Swing voters in 3 of America’s top battleground states discussed what was on their mind when it comes to climate and energy via focus groups: They want President Trump to do more on climate change, think the weather is getting weirder, and don’t know much about the Green New Deal.
Why it matters: It’s voters like these who have an important role electing America’s presidents. So it's worth listening to them.
Details: I watched the focus groups of swing voters, roughly a dozen each in Wisconsin, Ohio and Iowa, who answered questions about political topics, including climate and energy.
- The focus groups were conducted by the nonpartisan research firms Engagious and Focus Pointe Global.
- For the participants: Across the last 2 presidential cycles, roughly half voted for Republican Mitt Romney in 2012 and then flipped to Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016. The other half went for Democrat Barack Obama in 2012 and Republican Donald Trump in 2016. The Iowa focus group had only Obama-Trump voters.
Some of the key takeaways when it comes to climate and energy are...
1. Current administration: There was widespread agreement with the statement that Trump should do more on clean energy innovation to reduce carbon emissions.
- On a scale of zero to 10 (zero being don't agree at all and 10 being strongly agree), most voters ranked this around a 7 or higher.
2. Weather trends: There was general agreement with the statement that the weather is getting weirder, and some connected it to climate change.
- On the 1–10 scale of agreeability, most voters ranked this a 6 or higher.
3. GND and other policies: The vast majority of these voters don’t know much about the GND, a sweeping proposal calling for drastic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions alongside broader economic goals, like federal jobs guarantees and universal health care.
- Voters were also mixed about whether they would support relatively small increases in electricity costs to address climate change.
The bottom line: Energy and climate change seem to be rising in the minds of America’s swing voters, but the extent of concern appears less intense than many might otherwise assume if you just watch Twitter or cable news.
Go deeper: See comments and interviews from the voters by reading my whole column.