Table Of Contents

    This fact sheet provides information on climate change polling in the United States and internationally from Spring 2015 to Spring 2016. Overall, the studies show:

    • There is a disparity along party lines when it comes to climate change, with a large majority of Democrats saying human actions are changing the climate, while fewer Republicans are convinced by climate science. Strong majorities of Independents say climate change is happening.
    • There is bipartisan support for the federal government to do more to combat climate change.

    * In the chart titled "Very & Somewhat Worried about Climate Change," polling results included the terms "very," "greatly," "somewhat," and "moderately" to indicate the level of feeling, and the terms "worried" and "concerned" to indicate the type of feeling. These terms were deemed sufficiently similar to make a comparison valid.


    National Climate Change Surveys


    Voice of the People /
    University of Maryland
    April 16 – 26, 2016 Sample: 4,394 registered voters
    • 70% of respondents said it was a "very" or "somewhat" high priority to cut greenhouse gas emissions from energy production.
    • Following an in-depth briefing on the Clean Power Plan, 69% of respondents approved of the Plan, which would limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.


    Forward Intelligence /
    Bloomberg Philanthropy

    April 13 – 17, 2016 Sample: 3,204 reg. voters in 4 states
    • In the four states surveyed (Florida, Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin), at least 50% of respondents (up to 58% in Florida) said they thought climate change is being caused by human activities.
    • Between 64% (Missouri) and 73% (Florida) of respondents in each state support the Clean Power Plan.


    Kelton Global /
    National Geographic Wild
    March 28 – April 3, 2016 Sample: 1,053 adults
    • 94% of survey respondents stated that climate change is real.
    • 87% of respondents said that human activity contributes to global warming.
    • 94% reported that they have taken steps to reduce their carbon footprint.


    Yale / George Mason University March 18 – 31, 2016 Sample: 1,004 registered voters
    • 73% of registered voters think climate change is currently happening.
    • 56% believe that climate change is mostly caused by human activities.
    • 57% of respondents are "very" or "somewhat" concerned about global warming.


    Saint Leo University March 13 – 17, 2016 Sample: 1,015 adults
    • 75% of respondents are "very concerned" or "somewhat concerned" about climate change.
    • 56% of respondents said the federal government is responsible for doing something to combat climate change.


    Gallup   March 2 – 6, 2016 Sample: 1,019 adults
    • 59% of respondents said climate change effects have begun.
    • 64% of respondents are concerned "a great deal or a fair amount" about climate change. 84% of self-identified Democrats, 64% of Independents, and 40% of Republicans expressed such levels of concern.
    • 65% of those surveyed said climate change is caused by human activities.


    Kaiser Family Foundation March 1 – 26, 2016 Sample: 1,508 adults
    • 51% of respondents think protecting the environment and fighting climate change should be one of the President’s and Congress's "top priorities" when addressing world affairs. 


    University of Montana /
    Stanford University
    February 1 – 28, 2016 Sample: 923 Montana adults
    • 54% of Montanans view climate change as a "serious problem for the state."
    • 60% of urban residents in Montana are concerned about climate change, versus 47% of rural residents.


    YouGov January 21 – 22, 2016 Sample: 1,000 adults
    • 53% of respondents say human activity is causing global climate change (77% of Democrats, 48% of Independents, and 30% of Republicans). 28% of respondents think the climate is changing, but not because of human activity.
    • 46% of respondents believe that the threat of climate change has not been exaggerated.


    Monmouth University Poll Dec. 10 – 13, 2015 Sample: 1,006 adults
    • 63% of Democrats, 42% of Independents and 18% of Republicans said climate change is a very serious problem. 
    • 85% of Democrats, 74% of Independents and 49% of Republicans said climate change is happening.
    • 64% of respondents support the U.S. government doing more to combat climate change and sea level rise.


    Reuters / Ipsos Dec. 15 - 21, 2015 Sample: 2,063 likely voters
    • 58% of Republicans said they approve of the United States working with other countries to limit climate change.
    • 68% of Republicans either "somewhat strongly" or "strongly" agree that they are prepared to take individual steps to help protect the environment.


    New York Times / CBS News Nov. 18 – 22, 2015 Sample: 1,030 adults
    • 50% of respondents said climate change is causing a "serious impact" to the Earth now.
    • 53% of survey respondents said global warming is caused mostly by human activity.
    • 66% of poll respondents agree the United States should sign an international treaty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


    ABC News / Washington Post Nov. 16 - 19, 2015 Sample: 1,004 adults
    • 63% of respondents find global warming to be a "serious problem" (81% of Democrats, 62% of Independents, and 43% of Republicans say global warming is a "serious problem").
    • Regardless of party affiliation, 47% of survey respondents said that the government should be doing more to combat climate change, 32% think the government is taking the right amount of action on climate change, and 18% think it is doing too much.


    Associated Press / NORC October 15 – 18, 2015 Sample: 1,058 adults
    • 65% of respondents polled said climate change is happening, and 51% of respondents said climate change is caused mostly or entirely by human activities.
    • 23% of respondents were "extremely or very worried" about global warming, while 34% were "moderately" worried.


    Earthjustice / Green Latinos June 24 – July 8, 2015 Sample: 1,200 Latino registered voters
    • 74% of survey respondents think it’s "extremely" or "very important" for the President and Congress to set standards preventing global warming and climate change.
    • 66% of survey respondents think global warming is caused mostly by human activities.
    • 82% are "very or somewhat worried" about global warming and climate change.


    Yale / George Mason University Sept 30 – Oct 19, 2015 Sample: 1,330 registered voters
    • 68% of respondents said global warming is happening (86% of Democrats, 68% of Independents, and 51% of Republicans).
    • 64% of voters think the United States should do "much or somewhat more" to address climate change.


    International Climate Change Surveys


    ARACY April 4 – May 2, 2016 Sample: 3,369 Australian youths
    • 51.4% of Australians between the ages of 12 and 25 view environmental issues as an "extremely important" federal issue.
    • 16% of respondents are most interested in having their political leaders address climate change.


    YouGov Nov. – Dec. 2015 Sample: 18,000 people in 17 countries
    • High numbers of respondents in Asian countries rated climate change as one of the most serious problems facing the world—63% in Hong Kong, 61% in China, 58% in Singapore, and 52% in Malaysia and Thailand.
    • Of those surveyed, European countries reported the second highest percentage of concern about climate change, with 62% expressing concern in Sweden, 60% in Denmark and Finland, 59% in Germany, 51% in France, 50% in the United Kingdom, and 49% in Norway.
    • 36% of Americans listed climate change as one of the most serious problems facing the world.


    Ipsos Nov. 20 – Dec. 4, 2015 Sample: 18,584 adults in 26 countries
    • 84% of respondents worldwide view climate change as a serious issue (54% called it a "very serious" issue, and 30% said it is a "somewhat serious" issue).
    • 39% of adults surveyed in North America said climate change was a serious issue (the smallest share across the five world regions), compared to 83% of adults surveyed in Latin America.
    • 70% of adults surveyed globally said there was "solid evidence" that the world is getting warmer.


    Pew Research Center March 25 – May 27, 2015 Sample: 45,435 adults in 40 countries
    • The majority of respondents in every country surveyed said climate change is a serious problem, and a median of 47% consider it to be a very serious problem.
    • Survey respondents in Brazil (86%), Burkina Faso (79%), Chile (77%), India (76%) and Uganda (76%) were especially concerned, viewing climate change as a "very serious" problem.
    • In China, which releases more greenhouse gas emissions than any other country, 18% of respondents said climate change is a "very serious" problem, a sharp decrease from the 41% who said so in 2010.


    Author: Alison Alford

    Editors: Laura Small and Amaury Laporte