Climate Change Ranks Last Among Trump Supporter Election Concerns, Down to 11% From 2016

Supporters of President Donald Trump ranked climate change last among issues they view as important to their 2020 election decisions, with just 11 percent of Trump backers saying it’s a high priority topic this November 3.

Less than 30 days before Election Day, a sizable overall majority of U.S. registered voters (68 percent) say climate change is either very important, 42 percent, or somewhat important, 26 percent, to their decision-making this election cycle. While 68 percent of former Vice President Joe Biden’s supporters say climate change has large influence on their vote, only 11 percent of Trump supporters agree—down four points from the 15 percent who felt that way in 2016.

There is currently a 57-point divide between Biden supporters and Trump supporters who agree climate change is very important to their vote—a gap that has widened even further from four years ago. In 2016, there was a 41-point divide between Hillary Clinton supporters (56 percent) and Trump supporters (15 percent) who agreed climate change was very important to their vote.

The Pew Research Center survey of registered voters conducted between July 27 and August 2 reveals more Democrat-leaning voters are concerned about climate change while slightly fewer Republican-leaning voters agree, compared with 2016.

Among 12 topics ranging from violent crime to immigration to abortion, climate change ranks dead last as a concerning issue to Trump supporters. By comparison, 88 percent of the president’s supporters ranked the economy as a very important to their vote and 74 percent said violent crime is the most salient issue on their mind ahead of Election Day.

Ninety-one percent of Biden supporters say climate change is either very or somewhat important to them, compared to 40 percent of Trump supporters who agreed with either statement. About 85 percent of Biden supporters said health care is very important to them this year, followed by 82 percent who said the coronavirus pandemic is having a large influence on their election decisions. Racial and ethnic inequality was ranked third with 76 percent.

Only single-digit percentages of Trump supporters from multiple demographics say climate change is “very important” to their 2020 vote.

This includes fewer than 10 percent of Generation X, baby boomers, self-described conservatives and registered male voters who agree climate change will have a deep impact on their vote this year. Just 6 percent of conservative Trump supporters said climate change is very important to this year’s election. Overall, younger supporters of Trump are about three times more likely than their older counterparts to say climate change is at least somewhat important.

One policy Trump and Biden supporters agree on is a tax credit for businesses that develop carbon capture and storage technology, with 90 percent of Democrats and 78 percent of Republicans surveyed in May saying they would get behind such legislation. Biden on Tuesday became the first presidential nominee from either party to release an ad focused solely on climate change.

In 2016, about one-third of Trump supporters said there is “no solid evidence” of climate change whatsoever—a number which remains about the same today.

Newsweek reached out to both the Biden and Trump campaigns for additional remarks Tuesday afternoon.

trump sign climate change wildfire
A melted pro-Trump sign remains at a burned residence during the Bear fire in Butte County in California on September 14. On September 14 during a briefing in California wildfires, President Donald Trump suggested global warming will reverse itself and dismissed climate change as a cause of fires engulfing swaths of the U.S. West.
JOSH EDELSON / AFP/Getty Images

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