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SYFY WIRE Bad Astronomy

Denying Climate Change Is Bad for Your Electoral Health

By Phil Plait

Some good news for a change when it comes to global warming: A new bipartisan poll shows strong support among young voters for taking action about climate change.

The poll was jointly run by the (Democratic) Benenson Strategy Group and the (Republican) GS Strategy Group, who conducted 600 telephone interviews (giving a 4 percent margin of error at the 95 percent levelâin other words, thereâs good confidence the numbers found are accurate to ±4 percent. It found that 66 percent of young voters think that we must address the problem of climate change, and a similar number think it is already affecting us (and it is).

A whopping 80 percent of the respondents support President Obama taking action, and even among those who are unfavorable of the President over half support action being taken.

Thatâs incredibly encouraging. And it gets better: 79 percent say they are more likely to vote for someone who supports action on climate change, and 73 percent say they would vote against someone who opposed it.

In other words, young voters are far more likely to vote for you if you acknowledge reality, and also far more likely to vote against you if you deny it.

And it still gets better: Those same respondents tie a denial of the science to âa much broader failure of values and leadershipâ. Words used in conjunction with this were âignorantâ, âout of touchâ, and even âcrazyâ.


I suggest reading the whole report summary; itâs only two pages, and itâs pretty interesting.

I can think of a long list of (overwhelmingly Republican) politicians who need to see this poll. I know that some are so firmly entrenched in their denial of reality that there is no hope of changing their mindsâa look at the House Science Committee membership is a good place to start. On the Senate side, thereâs no lack of head-in-the-sandism either. Iâm looking at you, James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama), John Barrasso (R-Wyoming), and a whole lot of other âR-whateversâ.

I have long decried how the firm and absolutist denial of reality has, in some cases, become a party platform for Republican politicians (and Iâll note that if you actively support science I will support that effort, despite your other beliefs).

Now, however, I can have some hope that this backwards stance will have an impact at the polls, and a strongly negative one for those who refuse to live in the 21st century. Thatâs fine with me; if they are not willing to accept science and face reality, I have no problem with our unemployment numbers going ever so slightly up. We all have to live in our warming future, and itâs way, way past time we gave these deniers the boot and got moving on making that future better.

Tip oâ the voting booth lever to The Guardian.

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