Trump’s effect on climate change beliefs might be wearing off

Trump’s effect on climate change beliefs might be wearing off

By Luke Vargas   
Published
Courtesy: Yale Program on Cliamte Change Communication, George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication
Courtesy: Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication

Belief in global warming among Republican voters dipped during Trump's first year in office but has since recovered to pre-Trump levels.

UNITED NATIONS — A new study of American voters finds that belief in global warming among Democrats, Republicans and Independents is on the rise after briefly dipping in the first year of the Trump presidency.

According to the poll published Tuesday, belief in global warming among a sampling of nearly a thousand registered voters is at 74 percent. That figure goes as high as 98 percent among “liberal democrats” and as low as 42 percent among “conservative republicans.”

Over President Trump’s first year in office, belief in climate change among both conservative and moderate Republicans had started to drop, and as Trump abandoned the Paris Agreement and barred certain federal agencies from mentioning the term climate change, it appeared Republicans were taking what researchers described as “political elite cues” — molding their beliefs after watching the behavior of a political figure they admired.

“Political elite cues are important, because most people don’t know about this issue or lots of other issues, and so they tend to look to their leaders for guidance about whether this is an issue they should care about or not.”

Anthony Leiserowitz directs the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.

“But in this case, what we’re finding is that even though President Trump continues to basically question the reality or seriousness of climate change, Republicans are no longer really following his lead. In fact, they’re becoming more convinced that climate change is human-caused and worrisome, even though he continues to downplay it. So in this case, the political elite cues effect doesn’t seem to be working.”

So if voters aren’t racing to back Trump’s environmental views, what are they latching on to?

It turns out a policy from none other than freshman Democratic Congressman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez known as the “Green New Deal,” which enjoys support from 92 percent of Democrats and a surprising 64 percent of Republicans — a sign the severity of climate change might be just enough to defy America’s notoriously rigid partisan ideologies.

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