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Bi-Partisan American Attitudes: It’s Time for Urgent Climate Action

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The majority of Americans think climate change is a serious problem, according to the latest survey by ecoAmerica. ecoAmerica also found that across political affiliations Americans agree that we need to take urgent action now to reduce the pollution that causes climate change. But do Americans think we can do anything about it? Perhaps. The nationally-representative survey finds that most Americans say climate change should be a priority for the United States. And, with climate champions faring better than expected these midterm elections, elected leaders have a clear charge to bring forth urgent climate action.

Americans View Climate Change as a Serious Problem

ecoAmerica’s survey finds that nearly 7 in 10 Americans think climate change is either a very or fairly serious problem. This includes almost half of Republicans — 19% who say it’s very serious and 28% who say it’s fairly serious. However, 20% of Republicans say they don’t believe climate change is a problem at all. The large majority of Democrats think climate change is a serious problem, including 64% who say it’s very serious. Independents align with the national average — 69% say climate change is serious, including 41% who say very and 28% who say fairly.

This chart shows that nationally, 46% of Americans think climate change is a very serious problem, 23% think it’s a fairly serious problem, 20% take a wait-and-see approach on climate change, and 11% don’t believe climate change is a problem. 19% of Republicans think climate change is a very serious problem, 28% think it’s a fairly serious problem, 33% take a wait-and-see approach on climate change and 20% don’t believe climate change is a problem. 64% of Democrats think climate change is a very serious problem, 16% think climate change is a fairly serious problem, 16% take a wait-and-see approach on climate change, and 4% don’t believe climate change is a problem. 41% of Independents think climate change is a very serious problem, 28% think climate change is a fairly serious problem, 18% take a wait-and-see approach on climate change, and 13% don’t believe climate change is a problem.

For a copy of the report with detailed graph descriptions, click here.

Majorities Agree on Need to Take Urgent Action to Reduce Climate Change Pollution

A high majority (85%) of Americans either strongly agree (56%) or somewhat agree (29%) that we need to take urgent action now to reduce the pollution that causes climate change. This includes a majority across all political party affiliations — 73% of Republicans, 93% of Democrats, and 83% of Independents — either strongly or somewhat agree. 

This graph shows that nationally, 56% of Americans strongly agree, 29% somewhat agree, 8% somewhat disagree, and 7% strongly disagree with the statement, “We need to take urgent action now to reduce the pollution that causes climate change”. In total, 85% agree. 32% of Republicans strongly agree with the above statement, 41% somewhat agree, 17% somewhat disagree, and 11% strongly disagree. In total, 73% agree. 74% of Democrats strongly agree with the above statement, 19% somewhat agree, 4% somewhat disagree, and 3% strongly disagree. In total, 93% agree. 50% of Independents strongly agree with the above statement, 31% somewhat agree, 10% somewhat disagree, and 8% strongly disagree. In total, 82% agree.

Only One in Three Americans Think We Can Definitely Stop Climate Change

Climate solutions are here and available to us now. Even the newly released Lancet Countdown Report on Health and Climate provides evidence that approaching climate change with health-based solutions can drastically change future outcomes. Despite this, only 32% of Americans believe we can definitely make a difference in slowing or reducing climate change. 39% believe we might be able to slow or reduce climate change. Only 19% say we can’t stop climate change and only 10% don’t believe it’s happening at all. Democrats and Independents generally display more confidence in our ability to make a difference compared to Republicans.

This chart shows that nationally, 32% of Americans believe we can definitely make a difference in showing or reducing climate change,. 19% of Republicans believe that, 43% of Democrats do, and 30% of Independents do. Nationally, 39% of Americans believe we might be able to slow or reduce climate change. 37% of Republicans believe that, 35% of Democrats and 45% of Independents do, too. 19% of Americans believe we can’t stop climate change even if it is happening, including 31% of Republicans, 12% of Democrats, and 19% of Independents. 10% of Americans believe climate change isn’t happening, including 17% of Republicans, 11% of Democrats, and 6% of Independents.

Two Thirds Say Addressing Climate Change Should Be A High or Top Priority for the United States

ecoAmerica asked our sample what level of priority they think addressing climate change should be for the country. Nationally, nearly 2 in 3 say it should be a priority, with 1 in 3 Americans saying it should be a top priority and 1 in 3 saying it should be a high priority. Roughly 1 in 5 chose “medium priority” bringing the total of those who think it should be some level of priority to over 4 in 5 (84%).

Democrats prioritize addressing climate change at the highest levels with nearly half (47%) voicing that it should be a top priority and 34% a high priority for the US. Most Independents prioritize climate change with 83% voicing some level of prioritization — 24% say top priority, 38% say high priority, and 21% say medium priority. Over 1 in 3 Republicans say addressing climate change should be a high or top priority, with nearly another 1 in 3 who believe it should be a medium priority – bringing the total to 67% (a majority).

This chart shows that 32% of Americans believe climate change should be a top priority for the United States, 33% believe it should be a high priority, 19% believe it should be a medium priority, 12% believe it should be a low priority and 5% believe it should not be a priority. 15% of Republicans believe climate change should be a top priority, 20% believe it should be a high priority, 32% believe it should be a medium priority, 22% believe it should be a low priority, and 11% believe it should not be a priority 47% of Democrats should believe climate change should be a top priority, 34% believe it should be a high priority, 10% believe it should be a medium priority, 7% believe it should be a low priority, and 2% believe it should not be a priority. 24% of Independents should believe climate change should be a top priority, 38% believe it should be a high priority, 32% believe it should be a medium priority, 12% believe it should be a low priority, and 5% believe it should not be a priority.

Full data featured in this blog is available in the accompanying toplines.

Share these findings on Social Media! Click here for the social toolkit, including:

A social card to promote the report findings that shows wind turbines with a sunset in the background. The text reads "65% of Americans think that addressing climate change should be a top or high priority for the United States"

 

Methodology

ecoAmerica designed and administered this survey, which was conducted online on September 27, 2022 using Survey Monkey. The survey yielded a total of 1,076 complete adult responses and used the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to weigh the national general population and reflect the demographic composition of the US. The sample was drawn from an online panel and the respondents were screened to ensure that they were over the age of 18. The margin of error for the sample is +/-3%. In interpreting the survey results, it is important to note that all sample surveys are subject to possible sampling error. Thus, the results of a survey may differ from the results that would be obtained if the entire population was interviewed. The size of the sampling error depends upon both the total number of respondents in the survey and the percentage distribution of the responses to a particular question. For example, if 50% of the respondents in a sample of 1,066 respondents answered, “Yes” to a particular question, we can be 95% confident that the true percentage would fall within 3 points, or range from 47% to 53%.

Suggested Citation

Speiser, M., Hill, A. N. (November, 2022). American Climate Perspectives Survey 2022. Vol V. Bi-Partisan American Attitudes: It’s Time for Urgent Climate Action. ecoAmerica. Washington, DC.

© 2022 ecoAmerica. The contents of this report may be shared and used under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

For more information contact us at research@ecoAmerica.org.
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