With less than a month until Election Day, roughly half of registered voters say climate change is either “very important” or “one of the most important issues” in their vote for Congress, according to a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll.
As Republicans work to wrest control of the House and Senate from Democrats, the results are divided along party lines. Among adults, roughly 8 in 10 Democrats (79 percent) say climate change is at least very important in their vote, compared with 46 percent of independents and 27 percent of Republicans.
Similar shares of voters of all ages say global warming is a priority at the ballot box. That’s a change from previous polls that have shown younger Americans worry more about Earth’s rapid warming, which is more likely to affect them in the form of raging wildfires, rising seas and stronger storms.
Other main findings include:
- Consistent with previous polls, Black Americans (69 percent) and Hispanic Americans (58 percent) are more likely to say climate change is important in their vote than White Americans (46 percent). Those findings come as research shows that communities of color are disproportionately exposed to dirty air, tainted water and other environmental hazards.
- Overall, climate change ranked below the six other issues tested in the poll, including the economy, abortion, crime and immigration. While 51 percent of registered voters say climate change is important in their vote, that compares with 85 percent who say the economy is important.
- The gap is smaller when it comes to the highest category of importance. Roughly 14 percent of registered voters say climate change is “one of the most important issues” in their vote, below the economy (27 percent) and abortion (22 percent) but similar to immigration (14 percent) and crime (13 percent).
The poll also surveyed Americans on which party they trust more to handle pressing issues facing the nation.
- Democrats had a 21-point advantage on trust to handle climate change, their largest lead on any issue tested.
- Still, that is smaller than in 2018, when voters trusted Democrats by a 32-point margin to handle the issue during a strong Democratic year.
Richard Walker, 38, a software engineer and registered independent in Annapolis, Md., was one of several poll respondents who said they trust Democrats more to tackle climate change. In an interview, he noted that many GOP candidates deny both the scientific consensus on global warming and the outcome of the last presidential election.
“It is the single most important issue facing all of life on the planet,” Walker said. “And Republicans are standing there saying that climate change is not real and that the election was stolen.”
Alex Montiel, 43, another independent who works on a cattle ranch southeast of Dallas, said he trusts Democrats more to address the climate-change-fueled drought that has parched Texas for more than a year, putting pressure on his herds. “There are periods of droughts in which our lakes and ponds dry up quite considerably, sometimes to the point of purchasing water from the municipalities here to water our livestock,” he said.