The Truth About Republicans and Climate Change
The new crop of Congressional Republicans seem united in their resistance to climate solutions – but the same isn’t true of Republican voters. A new study from the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication found large variations in opinion among the GOP electorate. A majority of moderate and liberal Republicans believe climate change is happening, and half of all Republicans say they support regulating carbon emissions.
While conservative (and especially Tea Party) Republicans are less likely to support carbon regulations, many expressed strong support for climate solutions. 63 percent of conservatives and nearly half of Tea Party members said they would back tax rebates for solar panels or energy-efficient vehicles.
As this research reminds us, it’s a mistake to assume that all Republicans (or members of any group) feel the same way about any issue. Humans are complex beings, and we all have our own worldviews and core values. Support for a particular solution often depends on whether that solution aligns with our values – so someone with a firm belief in individual freedom may reject the idea of government regulation, but be strongly in favor of energy independence. A good example of that is happening right now in Florida, where Tea Partyers are rallying behind a ballot initiative that would allow property owners to generate and sell solar power.
Rather than framing climate issues in partisan terms, we need to shift the message so it appeals to other values and identities held by our audience. And we need to encourage them to put those values into practice, both in their daily lives and at the ballot box.
For more tips on making your climate message resonate, download our new report, Connecting on Climate: A Guide to Effective Climate Change Communication.
The new Republican leaders in Congress have pledged to roll back the EPA’s proposed new regulations on coal-fired power plants – a key component of President Obama’s strategy to reduce global warming.
However, Republican voters are actually split in their views about climate change. A look at public opinion among Republicans over the past few years finds a more complex – and divided – Republican electorate.
For this study, we combined the results from six of our nationally-representative surveys over the past three years, which provided enough data for an in-depth analysis of the diversity of views about global warming within the Republican party.