By Bill DawsonMarch 2016
Texas Climate News

A person who only casually attends to the politics of climate change, especially in Texas, might be surprised that some prominent Republican elected officials do champion strong climate action. But it happens.

This week, for instance, Republican Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland signed a bill, which had bipartisan support in both legislative chambers, that commits the state to reducing climate-warming greenhouse emissions by 40 percent by 2030.

Gallup_EnergyIf recent polling proves to be predictive of shifting public opinion, the Maryland action might foretell more bipartisan initiatives ahead.

Last October, TCN reported that a statewide survey by a nonpartisan Texas group and Republican pollsters’ national survey had turned up indications that Republican voters seemed less opposed to climate action than many Republican politicians.

More recently, additional polls have found evidence that appears to support that idea.

Gallup reported that its annual environment poll of U.S. adults, conducted and published last month, indicated by several measures that “Americans are taking global warming more seriously than at any time in the past eight years,” with 64 percent of all respondents saying they worry “a great deal” or “a fair amount” about global warming.

That was a 9 percent jump from last year and the highest “worry” reading on that question since 2008.

Republicans continued to trail Democrats and independents on all four questions measuring concern about climate change, but their numbers were modestly up on each one, compared to results in the 2015 Gallup poll:

March 2016 poll

An online survey by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute in Florida, conducted in March and released this month, found a slight increase in national concern about climate change (up to 75.1 percent from 73 percent last year). But the pollsters recorded a big jump in the percentage of residents of the Florida peninsula who were “very concerned or somewhat concerned” – to 81.3 percent from 67 percent a year ago.

While the institute did not break down those numbers by party, 81.3 percent would certainly include a large number of Republicans as well as Democrats. About 4.31 million Florida voters are registered as Republicans, about 4.59 million are registered as Democrats, and about 2.88 million as having no party affiliation.

From a university announcement:

There was particularly sharp upward movement in the percentage of those who said they were very concerned, from 28 percent last year to 45.9 percent this year. Meanwhile, other percentage levels shrank. Those who reported they were only somewhat concerned fell to 7.6 percent from 18 percent in 2015, and those who said they were not at all concerned declined this year to 8.3 percent compared to 14 percent last year.


Bill Dawson is the founder and editor of Texas Climate News.

Image credits: Gallup chart and table