24% Believe Climate Change is Most Serious Threat to the Nation

Seventy-eight percent (78%) believe climate change or global warming is a serious problem and 48% describe it as a very serious problem. Half the survey participants were asked about climate change and half about global warming. Concern is up slightly since last August.

A new ScottRasmussen.com national survey shows that 24% see climate change as the most serious threat facing the United States right now. Sixty-two percent (62%) disagree and 15% are not sure.

Younger voters are much more alarmed by climate change than their elders. Forty-four percent (44%) of voters aged 18-to-34 believe it’s the nation’s most serious threat. By contrast, only 12% of Americans aged 50-to-64 and 13% of voters aged 65 and older see it that way.

There is also a less pronounced, but clear partisan divide on the issue. While 35% of Democrats rate climate change as the most serious threat to the country, only 20% of Republicans agree. (See crosstab results)

Sixty-three percent (63%) of all voters at least somewhat agree that “The fossil fuel industry is now the equivalent of the tobacco industry, it creates death and destruction, and then spends billions to deny responsibility.” That statement comes from Democratic Senator and presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders. A majority of every major demographic group agrees with that assessment with one exception, as 55% of Republicans disagree.

The severity of climate change and how to address it are more in focus now in the wake of the release of the “Green New Deal” by Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts. The plan calls for massive new government powers over private industry and private citizens to reorganize the U.S. economy and environmental policies. It was quickly endorsed by several Democrats currently running for president.

However, data released earlier shows that the Green New Deal is little known by voters and has limited support. While 55% favor the concept when described in terms its advocates might use, there is little public support for the underlying policies.  In addition to fighting climate change, the Green New Deal plan calls for a number of other policies including a single-payer national health care system. That’s another issue where people support the general concept, but only 17% support Senator Sanders’ plan to ban private health insurance.

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The national survey of 1,002 Registered Voters was conducted February 2-3, 2019 by ScottRasmussen.com and HarrisX, a polling company specializing in online surveys (see Methodology). It has a 3.1 percentage point Margin of Error with a 95% level of confidence.

Neither Scott Rasmussen nor ScottRasmussen.com has any relationship with Rasmussen Reports® (see About Us).

Posted in Poll Results

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