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Republicans and Climate Change: An Audience Analysis of Predictors for Belief and Policy Preferences

48 Pages Posted: 21 Mar 2012 Last revised: 23 Mar 2012

Justin Rolfe-Redding

George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication

Edward W. Maibach

George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication

Lauren Feldman

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - School of Communication and Information (SC&I)

Anthony Leiserowitz

Yale University

Date Written: November 7, 2011

Abstract

Climate change is increasingly polarized within American politics. Yet, political orientation and climate change views are not synonymous, and research identifying the characteristics of counter-normative groups — such as Republicans concerned about climate change — is key to communication strategies to encourage wider acceptance of science-based views about climate change across the political spectrum. The evidence presented here demonstrates that there are distinct and reliable predictors of which Republicans are more likely to believe that climate change is occurring and express support for mitigation policies. While some of these variables (such as religiosity) are relatively inaccessible to climate change communication campaigns, others (such as correctly understanding the scientific consensus that climate change is happening) should likely form the cornerstone of communication efforts. The current study provides strong guidance on where to begin, and where more research is needed to better understand these phenomena.

Keywords: climate change, global warming, Republican, political party

Suggested Citation

Rolfe-Redding, Justin and Maibach, Edward W. and Feldman, Lauren and Leiserowitz, Anthony, Republicans and Climate Change: An Audience Analysis of Predictors for Belief and Policy Preferences (November 7, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2026002 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2026002

Justin Rolfe-Redding (Contact Author)

George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

Edward W. Maibach

George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

Lauren Feldman

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - School of Communication and Information (SC&I) ( email )

4 Huntington St
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
United States

Anthony Leiserowitz

Yale University ( email )

New Haven, CT 06520
United States

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