Democrats, GOP Have Little Faith Governments Will Combat Climate Change

Poll shows respondents diverge over whether climate change will impact business growth
Demonstrators in Chicago on June 2, 2017, protest President Donald Trump's decision to exit the Paris climate change accord. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
July 10, 2018 at 6:40 pm UTC

Key Takeaways

  • 63% of Democratic respondents and 59% of GOP respondents say they have little to no trust in governments to act on climate-related issues.

  • 40% of Republicans said climate change will not impact businesses’ ability to grow, compared to 11% of Democrats.

Despite differing over the impacts of climate change, Democrats and Republicans are in agreement on one thing: They don't place much trust in governments to tackle the issue.

According to a new Bloomberg Global Business Forum survey conducted by Morning Consult, 63 percent of Democrats and 59 percent of Republicans say they have little or no trust in governments to combat climate change.

The poll, which surveyed a national sample of 2,202 U.S. adults from June 22-24, also found that adults register less doubt about businesses, with 52 percent of Democrats and 41 percent of Republicans holding little or no trust in a corporate response to climate change. The poll’s margin of error is 2 percentage points.  

The political divide between respondents is more apparent over whether climate change will have any impact on businesses, with 40 percent of Republicans saying climate change will not impact businesses’ ability to grow, compared to 11 percent of Democrats who said the same.

Overall, a plurality of adults say that governments are most responsible for combating climate change (22 percent of all respondents), closely followed by individuals (20 percent). Twenty-five percent said they didn’t know or had no opinion, and 10 percent selected businesses as most responsible to address climate change.

But opinions over who holds the primary responsibility to address climate change vary by party affiliation, with 24 percent of Republicans and 23 percent of independents saying individual people are most responsible to address climate change, compared to 14 percent of Democrats. Among Democrats, 31 percent held governments as most responsible to act on the issue.

Less than half of adults (44 percent) think that tackling global warming, rising seas and more extreme weather is ultimately a net positive for the economy, according to the poll. A majority of Democrats (55 percent) think it benefits the economy, compared to 44 percent of independents and 31 percent of Republicans.

Despite their shared doubt in governments’ ability to handle climate change, the respondents split along party lines over concern about climate change in the first place. An April 26-May 1 Morning Consult/Politico poll of 1,991 registered U.S. voters found that 87 percent of Democrats were concerned about climate change, compared to 47 percent of Republicans. The poll had a margin of error of 2 percentage points.

Jacqueline Toth previously worked at Morning Consult as a reporter covering energy and climate change.

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