The Iowa Results Are In: On the Issues, Climate Change Is Second Only To Healthcare

Iowa Caucus Voters on the Issues that Matter Most to Them       Graphic: The Washington Post

The Washington Post and Edison Media Research, among others, conducted a preliminary entrance poll and, as we reported in advance of the caucuses, the positions of the candidates on climate change mattered most to more than one in five caucus-goers when choosing who to support, coming in above foreign policy and income inequality.  Similarly, the Associated Press surveyed likely caucus voters in advance of Monday with similar results–3 in 10 Iowa voters thought climate change was the most important issue and of those voters, support for Senators Sanders and Warren was higher than for other candidates, and an ABC entrance poll had similar results.

Why This Matters:  To state the obvious, Democratic Candidates should talk even more about climate change and Democratic voters want to hear more about their views on climate change issues like whether the candidate supports or opposes fracking or a carbon tax, for example.  There are many tough issues encompassed by what most media cover as climate change — including how much to spend on climate change programs, how much emphasis to place on retraining former fossil fuel workers, and whether to continue to research nuclear power.  With so many candidates, it is hard to keep track of where they all stand on the various climate issues.  It’s long past time to give climate change the attention and the candidates’ positions a harder look.  There is another debate coming up on Friday night on ABC.  There will be 5 debate moderators — will they follow their own poll’s results and ask more climate questions??  We hope so.

How the Iowa Climate Vote Broke Down

There was overwhelming support among Iowa caucus-goers for a carbon tax, according to the Washington Post survey on Monday.  In a poll taken last summer by George Mason and Yale Universities,  seven in 10 Iowa voters from across the political spectrum said they favor more government action to address climate change and even more recognized that climate change is having an effect on agriculture — a key industry in the state.  And as always more funding for renewable energy was also quite popular garnering the support of more than seven in ten voters in that poll.  Of those who thought climate change was the most important issue, Pete Buttigieg and Senator Sanders each got 26% of that voting block.

Republicans Want to Talk Climate Too

According to Steve Mufson of the Post, the GOP is increasingly prioritizing the environment, pushing for legislation that could offer solutions to climate change.  But so far that increasing interest has not translated to legislation or support for climate issues.

To Go Deeper:  Check out this climate policy tracking chart for the Democratic candidates on some of the major climate issues.


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