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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

In photos: Protesters rally for George Floyd ahead of Derek Chauvin's trial

Chaz Neal, a Redwing community activist, outside the Minnesota Governor's residence during a protest in support of George Floyd in St.Paul, Minnesota, on March 6. Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

Dozens of protesters were rallying outside the Minnesota governor's mansion in St Paul Saturday, urging justice for George Floyd ahead of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's trial over the 46-year-old's death.

The big picture: Chauvin faces charges for second-degree murder and manslaughter over Floyd's death last May, which ignited massive nationwide and global protests against racism and for police reform. His trial is due to start this Monday, with jury selection procedures.

Biden says $1,400 stimulus payments can start going out this month

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

President Biden said Saturday that the Senate passage of his $1.9 trillion COVID relief package means the $1,400 direct payments for most Americans can begin going out later this month.

Driving the news: The Senate voted 50-49 Saturday to approve the sweeping legislation. The House is expected to pass the Senate's version of the bill next week before it heads to Biden's desk for his signature.