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University of Colorado 

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Published: March 19, 2024

Climate change matters to more and more people–and could be a deciding factor in the 2024 election


If you ask American voters what their top issues are, most will point to kitchen-table issues like the economy, inflation, crime, health care or education.

Fewer than 5% of respondents in 2023 and 2024 Gallup surveys said that climate change was the most important problem facing the country.

Despite this, research that I conducted with my colleages suggests that concern about climate change has had a significant effect on voters’ choices in the past two presidential elections. Climate change opinions may even have had a large enough effect to change the 2020 election outcome in President Joe Biden’s favor. This was the conclusion of an analysis of polling data that we published on Jan. 17, 2024, through the University of Colorado’s Center for Social and Environmental Futures.

 

 

 

Matt Burgess is a CU Boulder assistant professor of environmental studies and institute fellow in the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES).

 

 

What explains these results, and what effect might climate change have on the 2024 election?

Our study found that between the 2016 and the 2020 presidential elections, climate change became increasingly important to voters, and the importance voters assign to climate change became increasingly predictive of voting for the Democrats. If these trends continue, then climate change could provide the Democrats with an even larger electoral advantage in 2024.

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