EPC Resource Library / Weekly Roundups

Environmental Polling Roundup – May 10, 2024





The vast majority of Americans recognize the reality of climate change, and most say that human activities are contributing equally or more than natural causes. Around three-quarters of Americans (73%) agree that the world’s climate “is undergoing a change that is causing more extreme weather patterns and the rise of sea levels”, which is consistent with the last time that Monmouth asked this question in 2021 (76%).

When asked what’s causing this change, Americans are much more likely to attribute it primarily to human activity (34%) than to natural changes in the environment (7%). An additional 31% say that human activities and natural changes are contributing “equally” to the phenomenon.

Democrats and Republicans disagree more on what’s causing climate change than the fact that it’s happening. Around half of self-identified Republicans (51%) recognize that the world’s climate is changing, but only 37% say that human activity is as much or more responsible for this than natural patterns. Further, just 10% of Republicans say that human activity is the primary cause of climate change.

Democrats, meanwhile, almost universally agree that climate change is happening (92%) and that human activity is contributing as much or more than natural changes in the environment (88%).

Despite partisan differences, Americans widely agree that climate change is a serious problem that the government needs to do more to address. Around two-thirds of Americans (66%) say that climate change is either a “very” or “somewhat” serious problem, including roughly nine in ten Democrats (89%) and four in ten Republicans (39%). 

The percentage of Americans who label climate change as a “very serious” problem (46%) is lower than the last time that Monmouth University asked this question in September 2021 (56%), though the shift is probably more reflective of seasonal patterns than any long-term trend. Americans’ climate concerns tend to peak around September as they experience hotter temperatures: Yale and George Mason, for example, found that the percentage of Americans who said that they had personally experienced global warming jumped by ten points between March 2021 (42%) and September 2021 (52%) and then reverted back to 43% by April 2022.

And when it comes to the government’s response to climate change, Monmouth finds that Americans are far more likely to support (59%) than oppose (36%) the U.S. government “doing more to reduce the type of activities that cause climate change and sea level rise.”

Around half of voters have been hearing about the IRA. Just over half of voters (52%) say that they’ve heard either “some” (35%) or “a lot” (17%) about the Inflation Reduction Act.

Despite low awareness, voters are more familiar with the IRA than with President Biden’s other major legislative accomplishments. More voters say that they have heard at least “some” about the IRA (52%) than about the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) / Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (46%), American Rescue Plan Act (41%), or CHIPS and Science Act (32%).

While there is clearly room for Biden to increase awareness about all of these accomplishments, the administration’s efforts to promote the IRA appear to be getting through more than its messaging on his other major legislation.

Voters believe that the IRA has been most impactful in creating manufacturing jobs, boosting clean energy, and lowering prescription drug costs. Around half of voters say that the Inflation Reduction Act has been at least “somewhat” effective at creating U.S. manufacturing jobs (53%), lowering prescription drug costs (51%), and increasing domestic production of clean energy (49%).

Relatively fewer say that the IRA has been effective at combating climate change (44%), stimulating private investment in their state (40%), or lowering inflation (37%).

On balance, voters don’t feel that the IRA has made them any better or worse off personally. Voters are about equally likely to say that the IRA has impacted them positively (23%) as to say that it has impacted them negatively (21%), while 45% say that the law has had either a mixed impact (23%) or no impact at all on them (22%).

These attitudes are sharply driven by partisanship, with Democrats most likely to say that the law has had a positive effect on them (37%) and Republicans most likely to say that the law has had a negative effect on them (33%).

Voters would much rather see President Biden do more on climate change than less. Voters are more than twice as likely to say that Biden is “not doing enough” to address climate change (39%) than to say that he is doing “too much” on the issue (18%).

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