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Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 1:21 EDT

The Impact of Candidates’ Statements About Climate Change On Electoral Success

July 6, 2011

Candidates gain votes by taking a “green” position on climate change — endorsing the existence of warming, human causation, and the need for taking action to address it, according to a new study of U.S. adults.

Among citizens who are Democrats and Independents, a hypothetical U.S. Senate candidate gained votes by making a green statement on climate change and lost votes by making a not-green statement, compared to making no statement on climate. Among citizens who are Republicans, the candidate’s vote share was unaffected by taking a green position or a not-green position, compared to being silent on climate.

These results suggest that by taking a green position on climate, candidates of either party can gain the votes of Democrats and Independents while not alienating Republicans.

These results are based on experiments embedded in telephone surveys of a representative national sample of American adults conducted in November 2010 and in telephone surveys of representative samples of adult residents of three states (Florida, Maine, and Massachusetts) in July 2010.

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