UT/TT Poll: It’s a Highly Partisan Issue but Texans Say Climate Change Is Happening

By Ross Ramsey, The Texas Tribune | November 7, 2019

Two-thirds of Texas registered voters believe climate change is happening, but their urgency about it varies considerably, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

Less than a quarter of voters — 23% — say climate change is not happening, and another 12% say they aren’t sure. The partisan splits are big. Among registered voters who identify themselves as Democrats, 88% say climate change is happening, a view shared by 74% of independents and 44% of Republicans. Another 42% of Republican voters don’t think climate change is happening.

UT/TT POLL

Do you think climate change is happening?

All
Yes 66%
No 23%
Not sure 12%
Democrats
Yes 88%
No 3%
Not sure 8%
Republicans
Yes 44%
No 42%
Not sure 14%
Independents
Yes 74%
No 16%
Not sure 10%

Numbers may not add up to 100 due to rounding. Margin of error = ± 2.83 percentage points. Source: University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll, October 2019; Credit: Stephanie Adeline

Among those who believe climate change is underway, 72% say they are “very worried” (34%) or “somewhat worried” (34%), while 28% say either they are “not very worried” or “not at all worried” about it. Among the Democrats in that group, 89% are very or somewhat worried. Among the Republicans who believe climate change is happening, 48% say they’re worried. And 68% of independents say they’re worried about climate change.

Overall, 47% say the federal government should be doing “a great deal” or “a lot” about climate change, while 31% say government should do “a little” or “nothing.” Another 16% took the middle road, saying government should do “a moderate amount.” The partisan lines are evident here: 79% of Democrats, 41% of independents and 18% of Republicans say the government should be doing a great deal or a lot about climate change. On the other hand, 8% of Democrats, 23% of independents and 55% of Republicans say the federal government should be doing a little or nothing about it.

UT/TT POLL

How much should government be doing about climate change?

All
A great deal/A lot 47%
A moderate amount 16%
A little/Nothing 31%
Don’t know 6%
Democrats
A great deal/A lot 79%
A moderate amount 9%
A little/Nothing 8%
Don’t know 4%
Republicans
A great deal/A lot 18%
A moderate amount 20%
A little/Nothing 55%
Don’t know 7%
Independents
A great deal/A lot 41%
A moderate amount 21%
A little/Nothing 23%
Don’t know 15%

Numbers may not add up to 100 due to rounding. Margin of error = ± 2.83 percentage points. Source: University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll, October 2019; Credit: Stephanie Adelin

The numbers point to a wedge issue that has the parties on opposite sides in a way that could separate voters into camps, particularly on the question of government action.

“The only thing I see here is a way for Democrats to target Republicans,” said poll co-director Daron Shaw, a government professor at the University of Texas at Austin. “And it might be a way for Republicans to target older Democrats.”

Sixty percent of Texas voters under age 29 favor a great deal or a lot of government action, as do 55% of those between 30 and 44 years of age. But among voters 45 and older, only about two in five strongly favor government action.

The University of Texas/Texas Tribune internet survey of 1,200 registered voters was conducted from Oct. 18-27 and has an overall margin of error of +/- 2.83 percentage points, and an overall margin of error of +/- 4.11 percentage points on the question about worry over climate change. Numbers in charts might not add up to 100% because of rounding.

“Texans say climate change is happening, but it’s a highly partisan issue, UT/TT Poll finds” was first published by The Texas Tribune: https://www.texastribune.org/2019/11/06/texans-say-climate-change-happening-highly-partisan-issue-uttt-poll/

The Texas Tribune is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

Disclosure: The University of Texas at Austin has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism.

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