Washington D.C. – Today, a new Economist/YouGov poll found that climate change and the environment ranks as the third “most important issue” by independent voters – a sign that the climate crisis is increasingly permeating into the political debate as a core issue driving voter behavior.
Climate change led the pack along with jobs and the economy and health care as the most critical issues to the independent voters surveyed.
“The politics of climate have changed, and the climate crisis is a top issue for voters,” said Climate Power 2020 Executive Director Lori Lodes. “With hurricanes pounding the Gulf Coast, climate fires consuming the West, and other extreme weather events happening across the country, voters understand that we need bold climate action now.”
Among Democrats and Biden supporters, climate change was second only to health care as the most important issue for voters, according to the Economist/YouGov poll.
Climate change has long been considered to be a politically poignant issue to Democrats, but not something that drives independents or Republican-leaning voters. But ahead of the 2020 elections, increasingly more Republican-leaning voters are indicating that climate change is a top issue for them. An April Yale Program on Climate Change Communication surveyfound that moderate Republicans are 35 percentage points less likely to vote for a candidate opposing action. A March 2020 pollfrom Climate Power 2020 found that critiquing Trump’s record on climate increases Trump’s disapproval among GOP-leaning persuadable voters, and increases motivation to vote by younger voters by 12 percentage points and Hispanic voters by 9 percentage points.
That same March survey found that 62 percent of Republican-leaning persuadable voters disapprove of Trump’s handling of climate and 72 percent think that strong climate action will be good for the economy.
The Economist/YouGov national poll surveyed 1,500 U.S. adults from September 13-15.