70% of Americans Support The Government Taking Steps to Reduce Climate Change According to CBS Poll

By: Alex Trent | Published: Apr 22, 2024

A new CBS News/YouGov survey found that in a representative sample of 2,230 adults in the United States, 70% reported they would support the government taking active steps to reduce climate change.

This majority attitude among Americans comes amidst record-breaking temperatures in recent years, with 2023 being the hottest year since global records were tracked in 1850.

Addressing Climate Change

The survey, which took place between April 16 and 19, found that a majority of Americans agree that steps need to be taken to address climate change.

Participants seated in rows at a conference, taking notes on notepads and smartphones

Source: The Climate Reality Project/Unsplash

When asked when people should address climate change, 52% responded with “right now” and 17% said “in the next few years.” Only 11% thought climate change should be addressed “further in the future.” 20% of poll respondents think that climate change should “not at all” be addressed.


Opinions on Extreme Weather

Even though more than a majority of the poll respondents agreed that steps need to be taken to address climate change, only half of respondents said they actually experience extreme weather.

Storm clouds gather over an ocean.

Source: Daniel Lerman/Unsplash

This suggests that some groups of people support steps to reduce climate change even if it isn’t directly affecting them personally.

Personal Experience

When looking at respondents who think that climate change should be addressed “right now,” 69% of that group said they experienced extreme weather.

A protest sign for global warming seen outside during a rally.

Source: Markus Spiske/Unsplash

34% of survey respondents who said that climate change should be addressed immediately also reported that they have not experienced extreme weather themselves.

Age Differences

The survey also broke down the survey respondents into different age categories, finding that an overall a majority of people in each age group favored taking climate change reduction steps.

A climate protestor wearing a mask demands respect for Mother Earth.

Source: Ivan Radic/Wikimedia

However, the percentages varied among groups. 76% of people 18-29 wanted to take steps, while 79% of those aged 30-44 agreed. A lesser 68% of people aged 45-64 agreed on taking steps, while in the age group 65 and over, only 58% of respondents concurred.

Political Divide

As one might expect, respondents varied greatly when sorted by political affiliation. The survey found that 74% of Democrats agree that climate change needs to be addressed right now, with only 29% of Republicans saying the same thing.

A split image showing President Joe Biden on the left and former President Donald Trump on the right.

The White House, Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

49% of independents think that climate change needs to be addressed right now, just slightly less than the majority.


Taking Political Steps

When looking at the question of “Should the US take steps to reduce climate change,” an overwhelming 91% of Democrats favor positive steps. 68% of independents favor taking these steps as well, with only 48% of Republicans agreeing.

The United States Capitol, with its iconic white dome and neoclassical architecture, stands under a clear blue sky

Source: Wikimedia Commons

This means that Republicans were the only political party surveyed where the majority disagreed with taking steps to curtail the consequences of climate change.


Diving Deeper Into the GOP Numbers

While a majority of Republicans disagree on climate change steps, this doesn’t tell the whole story. When looking at Republicans aged 18-44, a 61% majority actually wants the US to take climate change reduction steps.

A red graphic of an elephant, symbolizing the Republican Party, with three white stars on its back against a white background

Source: Wikimedia Commons

It is Republicans aged 45 or over that push the consensus into disagreement, with 60% of Republicans in this age group opposing climate change steps.


Survey Methodology

According to CBS, the poll was conducted using a nationally representative sample of 2,230 adult US residents. The sample data was weighted to reflect the observed proportions of gender, age, race, and education seen in American society according to “the U.S. Census American Community Survey and Current Population Survey, as well as past vote.”

A man writes notes on a sheet of paper.

Source: Scott Graham/Unsplash

The poll has a margin of era of plus or minus 2.7 points.


Other Results

The results of this recent poll fall in line with other recent data that shows Americans are increasingly concerned about climate change.

Protester holds a homemade sign that reads “Climate Change Now”

Source: Flickr

AP news reported last week a poll they were involved in found that 45% of US adults have become more concerned about climate change over the past year. This number included 6 in 10 Democrats and around 25% of Republicans.


Climate Consequences

The increased worry about climate change among Americans comes as the cost of extreme weather continues to devastate parts of the country. A report released last year by the World Bank estimates that extreme weather events cost the US $150 billion a year.

An elevated photograph of two, large, two-storied, tan brick buildings are partially submerged by brown, opaque floodwater. The building in the foreground has a white facade with obscured signage. A white car is nearly completely submerged as various bits of debris float on the water's surface.

Source:Chris Gallagher/Unsplash

The World Economic Forum in October estimated that the cost of climate-related damage to the world is around $16 million per hour.


President Biden’s Policy

Under US President Joe Biden, The government introduced the Inflation Reduction Act, which is seen as Biden’s signature policy to address climate change.

Profile view of Joe Biden speaking at a podium in a formal setting, appearing to be in mid-sentence. He is wearing a dark suit with a blue tie and has white hair

Source: Wikimedia Commons

This policy allocates funding for incentives that attempt to influence businesses and customers to invest in clean energy sources. However, many US residents when surveyed don’t even know about the law, despite it already affecting some Americans.