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Poll Finds Political Affiliations Shape Opinions on Climate Change

Climatologists say raging wildfires in the Amazon rainforest and in other parts of the world are attributable to global warming. (IAH/AdobeStock)
Climatologists say raging wildfires in the Amazon rainforest and in other parts of the world are attributable to global warming. (IAH/AdobeStock)
September 10, 2019

SALT LAKE CITY — Category 5 hurricanes lashing the Atlantic Ocean and the massive fires still raging in the Amazon rain forest are stark reminders about the changing climate, but a new poll shows party affiliation plays a large role in whether Utahans and other Americans think climate change is an urgent crisis.

Polling analyst Mary Snow with Quinnipiac University said 56% of registered voters nationwide believe climate change is an emergency, and 67% think the U.S. should be doing more to address the issue.

"Not everyone, though, is feeling the sense of urgency,” Snow said. “Democrats, 84% say it's an emergency; independents, 63%. But 81% of Republicans say it's not an emergency."

Snow said almost three-quarters of young people ages 18-34 told pollsters they believe climate change is an emergency. While the Trump administration has rolled back regulations aimed at curbing global warming, five Democratic presidential candidates have announced plans to spend trillions of dollars to fight climate change.

The poll also asked Americans about gun laws and mass shootings. Snow said almost three-quarters of U.S. voters think Congress should do more to reduce gun violence, including 93% of Democrats, three-quarters of independents and 50% of Republicans.

"In terms of how people feel about gun laws, 60% say they support stricter gun laws,” she said. “Sixty percent, the exact same number, say they support a ban on assault weapons."

The poll also asked about race relations, with results showing that a majority of voters believe the level of hatred and prejudice in the United States has increased since the 2016 election. Poll respondents said Muslims, Hispanics and Latinos experience the most prejudice, followed by African-Americans.

Mark Richardson, Public News Service - UT