Global Warming an Important Issue for Undecided Voters, New Study Shows

Posted: October 22, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Tara Laskowski

Nearly two out of three undecided voters say the presidential candidates’ positions on global warming will influence their vote in the upcoming election, according to a new national survey released jointly by researchers at Mason and Yale University.

Consistent with other recent polls, the survey found that 48 percent of registered voters said they will vote or are leaning toward voting for Barack Obama, while 39 percent say they will vote or are leaning toward voting for John McCain. Nine percent of registered voters were still undecided as of Oct. 14.

While few undecided voters rated global warming as the single most important issue that will determine their vote, 62 percent of undecided voters, 64 percent of voters leaning toward McCain and 75 percent of voters leaning toward Obama indicated that global warming is one of several important issues that will influence their vote.

“Even in the midst of the nation’s financial turmoil, global warming remains an important issue for large numbers of voters,” says Anthony Leiserowitz of Yale University.

In the race to earn undecided voters’ trust on the issue of global warming, the two candidates are in a dead heat. Fifty percent of undecided voters trust John McCain as a source of information about global warming and 51 percent trust Barack Obama.

“In the closing days of this election, each of these candidates still has an opportunity to make their best case on global warming to these critical voters,” said Mason’s Edward Maibach, director of the Center for Climate Change Communication.

Surprisingly, however, 45 percent of McCain supporters distrust John McCain as a source of information about global warming, while only 15 percent of Obama supporters distrust their candidate on the issue.

The results come from a nationally representative survey of 2,189 American adults, age 18 and older. The sample was weighted to correspond with Census Bureau parameters for the United States.

The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2 percent, with 95 percent confidence. The survey was conducted Oct. 8 through Oct.14 by Knowledge Networks, using an online research panel of American adults.

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