Center for American Progress Action

RELEASE: New Poll: Primary Voters Vault Climate to Top-Tier Issue
Press Release

RELEASE: New Poll: Primary Voters Vault Climate to Top-Tier Issue

Washington, D.C. — New polling released today shows that addressing the climate crisis is a top priority for Democratic primary voters. In a still-wide-open contest for the early states, only universal health care coverage rivaled climate solutions at the top of voters’ priorities.

On a press call today, pollsters Jill Normington of Normington Petts and Geoff Garin of Hart Research detailed the findings of a poll conducted of Democratic primary voters in California, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina. The poll was conducted for the League of Conservation Voters (LCV), the Center for American Progress Action Fund, and the Environmental Defense Action Fund (EDF Action), all of whom participated in the call.

A memo summarizing the poll can be found here.

The poll with toplines can be found here.

A slide deck of highlights can be found here.

“Today’s polling demonstrates that voters will demand that the Democratic nominee make climate action a top priority and key pillar of her or his platform,” said John Podesta, founder of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. “Taking action on climate has never been this popular because voters across the country know that the threat is real and we have no time to waste. Given Donald Trump’s full denial that climate change is real, the 2020 election is shaping up to be historic for climate action.”

“As this new polling demonstrates, it’s very much a wide-open Democratic primary that will be decided by an electorate that strongly wants to see bold action on climate at the absolute top of the agenda,” said Pete Maysmith, senior vice president for campaigns at LCV. “That is why we are embarking on a campaign, including being on the ground in most, if not all, of the early states, to ensure that the eventual nominee has ambitious plans to act on the climate crisis on Day One as president—because it is clearly already a priority for the voters.”

“Climate change is now an urgent, top-tier issue for primary voters,” said Joe Bonfiglio, president of EDF Action. “Any candidate who doesn’t make this central to their campaign message is not operating in the new political reality. Without a bold plan for moving us to clean energy, you will not be taken seriously by voters in these early primary states.”

The chief findings of the poll include:

  • Addressing the climate crisis is a top-tier issue for Democratic primary voters, shared only with universal health care coverage.
  • The Democratic primary for president is wide open, with 77 percent of voters having not yet narrowed their candidate choice.
  • Taking action on climate change is a key motivating issue for Democratic primary voters in early states.
  • Having a plan to address the climate crisis is seen as essential and is a driver of vote choice.
  • Both the Green New Deal and moving to 100 percent  clean energy by 2050 are extremely popular ideas among Democratic primary voters in early states.
  • Voters believe that candidates who support these solutions to climate change are serious, forward-thinking candidates.

For more information on this topic or to talk to an expert, please contact Zachary Drennen at [email protected] or 202.741.6372.