The New York Times, Stanford University, and Resources for the Future have released a public opinion poll with results showing that most Americans, including 60% of Republicans, support government action to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Further, 48% of Republicans surveyed were more likely to support a presidential candidate who accepts anthropogenic climate change and supports government intervention.
Two weeks ago the Yale Climate Communication Project published a seperate survey of public opinion with similar results. The Republican street may not think climate is as pressing a concern as the economy, jobs, immigration, and ISIS, but it is favorably oriented toward federal government regulation of greenhouse gas emissions.
Meanwhile, Republican candidates and elected officials respond to questions about climate change with the trusty “I’m not a scientist” dodge. According to the New York Times survey, this verbal deflection only helps with Tea Party voters. The Tea Party has proven its ability to enforce its orthodoxy in Republican primaries, so the Tea Party matters greatly to incumbent Republicans. But the Tea Party position on climate change is increasingly not the opinion of most Republicans. GOP candidates, electeds, and even the Tea Party itself would do well to break up with climate skepticism before the rest of the country leaves them behind.