Poll: The Threat of Climate Change Hits a Record High with American Public

November 3, 2017

Ahead of next week’s Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 23), American’s view of climate change as a critical threat hits a record high, according to new public opinion data from the 2017 Chicago Council Survey. Despite significant partisan divides, a majority of Americans favor U.S. participation in the Paris Agreement.

The full report, “Despite US Withdrawal from Paris Agreement, majority still supports it,” is available online.   

Key data from the 2017 Chicago Council Survey include:

  • Forty-six percent of Americans say climate change is now a critical threat facing the U.S., a record high since the question was first asked in 2008.
  • The divide between Republicans and Democrats is also at a record high, with 69 percent of Democrats and only 16 percent of Republicans viewing climate change as a critical threat. The divide has widened from a 39 percent point gap in 2008 to 53 percent in 2017.
  • A majority of Americans (62 percent) favor U.S. participation in the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, with serious partisan divides. Majorities of Democrats (73 percent) and Independents (58 percent) are in favor compared to 37 percent of Republicans.
  • The Republican Party is split on U.S. participation with 23 percent of Trump Republicans – those with a very favorable view of Donald Trump – in support compared to a narrow majority (53 percent) of non-Trump Republicans.

The analysis in this report is based on data conducted by GfK Custom Research using their large-scale, nationwide online research panel between June 27 and July 19, 2017 among a weighted national probability sample of 2,020 adults, 18 years of age or older, living in all 50 US states and the District of Columbia. The margin of error is ±2.4 percentage points.

The 2017 Chicago Council Survey was made possible by the generous support of The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Charles Koch Institute, the Korea Foundation, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, and the personal support of Lester Crown and the Crown Family. About the Chicago Council on Global Affairs