Although the coronavirus outbreak continues to cast a large shadow over the US presidential election, a new study suggests that concern about climate change is steady among American voters despite the pandemic.
Researchers at Stanford University and Resources for the Future found that a growing number of American adults care deeply about climate change -- and may be likely to cast their votes based on candidates' climate policy platforms.
Indeed, 82 percent of respondents say that the US government should do at least a moderate amount about global warming—an all-time high for public opinion on the issue.
Belief in the existence of global warming is also near an all-time high, with around three quarters of American adults (81 percent) saying that they believe that Earth has been warming over the last 100 years.
When asked the same question in 1997, only 77 percent of respondents believed that Earth's temperature "has probably been increasing" over the past century.
"The COVID-19 pandemic, the cratering economy, racial injustice, and so many other pressing societal issues have captured national attention and could be expected to shift focus away from thinking and learning about climate change. Nevertheless, the fraction of the American public who believes global warming is probably happening, a broad way of gauging belief in climate change, is both high and stable over time," Alan Krupnick, Senior Fellow at Resources for the Future, commented in the survey.
Though there have been no notable changes in the percentage of Americans who believe Earth will warm, the proportion of highly certain individuals has also increased from 45 percent in 1997 to an all-time high of 63 percent in 2020.
Even more surprisingly, nearly eight in ten American adults claim that global warming will be a very or somewhat serious problem for the United States in the future if nothing is done to stop it.
With less than three months before Election Day on November 3, it is still uncertain whether this growing interest in environmental issues will translate into votes for a candidate who will see climate change as a top priority.
Democratic candidate Joe Biden announced in July a $2 trillion plan that connects tackling climate change with the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
"These are the most critical investments we can make for the long-term health and vitality of both the American economy and the physical health and safety of the American people," he said during a speech in Wilmington, Delaware.