A new survey of undecided voters shows their climate attitudes track more closely with those backing Obama rather than Romney … and a separate AP report says the weather/climate issue does, or should, matter to the public in this fall’s elections.
A recent article by Associated Press science writer Seth Borenstein briefly outlines reasons that weather/climate change issues are “at stake” in the elections this fall. The piece faults Democratic President and nominee Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney for being exceptions of sorts … “two people who aren’t talking” much about weather and climate change.
In one part of an AP series on why certain issues “matter” in the elections, Borenstein quotes MIT economist Henry Jacoby saying the issue of human-caused global warming is “totally missing” from the campaigns. It deserves more attention because “we’re running a serious risk of passing a much-damaged planet to our descendants,” Jacoby said.
The AP quick-hit series climate change installment is far from ground-breaking, and in fact is written in a pretty vanilla template-oriented format. But one group the 650-word Borenstein piece might be expected to appeal to is that sliver of likely voters still undecided on whether to vote for Obama or Romney, somewhere around 7 percent.
For that group, “the presidential candidates’ positions on global warming will be one of several important factors determining how they cast their votes in November,” according to new survey results released by social science researchers at Yale University and George Mason University.
Those researchers say their August 31-September 12 survey of 1,061 American adults finds that “Undecideds are much more similar to likely Obama voters than likely Romney voters across a range of climate change and energy-related beliefs, attitudes, and policy preferences.”
Undecideds “lean towards pro-climate action and will be considering the candidates’ positions,” said Yale’s Anthony Leiserowitz.* Those similarities “could prove important on election day,” he said in a statement. With nearly 40 percent of undecided voters and likely Romney voters saying they could “easily change their mind” about global warming, Leiserowitz said, the importance of the issue could increase in the campaign’s closing days.
From science writer Borenstein’s perspective, taken from his AP piece, the 2012 summer’s record-breaking weather anomalies are one sign that the global warming issue overall is “worsening.” Along with rising sea levels and increasing concerns about public health impacts, he wrote, two additional citizens should be joining in with much of the public at large in talking a whole lot more about climate and weather. And those are the two who “both happen to be running for president.”
*Editor’s Note: Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Communication, is Publisher of The Yale Forum on Climate Change & The Media.