With headlines featuring climate change, its causes, and President Obama’s potential executive order, Resonate analyzed survey responses from over 2,400 voters to understand the voting public’s perception of the issue and how their beliefs impact their voting decisions.
The data shows that 64% believe that human interaction plays a hand in climate change. Not surprisingly, this is a position occupied primarily by democratic voters. Conversely, just 14% of voters, who are more likely to vote republican, consider this to be an issue of mainly natural causes. Twenty-two percent of voters, who are also more likely to vote republican, are either unsure of the reasons or do not believe climate change is even happening.
Resonate dug deeper to understand how the widely held belief of human interaction on climate change affects voting behavior. Does a candidate’s platform on environmental issues influence their support?
The short answer is no. Among voters who fault humans on some level for changes in climate, 56% identify healthcare policy as a chief platform issue while 50% and 41% cite job creation and entitlement policy respectively.
While climate change may not need to be front and center of a candidate’s platform, that doesn’t mean it’s an issue campaigns should ignore. Environmental concern is a pivotal public policy issue position for this group of voters. Thirty-one percent say developing and exploring alternative energy sources ranks highest among policy issues – beating out social concerns like gender/race equality (30%), online privacy (27%), gay/lesbian rights (27%), and gun control (26%).
In other words, environmental issues are woven throughout the various decisions that voters make on Election Day. Campaigns that want to engage these voters need to connect the macro platform issues such as healthcare and job creation to the micro policy issues such as alternative energy sources. Appealing to a constituent’s passive causes may ultimately impact their greater choice.