STATEWIDE POLLING SHOW CALIFORNIA VOTERS BELIEVE CLIMATE CHANGE HAS BECOME MORE SEVERE
Voters of color and women are not willing to compromise the health of their families for jobs
Courage California Institute partnered with Data for Social Good Foundation, Communities for a New California Education Fund, California Environmental Voters Education Fund, Inland Empire United Education Fund, and Voices in Solidarity Against Oil in Neighborhoods, to conduct polls of over 1,000 registered voters across the state to learn how Californians view the causes and effects of climate change. The poll was administered in English and Spanish, and intentionally oversampled from the demographic communities that have seen higher rates of growth in the last decade, including voters of color.
The majority of California voters believe climate change is real and have noticed the effects of climate change become more severe.
The majority of California voters believe climate change is real (63%) and have noticed the effects of climate change become more severe (73%). They see the greatest effects of climate change in environmental disasters (59%), pollution (19%), and health (18%).
That belief is higher among voters of color, women, and younger voters, who also see the effects of climate change more broadly.
Belief in climate change is higher among Asian (81%), Black (70%), and Latinx (66%) voters, as well as among younger voters (71% of voters 18-29), women (73%), voters with higher educational attainment (70% for college graduates), and voters who identify as liberal (94%). More voters of color (Asians, 88%; Black, 80%; Latino, 79%), younger voters (30-45-year olds, 82%; 18-29-year olds, 81%), and women (81%) have also noticed the effects become more severe.
Of voters who have noticed climate change becoming more severe, larger portions of Black voters see the effects greatest in health (32%) and Latinxs in pollution (28%). Residents of the Inland Empire and voters who don’t identify as liberal, conservative, or moderate are also more likely to see the effects greatest in pollution (23% and 28%, respectively) and health (30% and 27%, respectively).
While voters have identified jobs and the economy as their top issue in previous polls, the overwhelming majority are unwilling to accept new job creation if it leads to worse health outcomes for their families.
In our 2022 general election poll, more voters across six congressional districts (28-35%) identified jobs and the economy as their top issue than other issues. However, when asked in this poll if voters would be willing to accept new job creation even if it leads to worse health outcomes for them and their families, 72% disagreed, with highest disagreement from Black voters (77%), women (79%), and voters 46-55 (77%) and 30-45 (77%).
Additionally, 64% agree the state should focus on transitioning away from polluting fossil fuels to cleaner renewable energy, with higher agreement from voters of color (Asian, 82%; Black, 79%; and Latinx, 69%) and women (71%).
Corporations and elected officials are seen as having the most power to effectively combat climate change, but are also viewed as the biggest barriers to addressing it.
Voters believe corporations (31%) and elected officials (31%) have the most power to effectively combat climate change, but also see corporations (22%) and government (23%) as the biggest barriers to addressing it.
Californians see voting as the best way to bring about an improved environment.
The overwhelming majority of voters (74%) see voting as the best way to bring about an improved environment, and 51% also see advocating for a policy as the best way.
Voters hear about climate change most from the news and are more likely to trust scientists and environmental organizations for climate change information.
Voters hear about climate change most from the news (61%), then social media (17%). Social media was higher among voters of color (Latinx, 25%; Asian, 23%; Black, 21%), younger voters (18-29-year olds, 40%; 30-45, 24%), and women (19%), as well as residents of the Inland Empire (25%) and liberals (18%) and people who don’t identify as liberal, conservative, or moderate (20%).
On a scale of 1 to 8 (1 being the most trusted and 8 being the least trusted), voters trust scientists most for information regarding climate change (1.88), then environmental organizations (3.16), environmental activists (4.38), and friends and family (4.52). They are least likely to trust social media (5.96), an energy supplier (5.79), and the government (5.17).
Voters are split on whether or not California is prepared to effectively address climate change and in their belief they can encourage their state representatives to focus more on doing so.
When asked if California is prepared to address climate change, 38% of voters disagree, 36% agree, and 25% neither agree nor disagree. Similarly, 36% of voters believe they can encourage their state representatives to focus more on addressing environmental issues, 25% do not, and 29% might or might not. Notably, voters of color have higher belief in encouraging their state representatives: Black, 52%; Asian, 49%; and Latino, 42%.
They also demonstrate broad support for several policy approaches to minimize the effects of climate change.
Voters were in greater support of policies that would punish corporate polluters (22%), add funding to support corporations developing green technologies (22%), provide tax breaks for individuals who purchase more environmentally friendly alternatives (20%), and provide efficient and inexpensive public transportation. Asian (34%), Latinx (27%), younger (30-45-year-olds, 30%), and Central Valley voters (33%) and voters who don’t identify as liberal, conservative, or moderate (33%) were especially more supportive of punishing corporate polluters.
Overwhelming majorities support increasing funding for policies that protect access to safe drinking water (85%), mitigate and prevent wildfires (82%), develop new surface and groundwater conservation technologies (81%), and restore ecosystems and encourage land-use planning (74%).
About this poll
Data for Social Good Foundation conducted the poll for Courage California Institute, Communities for a New California Education Fund, California Environmental Voters Education Fund, Inland Empire United Education Fund, and Voices in Solidarity Against Oil in Neighborhoods from May 4 – June 7, 2023. The poll was administered online in English and Spanish. We polled 1,002 registered voters, intentionally oversampling from demographic communities that have seen higher rates of growth in the last decade, including voters of color.