A new poll has found that 14% of U.S. voters list “addressing climate change and protecting the environment” as their top priority coming into this year’s federal election, compared with a range of 2.0 to 6.0% before the 2016 vote.
The country has so many climate voters on the rolls that they could even far exceed the fabled clout of the ever-dangerous National Rifle Association. And “climate and environment voters are also the most motivated to vote in 2020, saying they are willing to wait in line an average of an hour and 13 minutes at the polls,” The Guardian reports.
“There are almost 30 million climate voters out there who are already registered to vote. That’s a huge constituency,” said Environmental Voter Project founder Nathaniel Stinnett. “That’s like four times the number of NRA members. It’s enormous, and a lot of that growth has happened over the last two to three years.”
The pollsters’ comparison of survey results to public voter records “found that infrequent voters are more likely than frequent ones to assign a higher importance to climate and the environment,” The Guardian adds. “That suggests environment advocates could benefit from getting more climate-minded voters to the polls with some easy fixes, such as awareness campaigns for early and absentee voting.”
The poll also showed that, while Donald Trump is unpopular with the majority of the American public, his supporters vote more reliably. Across the survey sample, 89% of registered voters said they participated in most or all presidential elections, when the actual voter turnout in 2016 was just 59%.
“The new numbers back up Democrats’ efforts to weave the climate crisis into their platforms,” with nearly one-third of self-identified “very progressive” voters citing climate and the environment as their top concern, The Guardian says. But “other matters still top climate change in most voters’ minds. When forced to choose, health care tops voters’ priority lists” with climate change coming in fourth, behind the economy/jobs and repairing the country’s immigration policies.