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The Political Benefits of Taking a Pro-Climate Stand in 2012

The Political Benefits of Taking a Pro-Climate Stand in 2012

This brief report draws upon data from a nationally representative survey conducted in March 2012 (Climate Change in the American Mind) and other research to investigate the question: On balance, will candidates for political office benefit or be harmed by talking about and supporting action to reduce global warming?

The short answer is that – at the national level and among ten key swing states – taking a proclimate stand appears to benefit candidates more than hurt them with registered voters. Of course, the political dynamics in any given district may be an exception to this pattern, but it is important to note that the pattern is similar at both the national and swing-state scales.

Highlights

  • A majority of all registered voters (55%) say they will consider candidates' views on global warming when deciding how to vote.
  • Among these climate change issue voters, large majorities believe global warming is happening and support action by the U.S. to reduce global warming, even if it has economic costs.
  • Independents lean toward “climate action” and look more like Democrats than Republicans on the issue.
  • A pro-climate action position wins votes among Democrats and Independents, and has little negative impact with Republican voters.
  • Policies to reduce America’s dependence on fossil fuels and promote renewable energy are favored by a majority of registered voters across party lines.
  • These patterns are found nationally and among ten swing states.