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Florida Voters Support Climate Action

State: Florida flag | Climate_Nexus Polls

Ahead of the First Democratic Presidential Primary Debate, new poll shows Florida voters support climate action.

71 percent of Florida voters support government action to address climate change
81 percent of Florida voters are worried about the impacts of extreme weather
64 percent of registered Florida Democrats plan to watch or attend the debate

A new poll out today shows Florida voters are looking to candidates for climate solutions as they experience the impacts of climate change on their state. The first Democratic presidential primary debate will be held in Florida June 26-27 amid increased national discussion of climate issues. 

Among Florida voters, climate change is politically salient. Seventy-one percent of Florida voters overall and 85 percent of Florida Democrats say they support government action to address climate change. Nearly three in four (74 percent) Florida voters and nearly nine in 10 (87 percent) Florida Democrats say they would be more likely to support a candidate for political office who favors a transition to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. 

Climate change ranks as a top issue, along with health care and jobs and the economy, for Florida Democrats when deciding their presidential vote. When asked about the two most important issues to their vote for president in November 2020, Democrats in the state select health care (40 percent), the economy and jobs (25 percent), and climate change (21 percent). 

“Democrats in Florida rate climate change as one of their highest voting priorities,” said Anthony Leiserowitz, Director of Yale University’s Program on Climate Change Communication. “And they are keenly interested in what the Democratic candidates for president will say during the Florida debates.”

“The upcoming Democratic primaries are likely to be the first U.S. national election process where climate change will be a decisive issue” said Edward Maibach, Director of George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication. “As a greatly increasing number of Americans become worried about climate change—seeing it as a problem urgently in need of solutions—candidates who demonstrate their willingness to lead on climate change are likely to attract more voters.”

Climate change is a cause for concern among Floridians. More than eight in 10 (81 percent) Florida voters are worried they or someone in their family will be affected by extreme weather like hurricanes, flooding, and heat waves. More than six in 10 (62 percent) are worried they or a family member will be impacted by air pollution, and a majority (53 percent) are worried about sea-level rise.

Residents of the Miami/Fort Lauderdale region, where the debate will be held, report experiencing some climate impacts more acutely than others in the state. More than seven in 10 (71 percent) in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area say they are worried about sea-level rise, compared to 53 percent of Florida voters overall. Almost half (49 percent) report they or someone in their family has made physical changes to their residence to protect it against sea-level rise, flooding, or extreme weather in the past year, compared to 30 percent of Florida voters overall.

For more detail on the poll results, please see the summary memo and the poll toplines

To assess Floridians’ attitudes toward various climate policies, as well as their experiences with impacts of climate change, Climate Nexus, in partnership with the Yale University Program on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication, conducted a representative survey of 1,558 registered voters in Florida from June 7-11, 2019. The margin of error for this survey is +/- 2.6% at the 95 percent confidence level.