LASER TALK: Polling highlights political risk of falling short on climate

Polling highlights the political risk of falling short on climate

Public opinion on climate change has shifted, and politicians will ignore this issue at their own peril.

A recent poll looked at what role climate change would play at the ballot box. “Half of Canadian voters (49%) won’t consider a party or a candidate that doesn’t have a plan to combat climate change.  Only 6% prefer a party or a candidate that ignores the issue.”

Over two-thirds (68%) of Canadians now believe humans have caused climate change. This is up from an 2013 Angus Reid Poll that found that only 58% of Canadians believed in manmade climate change.

Canadians understand the need for action. The 2017 Abacus poll found that over 85% of those polled believe the “consequences of taking no action on climate change will be severe, very severe, or catastrophic“.

The main reason that Canadians want to act on climate change is that they now see it as a moral imperative. This reason for action is consistent across political affiliations and provinces. Abacus concludes: “Most people who live in oil sands producing provinces and most people who voted Conservative in 2015 believe there’s enough evidence to warrant action and are unconvinced that action will be economically disastrous.”

Interestingly, Abacus polling found that most (79%) view climate action as a way to open up economic opportunities and that a transition away from fossil fuels can make Canada’s economy even more successful in the future.

In looking at ways for the Conservative Party to gain traction in the next election, especially with the growing millennial cohort, John Ivison of the National Post said: “[Andrew Scheer’s] opportunity is on climate change.”

LASER Talk Summary

The vast majority of Canadians:
• believe climate change is manmade,
• will not support parties or candidates that favour doing nothing on climate change,
• want action on climate change because this is a moral imperative,
• believe climate action will not hurt our economy, and hold these views regardless of political affiliation or province.


 

Previous Polling Data in Canada

Millennials, Elections, and Climate Change

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