Tea Party least Worried about Warming -- Because they are "Best Informed"
Politics & Global Warming: Democrats, Republicans, Independents and the Tea Party
The Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, Sept. 7, 2011
The Yale Project on Climate Change Communication released a special report from a recent national survey of the American public. Politics & Global Warming: Democrats, Republicans, Independents and the Tea Party reports how the members of each political party respond to the issue of global warming. The Tea Party has become an important new player in American politics, so this report for the first time separates their views on global warming from the traditional political categories of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.
As described in the report, any survey respondent who considered themselves a member of the Tea Party movement was placed in that category. This included a number of self-identified Republicans, a smaller proportion of Independents, and a few Democrats – thus in this report, these traditional political categories include only those Republicans, Independents and Democrats who did not consider themselves members of the Tea Party.
Overall, the report found many striking and sometimes surprising similarities and differences between the four political parties. Some highlights:
Global Warming Beliefs
? Majorities of Democrats (78%), Independents (71%) and Republicans (53%) believe that global warming is happening. By contrast, only 34 percent of Tea Party members believe global warming is happening, while 53 percent say it is not happening.
? While 62 percent of Democrats say that global warming is caused mostly by human activities, most Tea Party members say it is either naturally caused (50%) or isn’t happening at all (21%).
? A majority of Democrats (55%) say that most scientists think global warming is happening, while majorities of Republicans (56%) and Tea Party members (69%) say that there is a lot of disagreement among scientists about whether or not global warming is happening.
? A large majority of Democrats (72%) worry about global warming, compared to 53 percent of Independents, 38 percent of Republicans, and 24 percent of Tea Party members. Over half (51%) of Tea Party members say they are not at all worried about global warming.
? Tea Party members are much more likely to say that they are “very well informed” about global warming than the other groups. Likewise,they are also much more likely to say they “do not need any more information” about global warming to make up their mind.
Support for Climate and Energy Policies
? Majorities of all four political groups support funding more research into renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power and providing tax rebates for people who purchase energy efficient vehicles or solar panels.
? Majorities of Democrats, Independents and Republicans support requiring electric utilities to produce at least 20% of their electricity from renewable energy sources, even if it cost the average household an extra $100 a year. A majority of Tea Party members, however, oppose this policy, with 39 percent strongly opposed.
? Likewise, majorities of Democrats, Independents and Republicans support an international treaty to cut carbon dioxide emissions. A large majority of Tea Party members, however, oppose a treaty, with 55 percent strongly opposed.
? Majorities of all four parties support the expansion of offshore drilling for oil and natural gas off the U.S. coast, with 46 percent of Republicans and 58 percent of Tea Party members strongly supportive.
? A majority of Democrats oppose building more nuclear power plants (65%), while majorities of Independents (52%), Republicans (62%) and Tea Party members (67%) support building them.
? However, only a majority of Tea Party members (52%) would support building a nuclear power plant in their own local area. All other groups would be opposed.
Values and Politics
? Tea Party members are politically more conservative (78%) than Republicans (63%), Independents (27%), or Democrats (11%).
? Tea Party members are more likely to be “born-again” or evangelicals (46%) than Republicans (31%), Independents (20%), or Democrats (21%).
? Democrats are more likely to believe that human beings evolved from earlier species of animals (62%), compared to Independents (57%), Republicans (51%), and Tea Party members (34%).
? Democrats have stronger egalitarian values than all other groups, with Tea Party members holding relatively anti-egalitarian views.
? Tea Party members have stronger individualistic values than all other groups, with strong anti-government attitudes.