UNH Research Finds Trump Voters Stand Apart on Renewable Energy and Climate

Thursday, February 2, 2017

DURHAM, N.H. – Only 25 percent of those who say they voted for Donald Trump agree with the scientific consensus that human activities are changing Earth’s climate, according to new survey research reported by the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire. In contrast, large majorities of Clinton voters as well as third-party voters and nonvoters believe humans are causing climate change and want to see renewable energy development be a priority.

Climate change received little media attention during the 2016 presidential campaign, but recent surveys indicate that climate change and related energy issues are taken seriously by a growing majority of the public. Almost three-fourths of Americans surveyed after the election said that renewable energy should be a higher national priority than more drilling for oil and about two-thirds agree with the scientific consensus that humans are changing Earth’s climate.

“We saw a common theme when talking about what actions those surveyed wanted to see to reduce the risks of climate change,” said Larry Hamilton, professor of sociology and a senior Carsey fellow. “While renewable energy and lifestyle changes were popular, cap-and-trade and carbon tax were not. Overall, Trump voters are much less likely than other voter groups to support any action to reduce the risks of climate change.”

“Although public recognition and a sense of urgency lag behind science, they are measurably rising,” Hamilton added. “Given the outcome of the 2016 election and the belief patterns seen in these surveys, the willingness of the U.S. to respond is in question.”

The full report can be found here: https://carsey.unh.edu/publication/energy-climate-trump

The Carsey School of Public Policy conducts research, leadership development, and engaged scholarship relevant to public policy. They address pressing challenges, striving for innovative, responsive, and equitable solutions at all levels of government and in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors.

The University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a world-class public research university with the feel of a New England liberal arts college. A land, sea, and space-grant university, UNH is the state's flagship public institution, enrolling 13,000 undergraduate and 2,000 graduate students.