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Renewable Vibes > News > Blog > Climate change could potentially become the deciding factor in the 2024 election.

Climate change could potentially become the deciding factor in the 2024 election.

A recent study suggests that climate change may have played a significant role in preventing Donald Trump from winning a second term in the White House in 2020, and it could have a similar effect in the upcoming 2024 election. While climate change may not receive as much news coverage as other political issues, support for addressing the climate crisis runs deep in the United States.

Although climate change ranks below the economy, healthcare, and crime in terms of public concerns, around two-thirds of Americans worry about the increasingly chaotic climate and want solutions. According to a recent Gallup poll, only 2% of respondents considered climate change the biggest issue facing the country. However, a new analysis of polling data by the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Center for Social and Environmental Futures (C-SEF) suggests that the climate issue gave Democrats a 3% edge in the popular vote in 2020, which was enough to swing the election in favor of President Joe Biden.

The researchers at C-SEF admit that the specific number is speculative, but there is compelling evidence of some political advantage for candidates who prioritize climate action. Polls consistently show that the public is broadly concerned about climate change and wants action to be taken. Democrats have a significant advantage over Republicans on this issue, as they are the only party that acknowledges the problem exists. In a recent ABC News/Ipsos poll, Democrats were 26 points ahead of the GOP on climate, which is a larger advantage than their lead on healthcare or abortion.

While it is unclear how this support for climate action translates into actual voting numbers, the researchers from C-SEF suggest that a candidate’s stance on climate change could signal their competence and judgment on other issues. Voters may question the judgment of a candidate who does not acknowledge climate change as an issue and may trust them less on other matters.

Moreover, there is a growing realization among voters that climate change has far-reaching impacts on various aspects of life, including the economy, public health, and immigration. As the planet continues to warm, the effects of climate change will become more apparent and more significant as a political issue. The year 2020 was the hottest year in human history, and this record may be broken in 2024, leading to more heatwaves, droughts, floods, wildfires, and other disasters.

In contrast to the growing concern about climate change, Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans have embraced a denialist stance, clinging to outdated beliefs like “drill baby drill.” During his first term, Trump withdrew the US from the Paris climate agreement, rolled back environmental regulations, and supported increased oil and gas drilling. Even if Trump were to retake the White House, his advisers reportedly have plans for an aggressive attack on climate science and policies.

This denialist rhetoric may appeal to hardcore Republican primary voters, but it risks alienating other constituencies in a general election. This includes younger Republicans who increasingly want their party to take climate change seriously. Addressing climate change is not only good policy but also good politics.

In conclusion, while climate change may not be the most prominent issue in terms of news coverage or public concern, it may have a significant impact on electoral outcomes. Support for addressing the climate crisis runs deep in the United States, and candidates who prioritize climate action may gain a political advantage. As the impacts of climate change become more apparent, voters are starting to recognize the importance of this issue in various aspects of life. Denialist rhetoric from Republican leaders may resonate with some, but it risks turning off many voters, including younger Republicans who want their party to take climate change seriously.

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