Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

January 18, 2014

Fact Check: Only 3% of younger voters doubt climate change

By PolitiFact.com

More than a dozen Senate Democrats called a news conference Jan. 14 to draw attention to their efforts to curb climate change. One of those senators - Chris Murphy, D-Conn. - focused his remarks on the impact of public opinion on advancing an agenda on climate-change policy.

Murphy said that advocates for policies to address climate-change “have to convince Republicans - and those who would stand against the action that we’re proposing - of the electoral consequences of continuing to ignore this issue.

We have to tell Republicans that if they ultimately want to stop the hemorrhaging from young voters in this country, they need to start paying attention to this issue, because only 3 percent of voters 18 to 34 don’t believe that climate change is really happening.”

We wondered whether Murphy’s polling data was sound.

Thanks to some previous reporting by our colleagues at PolitiFact Rhode Island, we quickly found a poll that appears to be the source for Murphy’s claim.

It was commissioned by the League of Conservation Voters, an environmental group, and conducted by a polling team that included one Democratic firm and one Republican firm. The poll was taken between July 8 and July 10, 2013, with 600 respondents, all of whom were registered voters between 18 and 34 who voted in the 2012 general election.

The poll asked, “Which of the following best describes your view of climate change?” Here are the responses:

n Climate change is a severe threat that we must start addressing now: 55 percent

n Climate change is an issue to address in the years ahead, but it’s not urgent now: 11 percent

n Climate change may be happening, but it’s a natural event that humans can’t affect: 27 percent

n Climate change is not really happening: 3 percent

n Don’t know: 3 percent

This appears to support Murphy’s claim.

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