Voters Want Economy Prioritized Over Climate Change

In a national poll on climate change than two-thirds of Republicans believe that the economy should be prioritized over efforts to address climate change. 

This poll aimed to gauge public opinion by asking whether they agreed more with the statement that climate change should be prioritized even if it risks slowing down economic growth or if economic growth should be prioritized even if it means neglecting climate change.

The results of the poll were as follows:

  • Eighty percent of Democrats and roughly 20 percent of Republicans agreed with prioritizing climate change over the economy.
  • Among all adults, 53 percent felt climate change should take precedence, while 44 percent favored the economy. Another 3 percent were unsure.
  • Among Democrats specifically, 80% favored climate change, 18 percent the economy, and 2 percent were unsure.
  • Among Republicans, 23 percent prioritized climate change, 72 percent the economy, and 5 percent were uncertain.
  • Among independents, 54 percent chose climate change, 44 percent the economy, and 2 percent were unsure.

Comparing these poll results to 2018, there has been a shift. At that time, 58 percent of adults prioritized climate change, and 34 percent the economy.

The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion director, Lee M. Miringoff, commented on the poll saying that despite a stream of extreme weather news stories printed almost daily, Americans increasingly feel that climate change is becoming more partisan politics.

“However, he also noted that the majority are still concerned, particularly about the impacts of climate change on their local communities.

Within the Republican party, there’s a notable difference between women and younger adults versus men and older adults concerning the government’s role in environmental issues.

Republican women are more critical of the government’s efforts to address environmental concerns than their male counterparts. For instance, 51 percent of Republican women feel that the government is not doing enough to protect water quality, compared to only 39 percent of Republican men. 

Similar gaps are observed in views related to air quality protection, where 47 percent of women believe the government is falling short, compared to 32 percent of men. This trend extends to other environmental areas surveyed, with women consistently more likely to feel that the government’s efforts are insufficient.

Regarding age differences among Republicans, younger generations, particularly Millennials, are more likely to criticize the government’s environmental protection efforts than older generations like Baby Boomers. 

For example, 53 percent of Millennial and younger Republicans think the government is not doing enough to protect air quality. In comparison, only 30 percent of Baby Boomers and older Republicans share this view.

Interestingly, among Democrats, these disparities in views on environmental issues by generation or gender are virtually nonexistent.