Some of the actions Americans would endorse include increasing tax incentives to encourage the development and use of alternative energy sources, such as solar or wind power (73%) and requiring automakers to increase fuel efficiency even if this increases the price of cars (69%). A large majority of Americans (71%) also support the U.S. participating in a “new international treaty to address climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
Key findings on partisan differences include:
- Critical Threat: 35 percent of Americans say climate change is a critical threat, while four in ten (38%) say it is important, but not critical. Self-described Democrats are far more likely to see climate change as a critical threat to U.S. vital interests (51%) than Independents (35%) and Republicans (12%).
- Important Goal: Four in ten Americans (41%) say limiting climate change is a very important goal for the United States. More than half of Democrats (54%) say that limiting climate change is a very important goal versus 40 percent of Independents and 22 percent of Republicans.
- Government Role: Democrats (66%) and Independents (51%) are much more inclined than Republicans (35%) to say the government is not doing enough to combat the problem.
- Support for International Treaty: Majorities of Republicans (54%), Democrats (86%) and Independents (70%) support the U.S. participating in a new international treaty to address climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The 2014 Chicago Council Survey was made possible by generous support from the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, the Korea Foundation, the United States-Japan Foundation and Chicago Council Chairman Lester Crown.
Data was collected between May 6 to May 29, 2014 among a national sample of 2,108 adults, 18 years of age or older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. The margin of error is ± 2.1 percentage points. The full dataset from this year’s study will be made available on the website in January 2015.