Geographic Variation in U.S. Climate Change Opinion at State and Local Scales

20 Pages Posted: 28 Oct 2014

See all articles by Peter Howe

Peter Howe

Utah State University - Department of Environment and Society

Matto Mildenberger

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) - Department of Political Science

Jennifer Marlon

Yale University - School of Forestry and Environmental Studies

Anthony Leiserowitz

Yale University

Date Written: October 27, 2014

Abstract

Addressing climate change in the United States requires enactment of national, state, and local mitigation and adaptation policies. The success of these initiatives depends on public opinion, policy support, and behaviors at appropriate scales. Public opinion, however, is typically measured with national surveys that obscure geographic variability across regions, states, and localities. Here we present independently validated high-resolution opinion estimates using a multilevel regression and poststratification model. The model accurately predicts climate change beliefs, risk perceptions, and policy preferences at the state, congressional district, metropolitan, and county levels, using a concise set of demographic and geographic predictors. The analysis finds substantial variation in public opinion across the nation. Nationally, 63% of Americans believe global warming is happening, but county-level estimates range from 43-80%, leading to a diversity of political environments for climate policy. These estimates provide an important new source of information for policymakers, educators, and scientists to more effectively address the challenges of climate change.

Keywords: public opinion, global warming, climate change, risk perception, multilevel regression and poststratification

Suggested Citation

Howe, Peter and Mildenberger, Matto and Marlon, Jennifer and Leiserowitz, Anthony, Geographic Variation in U.S. Climate Change Opinion at State and Local Scales (October 27, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2515649 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2515649

Peter Howe (Contact Author)

Utah State University - Department of Environment and Society ( email )

Logan, UT 84322
United States

Matto Mildenberger

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) - Department of Political Science ( email )

Dept. of Political Science
University of California
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9420
United States

Jennifer Marlon

Yale University - School of Forestry and Environmental Studies ( email )

New Haven, CT 06511
United States

Anthony Leiserowitz

Yale University ( email )

New Haven, CT 06520
United States

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