Climate Change Still is Key Topic for Floridians in Era of Coronavirus

By paul owers | 6/25/2020

The coronavirus crisis has not altered Floridians’ belief in climate change, according to the third Florida Climate Resilience Survey by the Florida Atlantic University Center for Environmental Studies and the Business and Economics Polling Initiative (CES-BEPI).

The quarterly statewide survey shows that 89 percent of respondents believe climate change is happening, up from 86 percent in January and 88 percent in October 2019. The latest CES-BEPI survey polled 1,319 Floridians from April 1-13 and from May 4-10, when many of the state’s residents were under stay-at-home orders due to the pandemic.

“Almost overnight, the coronavirus dramatically transformed American life, but it’s encouraging to see that climate change remained a hot button issue for Floridians despite the public health crisis that shifted everyone’s priorities,” said Colin Polsky, Ph.D., director of the FAU Center for Environmental Studies, and lead author of the study.

Floridians’ belief in climate change was considerably higher than a record-tying level of support Americans have for the problem of global warming. In an April survey by Yale and George Mason universities, 73 percent of respondents agreed that global warming is occurring. 

Meanwhile, 55 percent of Floridians say that humans are causing climate change, a level consistent with the two previous CES-BEPI surveys.

The latest poll also showed that Floridians remain unimpressed with the state government’s response to climate change, with 29 percent of respondents believing the government is doing enough to combat the issue. This is lower than the 33 percent from the January survey and similar to October’s 28 percent.

While Democrats in the Sunshine State still appear to believe in climate change more than their Republican counterparts (89 percent versus 86 percent), the issue is gaining ground among Republicans. In the latest poll, the Republican percentage was higher than it was in January (81 percent) and October (83 percent).   

“Because Florida is a political bellwether state, this solidifying of public opinion among Florida Republicans about the reality of climate change may signal a similar change in coming years for the GOP across the nation,” Polsky said.

CES is part of FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Science, while BEPI is in FAU’s College of Business.

The data was collected using an online panel provided by Dynata. The margin of error was +/- 2.7 percent. Responses for the entire sample were weighted to adjust for age, race, income, education and region, according to recent U.S. Bureau of the Census data. It is important to remember that subsets carry with them higher margins of error because the sample size is reduced. For more information, survey results and full cross-tabulations, visit or contact Polsky at