Saint Leo Survey Results Finds Three out of Four Americans Concerned About Climate Change

March 27, 2017

New nonpartisan survey work by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute (http://polls.saintleo.edu) shows that three-quarters of the adult population nationally are very or somewhat concerned about global climate change. The first year the survey was conducted, in 2015, the combined concern level was nearly as high, at 73 percent, and then increased in 2016 to 75 percent. It remains there this year.

The 2017 results specifically show that when asked, “How concerned are you about global climate change?,” 43.5 percent of adults were very concerned and 31.6 somewhat concerned, totaling 75.1 percent. The survey was conducted online among 1,073 respondents nationally between March 3 and March 11, 2017. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points in either direction. This is the same methodology used each year.

Additionally, the polling institute asked the same questions, for the third year, of a separate group of respondents from across Florida. They numbered 507 this year, and the margin of error is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points. Florida is the home of the Saint Leo University Polling Institute and often a bellwether of national political attitudes.

         Assessing Concern about Global Climate Change

Possible answers

March 2017   U.S.

March 2016 

U.S.

March

2015

U.S.

 

March 2017

FL

March  2016

FL

March

2015

FL

Very concerned

 

43.5%

 

37.1%

 

30%

 

 

39.6%

 

45.9%

 

28%

Somewhat concerned

 

31.6%

 

37.9%

 

43%

 

 

35.9%

 

35.4%

 

39%

Combined concern groups

 

75.1%

 

75%

 

73%

 

 

75.5%

 

81.3%

 

67%

Somewhat not concerned

 

12.2%

 

11%

 

15%

 

 

10.8%

 

7.6%

 

18%

Not at all concerned

 

 9.9%

 

9.9%

 

11%

 

 

10.8%

 

8.3%

 

14%

Don’t know/not sure

 

2.8%

 

4.0%

 

1%

 

 

2.8%

 

2.8%

 

1%

 The results for 2017 happen to come out at a key time for many policy discussions and actions taking place nationally, and in some instances, at state levels.

For instance, on Sunday, March 26, during an ABC television news program, Scott Pruitt, appointed by President Donald J. Trump to head the federal Environmental Protection Agency, called the Paris Climate Treaty signed in late 2015 a “bad deal.”   http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/epa-chief-slams-paris-climate-pact-bad-deal/story?id=46371987

The Saint Leo poll asks how respondents feel about the United States continuing to take part in the accord, and includes data as well as faculty commentary, at http://polls.saintleo.edu/new-2017-poll-on-climate-change-shows-concern-is-the-norm-now-2/

In another climate-related public policy matter, the outgoing mayor of Miami, FL, Tomás Regalado, said in his state of the city address that two huge challenges facing the city are climate change and seacoast rise. The Miami Herald  posted a video of clip with additional comments from the mayor, including his suggestion that the city issue bonds to make protective infrastructure changes. http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/downtown-miami/article140709688.html

The Saint Leo poll results also delved into such issues. Results include data showing what effects, such as seacoast rise or unusually severe storms, that people have witnessed in their areas and ascribe to climate change. The wording of all the questions is also available at the Poll Reports menu heading. http://polls.saintleo.edu/poll-reports/