Jul 22, 2019

Poll: Early state Democratic voters care about climate change

Protestors in favor of climate change legislation. Photo: Ronen Tivony/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

New CBS News polling of 18,550 registered voters shows that 78% of Democratic voters in 18 early primary and caucus states view climate change as "very important" in the 2020 election.

Why it matters: The findings underscore how the topic is playing a prominent role early in the 2020 contest.

  • Climate ranks second to health care, which 88% of respondents call "very important" in the survey released Sunday.
  • That puts climate ahead of income inequality (at 71% for 3rd).
  • The difference is outside the plus-or-minus 1.5% margin of error in the poll, , which was conducted July 9–18, of 8,760 registered Democratic and Democratic-leaning Independents.

Where it stands: The views on climate change vary from state to state, and the individual state data is less robust. But with that throat-clearing...

  • In Iowa, site of the first contest, 75% of these voters called climate very important, behind health care at 89% and ahead of "jobs and wages" at 68%. The margin of error for this subset is 4.4%.
  • In New Hampshire, where the primary comes after the Iowa caucuses, climate was again in 2nd among topics with 81% calling it very important, compared to 88% for health care. The error margin for the New Hampshire sample is 5%.

Go deeper

Climate change arrives in Democratic politics

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Global warming has burst into national politics as major Democratic 2020 hopefuls release aggressive plans and the party's voters prioritize the topic.

Where it stands: Several polls show climate change has broken through. This month, a CBS News survey found 78% of Democratic voters in early primary states call the topic "very important," putting it behind only health care.

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TV news' climate change bias

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

While newspapers are teaming up to double down on their climate change coverage, broadcasters are focusing on covering the byproducts of climate change — natural disasters and extreme weather.

Why it matters: Climate change tends to be a ratings killer for television, because it can be abstract and complicated to explain in short, visual bites. But as the economic and political debate around the topic increases, media experts will be looking at the ways television outlets cover the issue, as television is still the most common place for Americans to get their news.

Go deeperArrowJul 27, 2019

Climate change's crucial moment

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Scientists for decades have warned of the time when climate change would begin to change our daily lives. We're now entering that moment.

The big picture: The Fed, corporate executives, college students, retailers and politicians are all coming to grips with this seminal challenge. We as a species are now living with this problem like never before.

Go deeperArrowJul 27, 2019