main article image
Wikimedia Commons

Climate Change Is Dividing Republicans And Democrats Even More Than We Thought

2 APR 2018

Over the past year, it feels as though climate science has been put on trial by the Trump administration.

The President's denial of climate change is no secret, and since taking office he has rolled back key environmental regulations, withdrawn the US from the Paris accord, and filled the top ranks of his government with likeminded individuals.


All the while, the American public has been watching.

Now, a new survey from Gallup suggests that during the Trump Presidency, the topic of climate change has become even more politically polarized.

Last year, 66 percent of Republicans agreed that "the seriousness of global warming is generally exaggerated" – hitting a record high. In comparison, only 10 percent of Democrats agreed.

One year later, while the overall concern about global warming has remained pretty much the same, the gap between Republicans and Democrats has widened significantly.

Since 2017, the number of Republicans who agree that global warming is exaggerated has grown to 69 percent. Meanwhile, the number of Democrats that agree with this statement has fallen to just 4 percent.

This isn't the only aspect of climate change that has become further politically divided in 2018.

The number of Republicans who agree that global warming is caused by human activities has fallen 5 percent in the past year, and it has risen by 2 percent among Democrats.

And while the number of Democrats who understand the scientific consensus behind climate change has remained at 86 percent, the number of Republicans who accept the scientific consensus has fallen by 11 percent.

Plus, in 2018, Republicans were found to be 7 percent less sure that the effects of global warming have already begun, whereas Democrats were 9 percent more sure that this is the case.

Screen Shot 2018 04 05 at 12.31.24 pmGallup

The results show just how out of touch Republicans are with the scientific community.

In reality, 97 percent of actively publishing climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends are extremely likely due to human activities.


And last year, over 15,000 scientists issued a second warning to humanity about the detrimental effects of climate change that are taking place right now.

"President Donald Trump, who has called global warming a "hoax," may have contributed to this widening divide by reversing a number of government actions to address the issue," the Gallup study argues.

The study points out that since 2016, the number of Americans who continue to take human-caused global warming seriously has remained around the 50 percent mark.

This stability suggests that Democrats and Republicans have merely become further entrenched in their beliefs, balancing out any increases or decreases in beliefs.

If the theory is correct, it means that as the Trump administration continues their attacks on climate science, Republicans will fall in line, while Democrats will only become more fearful of global warming.

The 2018 Gallup study can be found here.

Science AF is ScienceAlert's new editorial section where we explore society's most complex problems using science, sanity and humor.