Clean energy journalism for a cooler tomorrow

Chart: Americans actually agree on supporting solar and wind power

But polling data shows a big partisan divide and age gap on the question of whether climate change is a serious problem.
By Eric Wesoff, Dan McCarthy

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Canary Media’s chart of the week translates crucial data about the clean energy transition into a visual format.

It’s hard to get Americans to agree on anything these days, but the country does appear to be largely aligned on at least one thing: Two-thirds of American adults want the government to encourage production of solar and wind power, according to the Pew Research Center.

The polling organization published a collection of recent survey findings from more than 10,000 respondents as part of an effort to understand how people feel about climate change and energy issues. 

While the survey shows strong backing for government support of solar and wind, a deeper look at the numbers on a range of climate-related topics reveals that we are still a nation deeply divided by our political affiliations. 

Nine in 10 Democratic-leaning folks support the U.S. taking steps to become carbon-neutral by 2050, but only 44 percent of Republican-leaning folks support this goal. 

And 78 percent of Democrats describe climate change as a major threat to the country’s well-being, but only 23 percent of Republicans do. That gap has widened over the last decade; the GOP figure was almost the same in 2013, but the Democratic figure was 58 percent that year, 20 points lower than today. 

The polling data also reveals age gaps. Younger Americans are more open to phasing out fossil fuels entirely, and younger Republicans are much more likely than older Republicans to see climate change as a serious problem.

Eric Wesoff is editorial director at Canary Media.

Dan McCarthy is news editor at Canary Media.