The Heat Is Online

Climate Issue Helped Democrats In Mid-Term Elections

Zogby Post-Election Poll: Dems Gained From Global Warming Debate


Half of Americans who voted in the mid-term elections said concern about global warming made a difference in who they voted for on Election Day 2006, according to a recent Zogby International post-election survey. Eighty-five percent of these voters who felt global warming was important cast their votes for Democratic Congressional candidates, including 48 percent of Independents and 7 percent of Republicans.


The national Zogby Interactive poll surveyed 19,356 adults and contained a margin of error of  0.7 percentage points.


Also in the post-election survey, a solid majority (58%) of voters agreed their elected officials "should make combating global warming a high priority." Three-quarters (75%) of Americans who voted in the mid-term elections say the "U.S. Congress should pass legislation promoting renewable and alternative energy sources as an effective way to reduce global warming pollution."


"Global warming was overshadowed in this election by the dominant issue of Iraq," said John Zogby. "But exit polling shows that global warming was a sleeper issue that may have snuck up on politicians in close races.  Global warming was most influential among Latinos and youth * two  Constituencies that helped propel Democratic gains. There are also signs that global warming may be eroding support for Republicans among religious voters. Looking ahead, politicians in both parties ignore this issue at their peril."


Global warming concerns were strongest among Hispanic voters, with 62 percent saying global warming was important in their voting. Overall, thepost-election survey showed that fewer Hispanic voters voted for Republicans in 2006 than voted for George Bush in 2004.


Concerns about global warming were also stronger among younger voters (those under 30) than older generations, with 58 percent of youth saying a candidate's position on global warming was important to their vote. A strong youth turnout in this election, with 61 percent of voters aged  18-29 voting Democratic, also contributed to Democratic gains. Turnouts of under-30 voters increased by 2 million voters compared to the 2002 mid-term elections.


Global warming may have contributed to the erosion of support for Republicans among religious voters * 50 percent of Catholics identified global warming as important in their 2006 vote. Overall, 49 percent of Catholics voted for Democrats, up from 45 percent support for Kerry in 2004.  A smaller number of Protestants * 41

percent -- considered global warming significant, but even small losses of support among this Republican base may have contributed to Democratic gains given the number of races decided by small margins. According to the post-election survey, 44 percent of Protestants voted for Democrats, up from 38 percent for Kerry in 2004.


The global warming questions for Zogby's independent post-election survey were commissioned by the National Wildlife Federation, a non-partisan conservation organization based in Reston, Virginia.