Research from Florida Atlantic University suggests Florida’s Republican and Democrat voters nearly agree on the existence of climate change but differ on the cause. According to the researchers, approximately nine out of 10 Florida Republicans believe climate change exists. Approximately 96 percent of Florida Democrat voters agree.
Regarding the cause of climate change, half of Florida Republicans believe it is a man-made issue, while nearly 75 percent of Florida Democrat voters would concur.
The FAU research suggests the difference of opinion on the cause of climate change could be a reason why lawmakers are open to discussing climate change policy in the Florida Legislature but rarely agree on a solution.
Colin Polsky, director for Environmental Studies and a professor of geosciences at FAU’s College of Science, said Floridians’ shifting attitudes toward climate change was a result of the President Donald J. Trump administration and then the COVID pandemic.
“This sequence of results – five surveys since 2019 – begins to paint a picture of Floridians’ attitudes during a period of particularly dynamic political, economic and environmental conditions. During the period of these five surveys, public opinion about climate change was likely shaped negatively by the Trump Administration’s 2017 decision to retract the United States from the United Nations 2015 Paris Climate Accord. Similarly, the importance of climate change for the public was likely diminished in response to new, immediate daily concerns associated with the coronavirus pandemic and economic crises it triggered. As such, these Florida opinion survey results about climate change can be viewed as reflecting public sentiment net of at least two significant external and independent influences on public opinion.”
The FAU research noted that Floridians’ views on climate change are vastly different than national surveys they observed. According to their data, only half of Republicans across the country believe in “global warming,” and only approximately 33 percent believe in “global warming” caused by humans.
Earlier in November, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced the appointment of Wesley Brooks as Florida’s next chief resilience officer whose job is to tackle climate change in Florida. The position was created during the DeSantis Administration in 2019 with the job description of observing “sea-level rise” and “other climate change impacts.”
– – –