusting for data collection mode, survey topic, and changes in opinions over time.

Professor Jon Krosnick is the Frederic O. Glover Professor in Humanities and Social Sciences at Stanford University and a Senior Fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. For more information about Professor Krosnick's work, visit http://climatepublicopinion.stanford.edu or contact Professor Krosnick at krosnick@stanford.edu.

The Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change is co-chaired by Reps. Henry A. Waxman, Bobby L. Rush, and Earl Blumenauer and Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, Ed Markey, and Ben Cardin. The purpose of the task force is to focus congressional and public attention on climate change and to develop effective policy responses to this urgent challenge.


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