Earth & Conservation

Half of Trump Voters Agree Global Warming Is Happening

More than two-thirds of them support funding for research into new renewable energy technologies and think the United States should develop greater sources of clean energy generation.

President Trump has cast doubts about global warming, once calling it a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese in order to destroy the US economy, and has appointed climate change deniers to his Cabinet. He's also championed the nation's ailing coal industry and expressed skepticism about domestic renewable energy production.

The majority of his supporters feel differently, according to data from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.

Researchers found that about half of Trump supporters agree that global warming is happening, while about one-third firmly deny it.

Anthony Leiserowitz, director of YPCCC, wasn't entirely surprised by the results. But he didn't expect so many Trump voters to agree with the scientific consensus around global warming.

"Trump was able to put together a somewhat different voting bloc, including some working class whites who may have voted for Democratic candidates in past elections," Leiserowitz said. "So we didn't expect them to all disbelieve in climate change, for example. But it is surprising to see how many Trump voters think it's happening and support clean energy policies."

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The organization surveyed 1,226 American adults, 401 of whom voted for Trump. Their demographics varied by race, gender, income and geographic location.

Results from the survey, released Monday, were consistent with a May 2016 YPCCC poll, which found that the majority of supporters for Trump, Democratic Party presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders and Republican Party candidate John Kasich said they agree that global warming is happening.

A notable exception were supporters of GOP candidate Ted Cruz. Only 38 percent of Cruz backers said they thought global warming was occurring.

Sixty-two percent of Trump supporters said they agree with taxing and regulating carbon-intensive industries. Over half said they support eliminating federal fossil fuel subsidies. But 72 percent of them said they support more fossil fuel production on public lands.

On the clean energy front, 71 percent were in support of funding more research into renewable energy and 73 percent thought the United States should have more renewable energy in the future, including solar, wind and geothermal.

Trump has also called for pulling the United States out of the Paris climate pact. But nearly half of his supporters said the U.S. should remain in the agreement, which commits 194 countries to transitioning their economies away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy production.

"If Trump and his campaign strategists are smart, they'll pay attention to what their voters want, on climate change and other issues," Leiserowitz said. "Otherwise they risk losing some of them in the next election. As we know, his margin of victory was very thin - he can't afford to lose many of his supporters."

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