Chart: Most US voters prefer candidates who care about climate change

A recent survey found that nearly 60% of registered voters prefer political candidates who will take action on climate change — including more than a quarter of Republicans.

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

Fifty-eight percent of voters in the U.S. would prefer to vote for political candidates who support action to combat climate change, and only 17% want candidates who oppose action, according to polling conducted in April and May of this year.

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A survey by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication asked more than 900 registered U.S. voters this question: 

If given a choice, would you prefer to vote for a candidate for public office who supports action on global warming or one who opposes action on global warming? 

The partisan gap in responses was wide: 87% of Democrats and 55% of independents said they want candidates who back climate action, while only 29% of Republicans did. Still, in today’s hyperpolarized political environment, it’s interesting that nearly a third of GOP voters said they would lean toward a climate-conscious candidate. 

The climate crisis is not a top priority for voters overall, however, according to the poll. It asked respondents about 29 issues, and climate change ranked 24th among the issues people said would be very important” to their votes in the 2022 U.S. Congress elections. Again, there was a large partisan gap: 63% of Democrats said global warming would be very important, but only 12% of Republicans expressed the same view. 

One issue that did garner broader support is the deployment of clean energy. The poll found that 81% of registered voters support generating renewable energy (solar and wind) on public land, including 96% of Democrats and 65% of Republicans. These numbers are consistent with other polling results we shared in a chart of the week that found sky-high bipartisan support for solar and wind power.

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Maria Virginia Olano is editorial and research associate at Canary Media.