The share of Americans calling global climate change a major threat to the well-being of the United States has grown from 40% in 2013 to 57% this year, Pew Research Center surveys have shown. But the rise in concern has largely come from Democrats. Opinions among Republicans on this issue remain largely unchanged.
Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents overall, 84% say climate change is a major threat to the country’s well-being as of July 2019, up from 58% in a March 2013 survey. Views among Republicans and Republican leaners have stayed about the same (27% in 2019 vs. 22% in 2013).
Nearly all liberal Democrats (94%, including independents who lean to the party) consider climate change a major threat to the nation now, up 30 percentage points from 2013. Three-quarters of moderate/conservative Democrats say the same, up from 54% in 2013.
By contrast, there has been no significant change among either moderate or conservative Republicans on this issue. (While the share of moderate/liberal Republicans who see climate change as a major threat is up 9 percentage points since 2013, this change is not statistically significant at the 95% confidence level.)
The partisan trend is similar on a related question. More Americans said in January 2019 that dealing with global climate change should be a top priority for Congress and the president (44%) than did so in early 2015 (34%). But the increased interest in prioritizing climate policy stems from Democrats, not Republicans.
Two-thirds of Democrats (67%), including 83% of liberal Democrats, said this year that dealing with global climate change should be a top priority for the president and Congress. This was up from 46% of Democrats in 2015.
In contrast, about two-in-ten Republicans (21%) said this year that climate change should be a top priority – a virtually identical share as in 2015 (19%).
Climate change policy is among the issues taking center stage for Democrats seeking their party’s nomination. A 2018 survey by the Center found 82% of registered Democrats said the issue of the environment would be very important in their vote, up from 69% just two years earlier. The role of such issues in the general election remains unclear. The same 2018 survey found 38% of registered Republicans saying the environment would be very important to their vote, roughly the same share as a decade earlier.