I’m trying to figure out exactly what to make of this story: A new ecoAmerica poll shows that 71 percent of independent voters seem to support candidates who want to do something about climate change. The question posed to them was:
“How likely would you be to vote for a candidate who supports climate change solutions?”
Democrats came in at 89 percent, independents at 71 percent, and Republicans at 46 percent. On one level, that’s encouraging, but the parameters of the question aren’t totally clear. For example, even though 46 percent of Republican voters could see themselves voting for a candidate who wants to act, it doesn’t mean they’d support him or her over whichever Republican candidate was running when all issues were on the table.
Still, the numbers seem to indicate that people are taking the problem seriously, or at least not dismissing it as a hoax.
A not-very-surprising addendum to the poll is that more Americans under 45 are “more concerned” about climate change than previous elections (69 percent) than their older peers (59 percent).
So, okay, it’s a positive trend. But it also shows that Republicans in power have done a pretty efficient job of taking a concept that is overwhelmingly supported by scientists, and sowing doubt—half of their constituents still don’t care, and far too many independents. Until our concern and outrage are near 100 percent, change will be difficult.