The Republican Party is not known for taking action on climate change, or even for acknowledging its existence. Republican voters across the country evidently do not feel the same way.
A recently released national survey conducted by the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication and the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication shows that a majority of Republican and Republican-leaning voters believe that climate change is happening — and that 77 percent of respondents believe the U.S. should transition to clean energy sources.
Here are some of the key results from the study:
1. Republicans Support Action on Clean Energy
Seventy-seven percent of respondents support using much more (51 percent) or somewhat more (26 percent) clean energy than the U.S. does today. Of those polled, 69 percent responded that we should take action “immediately.”
2. Republican Leaders Aren’t Listening to Voters
Only a third of the respondents in the polll agreed with the Republican Party’s stance on climate change and only a half agree with the Party's position on energy. In addition, only 20 percent of those polled believe they can have any influence over elected officials’ positions on climate change.
3. The Benefits of Clean Energy Outweigh the Costs
A majority of respondents said they believe reducing fossil fuel use will benefit the U.S. in many ways, from helping to free us from our dependence on foreign oil (66 percent) to saving resources for our children and grandchildren to use (57 percent) to providing a better life for our children and grandchildren (56 percent). None of the potential costs associated with taking action were seen as being likely by a majority of respondents.
The new evidence of popular Republican support for action on climate change comes as many prominent Republicans continue to deny climate change's existence. Other Party leaders are pressing Obama to roll back EPA regulations issued during the President’s first term. The evidence is now mounting that Republican elected leaders are out of touch with their own constituents on the topic of climate change. And with the debate over the Keystone XL pipeline dividing Washington, it’s unlikely elected Republicans will quickly embrace a transition away from fossil fuels.
Disagreement between voters and officials is not new to the Republican Party, but perhaps it will take some public pressure to sway elected leaders minds’. After all, we’re finally seeing progress with big corporations and banks addressing climate change, perhaps elected leaders will “evolve” as well.
This blog was originally published on the Mosaic blog and was republished with permission.
Lead image: Breaking balance via Shutterstock
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