President Donald Trump has an uncanny ability to influence public opinion, though it’s mostly led Americans to disagree with him. His approval rating is now submerged below 40%, according to Gallup.
That skill extends even to Republican’s views on climate change. In a Monmouth University poll conducted this November, more Americans said they believe in climate change than three years ago, with the biggest shift in viewpoints coming among Republicans. The survey reached 802 adults by telephone and has a 3.5% margin of error.
A clear consensus on global warming has formed. Monmouth reports that 78% of Americans say that climate change is behind more extreme weather and rising sea levels. That’s up from 70% in December 2015. While there is still some partisan divergence, American public opinion now firmly accepts the reality of climate change.
The share of Republicans who believe in climate change rose the most in the last three years, from 49% in 2015 to 64% in 2017. That accords with data from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, which found the number of Republicans worried about climate change hit an all-time high during the first seven months of Trump’s presidency.
Trump has consistently downplayed or denied the reality of global warming. His public comments have ranged from blaming a conspiracy perpetrated by the Chinese to raising doubts about rising global temperatures when it’s cold outside.
After the release last week of the Fourth National Climate Assessment, a 1,600-page study by 13 US federal agencies predicting trillions of dollars in damages, Trump simply told reporters ”I don’t believe it.“
The real partisan divide is now how serious people view climate change. While 54% of all respondents called climate change a “very serious” problem, the concern is far more intense among Democrats (82% up from 63% in 2015) than among Republicans (25% up from 18%). About half of independents consider climate change “very serious.”
In bipartisan agreement, 69% of Americans support government action to stop climate change, but only 40% are confident the federal government will act to do so.