Raise your hand if you think talking about climate change is a risky move on the campaign trail in 2018 midterms.
Okay, now put your hands down.
Recent polling makes climate change look more like a wedge issue than a hot potato—especially for younger and Latino voters.
Polling shows that US voters not only understand climate science, but more and more are increasingly worried about it—including hefty shares of moderate Republicans and Independents. Yes, it appears conservative US voters lag behind, but their attitudes are looking more like outliers. There’s also strong bipartisan support for a range of policies to address climate change and voters support a stronger Environmental Protection Agency—even Trump backers.
And climate change is a particular focus for millennial and Latino voters.
A Pew Research Center study confirms that millennial generation voters—ages 22 to 37 this election season—are considerably more liberal than older Americans. What’s more, that group now represents 28 percent of the US adult population. These voters are considerably more likely to support climate action and the Congressional candidates who talk them up. According to Pew: “these young people are poised to have an outsized impact on political races—this year and subsequently.” (See also: Ten US congressional districts where millennial voters could decide who wins this November.)
Pew notes that millennials are more than 40 percent nonwhite—the highest share of any adult generation—while millennials’ parents and grandparents are more like 79 percent white.
Racial demographics in general are a factor in the electoral equation. Latinos are now the largest non-white racial group in America and they’re the second-fastest growing population after Asian Americans. There are 57.5 million Latinos in the US according to the most recent US Census estimates.
“This group is more than large enough to transform the political balance of power in key states and in the country as a whole,” author Steve Philips wrote in an article for The Nation.” Most immediately, Latinos now have the numbers to swing key races that will determine control of the United States Senate.” It’s not inconsequential that all kinds of opinion research—and I mean poll after poll reveals strong environmental values among Latino voters, including support for aggressive action to address global warming.
African American voters’ attitudes on climate change haven’t been measured as fully, and neither have Asian American or Native American attitudes. What’s available tends to show green values among people of color. A 2014 Green For All poll showed that minority voters are more supportive of candidates willing to give resources to fight climate change than those who do not. I wrote about polling showing Asian Americans’ strong environmental attitudes a few years back. A 2015 Benenson Strategy Group poll found that 85 percent of African Americans supported global commitments on climate. And from the same year, a Green for All and Natural Resources Defense Council survey found that African-American voters were out ahead of white voters in both their concern about the problem and their backing for climate solutions. This is confirmed by more recent EcoAmerica metrics from 2017.
Read the full article here: https://www.sightline.org/2018/08/06/climate-change-hot-voter-issue-2018-midterms/