Pew: Republicans and Democrats Split over Climate Change Fears

Beth Phuxster of Denver, Colorado, dressed as Mother Nature, holds a sign while participating in the People's Climate March during a spring snow storm in Denver, Colorado on April 29, 2017. (Photo by Jason Connolly / AFP) (Photo credit should read JASON CONNOLLY/AFP/Getty Images)
JASON CONNOLLY/AFP/Getty Images

A substantial majority of Democrats are “very worried” about climate change, while only a small percentage of Republicans say the same, the Pew Research Center revealed this week.

In a new report released March 21, Pew found that partisan differences are pronounced on issues related to the environment. While 41 percent of Americans say they are “very worried” about climate change, the figure jumps to 61 percent of Democrats, whereas only 15 percent of Republicans are “very worried” about the climate.

This means “Democrats are about four times likely as Republicans to say they are very worried about climate change,” the Pew report declared.

When asked about the future condition of the environment overall, well over half (59 percent) of Americans say the condition of the environment will be worse in 2050 than it is now, while a mere 16 percent say it will get better, and 25 percent say it will stay roughly the same.

Broken into partisan camps, more than two-thirds of Democrats (70 percent) say the environment will be worse by 2050. Fewer than half (43 percent) of Republicans say the same.

The different viewpoints Republicans and Democrats hold about climate change is reflected in their respective public policy priorities.

Dealing with climate change is the second highest priority for Democrats, with 69 percent saying it should be a top priority, though it does not even appear on the GOP’s list of top five priorities.

Conversely, Republicans’ top three priorities – reducing the number of illegal immigrants (65 percent), cutting the national debt (57 percent), and avoiding tax increases (50 percent) – do not appear among the Democrats’ highest five priorities.

Along with the striking partisan divide, Pew also found a significant division based on age. The older one gets, Pew found, the less worried one is about climate change.

Fifty-two percent of young adults between the ages of 18 to 29 are very worried about climate change, but the figure drops to 41 percent of those aged 30 to 49, and to 37 percent of those aged 50 and older.

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