As environmental organizations denounce climate change’s near total absence from the second presidential debate, a new analysis highlights the starkly differing attitudes backers of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump hold on the issue.
Released by the Pew Research Center and based on surveys conducted May 10-June 6 and Aug. 16-Sept. 12, the breakdown of the views covers whether the supporters care about climate change, if they believe it is caused by human activity, whether specific policy actions—such as restrictions on power plant emissions—will help address climate change impacts, and whether they think climate scientists understand causes of climate change.
The contrasts, Pew states, “mirror a deep divide between Democrats and Republicans.”
For example, while 56 percent of Clinton supporters care “a great deal” about climate change, only 15 percent of Trump supporters feel that way. None of the Democratic nominee’s supporters said they care “not at all” about the issue, but 18 percent of the Republican nominee’s supporters feel that way.
Looking at whether human activity is responsible for climate change shows another deep divide. Seventy percent of Clinton supporters say it’s the cause compared to 22 percent of Trump supporters.
The graphs below highlight the other varying responses:
But the topic—”the issue on which future civilization hinges,” as Erik Wemple writes at the Washington Post—was “all but ignored” during Sunday night’s square-off between Trump and Clinton.
The presidential hopefuls were not asked the very direct “As president, what are the steps you will take to address climate change?” even though, as Wemple points out, that was the fourth most popular question submitted to the bipartisan Open Debate Coalition—and despite the fact that the debate took place as deadly Hurricane Matthew brings record flooding to the southeast, and as the planet has just experienced a 16-month stretch of record warm temperatures.
Rather, they were asked by “uncommitted voter” Ken Bone: “What steps will your energy policy take to meet our energy needs while at the same time remaining environmentally friendly and minimizing job loss for fossil power plant workers?”
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