ANES 2019 Pilot Study Methodology Report: Climate Change Mitigation Policy Opinion (GW1 & GW2)

21 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2020

See all articles by Matt Motta

Matt Motta

Oklahoma State University - Stillwater

Date Written: March 8, 2020


MOTIVATION. Policy efforts designed to mitigate the social, economic, and environmental effects of climate change have received substantial attention in the 2020 primary election cycle. While previous ANES time series studies have done an excellent job assessing whether or not the public thinks that the climate is changing -- and whether or not those changes are human caused -- less work has assessed which types of mitigation and adaptation policies are most likely to earn popular support (and why).

PROCEDURE. In this methodology report, I explore the distributions, internal consistency, correlates, and predictive validity of two new climate change mitigation policy items added to the 2020 ANES Pilot Study. I also explore the possibility that "speeding," satisficing, non-response, and/or question ordering effects may have influenced data quality.

RESULTS. I find that a slight majority of Americans support taking policy action to regulate corporate polluters, and/or to tighten fuel efficiency standards. Survey meta-data suggest that nearly all ANES respondents answered these items (low item non-response), and that the average respondent spent about about ten seconds attempting to answer each question. Middle response selection does not appear to be influenced by time spent engaging with the task. Meta-data also suggest that the order in which these questions were arrayed in a matrix table did not substantively influence response patterns. Additionally, I uncover high levels of internal consistency between the two items; indicating that the two questions can be reliably indexed into a single scale.

Critically, I find that these items have strong construct and predictive validity. In multivariate models, I show that -- when treated as an outcome variable -- support for both policies is associated with increased belief in global warming, support for the role that experts play in the policymaking process, positive views toward science, and ideological liberalism; consistent with what previous research might lead us to expect. Moreover, I find that -- when treated as an independent variable -- support for increased fuel efficiency requirements is associated with whether or not respondents self-report owning (or having owned) a fuel efficient car.

METHODOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT. The two climate change mitigation policy items included in the 2019 ANES Pilot Study demonstrate high levels of internal consistency, and appear to be well validated. Additionally, levels of item non-response were low, and response patterns appear uninfluenced by survey satisficing or question ordering effects.

Keywords: Climate Opinion, Climate Change, Survey Methodology, ANES, Public Opinion

Suggested Citation

Motta, Matt, ANES 2019 Pilot Study Methodology Report: Climate Change Mitigation Policy Opinion (GW1 & GW2) (March 8, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Matt Motta (Contact Author)

Oklahoma State University - Stillwater ( email )

Stillwater, OK 74078-0555
United States

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