Even conservative candidates can benefit politically by admitting climate change is real, according to a poll released Wednesday.
Stanford’s Woods Institute for the Environment found that both parties gained votes by acknowledging that humans are at least partially responsible for the Earth’s temperature increasing over the last one hundred years and then pledging to work to limit greenhouse gasses.
“Candidates who took a green position gained votes, and candidates who took not-green positions lost votes,” the study concluded.
University of California, Berkeley professor of political science Bruce Cain told Environmental Health News that that the study “is right.”
“If the spotlight turns to a global warming issue, it looks at the moment that there’s no heavy penalty or reward that will be attached to taking a position one way or another on the issue,” he explained.
“On taxes and the economy, the Republicans are singing one note. There’s no variation among candidates. The only way to win is by shining the light on the differences,” Cain added.
The telephone survey conducted last November asked 1,000 adults how a theoretical Senate candidate’s position on climate change could influence their votes.
Although a green position did not attract more Republican votes for Democratic candidates, it did allow them to energize their base and the gain support of independents.
“Republican candidates have even more to gain by taking green positions on climate” because they could pick up Democratic and independent votes, the study observed.
Seventy-four percent of Democrats and 79 percent of independents were more likely to vote for a candidate that took green positions. The study found a small decline in Republican support for candidates that took a position one way or the other.