Climate Change

Climate Change

Support is Changing

Over the past two years, FAU’s Center for Environmental Studies and Business & Economics Polling Initiative conducted a series of surveys about climate change, which found it has become an increasingly bipartisan issue in Florida.

Even though Florida Democrats register a higher belief rate (96 percent) than do residents affiliated with the GOP (88 percent), the latter group’s share appears more than sufficient for Republican lawmakers to feel that openly acknowledging the science of climate change will not erode their popular support. Party affiliation is, however, linked with differences of opinion about the cause of climate change. About half of Florida Republicans, compared to three-fourths of Florida Democrats, believe climate change is largely a human-caused issue.

“This sequence of results begins to paint a picture of Floridians’ attitudes during a period of particularly dynamic political, economic and environmental conditions,” said Colin Polsky, Ph.D., director of FAU’s Center for Environmental Studies, and professor of geosciences in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. “During the period of these five surveys, public opinion about climate change was likely shaped negatively by the Trump Administration’s 2017 decision to retract the U.S. from the United Nations 2015 Paris Climate Accord.”

The importance of climate change for the public was likely diminished in response to new, immediate daily concerns associated with the coronavirus pandemic and economic crises it triggered, Polsky said.

As such, these Florida opinion survey results about climate change can be viewed as reflecting public sentiment of at least two significant external and independent influences on public opinion, he said.

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