June 1, 2017

Trump’s Paris Pullout: Not Popular with US Public

By Karen Whisler

President Trump recently announced to a Rose Garden audience his plans to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. In his statement, he framed a withdrawal from the Paris Agreement as “keeping the promises [he] made to the American people during [his] campaign for president”. But this decision is out of step with the views of the public. According to a number of surveys conducted over the past year, a majority of Americans support US participation in the agreement.

A November 2016 poll by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication showed that nearly seven in ten registered voters (69%) support the US participating in the agreement. The 2016 Chicago Council Survey, conducted June 10 to 27, 2016, found a similarly high level of support, with 71 percent of Americans backing US participation. Both polls also showed bipartisan support, with majorities of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents indicating that they would prefer the country to remain a party to the agreement.

Nor is this the prevalent view among Trump’s base on this issue. Among Trump voters, nearly twice as many (47%) support US participation in Paris as oppose it (28%). And in the 2016 Chicago Council Survey, a majority of Trump’s core supporters—those who preferred Trump over all other primary candidates—supported participation (57%).

This support for the Paris Agreement follows a larger trend of public recognition of the effects of global warming and a desire to combat some of these changes. According to a CBS News Poll in April 2017, six in ten Americans (57%) believe that the condition of the environment will be worse for the next generation; only 12 percent believe it will be better. Moreover, a majority of Americans (53%) agree that global warming is caused by “mostly human activity”, an increase from the 46 percent who believed the same three years ago. This mirrors findings from the 2016 Chicago Council Survey, which found an increasing proportion of Americans saying that climate change is a serious and pressing problem, and that we should begin taking steps now even if it involves significant costs.  

However, there are still divisions along party lines as to what the government’s role in environmental regulation should be. Weighed against concerns for the economy, the same CBS poll shows that 70 percent of Republicans indicated that lifting environmental regulations would be a good thing to spark job growth; only 14 percent of Democrats and 36 percent of Independents felt the same. Instead, a majority of Democrats (78%) believe that the Trump administration is not doing enough to protect the environment, while 65 percent of Republicans think he’s doing “about the right amount” according to a Pew Research Center poll conducted in May, 2017.

Karen Whisler is a Public Opinion research intern at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. She studies economics and international relations at the University of Pennsylvania.

 

 

About

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs highlights critical shifts in American public thinking on US foreign policy through public opinion surveys and research conducted under the Lester Crown Center on US Foreign Policy. 

The annual Chicago Council Survey, first conducted in 1974, is a valuable resource for policymakers, academics, media, and the general public. The Council also surveys American leaders in government, business, academia, think tanks, and religious organizations biennially to compare trends in their thinking with overall trends. And collaborating with partner organizations, the survey team periodically conducts parallel surveys of public opinion in other regions of the world to compare with US public opinion. 

The Running Numbers blog features regular commentary and analysis from the Council’s public opinion and US foreign policy research team, including a series of flash polls of a select group of foreign policy experts to assess their opinions on critical foreign policy topics driving the news.

Archive




| By Karl Friedhoff

Korea-Japan Agreement Here to Stay

Karl Friedhoff looks at polling done in South Korea on attitudes towards Japan to add perspective on the recent deal between Korea and Japan to resolve the "comfort women" issue.




| By Dina Smeltz, Craig Kafura

Climate Concerns on the Rise

While Democrats and Republicans are at opposite ends of the spectrum in prioritizing climate change, Chicago Council Surveys going back to 2002 have shown longstanding public support for an international treaty to address the problem.


| By Karl Friedhoff, Dina Smeltz

Strong Asia Alliances, Divided Publics

New Council survey data shows that US relations with Japan and South Korea are strong. But mutual distrust between Japan and South Korea continues, even as the United States encourages strengthened relations in the face of a rising China.

Americans Hungry for Food Information

There is a renaissance in America’s interest in food and, more specifically, how food is produced. A new Chicago Council poll finds that contrary to the debate about hot-button issues like GMOs, antibiotics, and local food, the vast majority of Americans value food that is above all affordable, safe, and nutritious.

| By Sara McElmurry

Calling a Vote before the Curtain Call

Soon-to-be-former Speaker John Boehner has shot down immigration advocates’ requests that he call a vote on immigration before he leaves Congress at the end of the month. But numbers from the 2015 Chicago Council Survey suggest that advancing a vote might not be a bad idea.


| By Karl Friedhoff

Meet the New South Korea

South Korea is no longer sitting back and absorbing North Korea's provocations. A look at attitudes on identity and reunification among South Korea's youth suggests that in the future this will become the norm, not the exception.

| By Craig Kafura

The Politics of the Iran Deal

Republicans have come out strongly against the Iran nuclear deal, and have also used it to slam their biggest Democratic rival for 2016, Hillary Clinton. But is the deal actually a problem for Clinton?