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Majority Of Americans Oppose Trump’s Decision To Back Out Of Paris Climate Accord

Donald Trump

A new poll from ABC News and The Washington Post shows that a majority of Americans oppose President Trump’s decision to back out of the Paris Climate Accord:

Fifty-nine percent of Americans oppose President Donald Trump’s decision to exit the Paris climate agreement, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Just 28 percent of people surveyed support Trump’s decision to “withdraw from the main international agreement that tries to address climate change,” as the poll, conducted from June 2-4, described the deal. While 13 percent said they have no opinion, 46 percent of respondents said they strongly oppose Trump’s choice.

(…)

Most people surveyed by the Post and ABC disagree: 47 percent of respondents said they expect Trump’s decision to cost the U.S. jobs, while 39 percent said they expect it to create jobs. Overall, 42 percent of those surveyed said they expect exiting the agreement to hurt the U.S. economy, compared to 32 percent who think it will help it.

A majority, 55 percent, said they believe the decision hurts U.S. leadership in the world, while just 18 percent said it would help American leadership’s standing.

In light of the fact that previous public polling has shown that most Americans accept the general scientific consensus that climate change is a real phenomenon and that human activity plays at least some role in contributing to it, this isn’t entirely surprising. The question is whether it will have any real political impact as we head into the future. If you dig deeper into this poll, you find that while most Americans oppose the deal and only 28% of the public supports it, the President’s decision is supported by 67% of Republicans. This is important in no small part because it’s rather obvious that this was a move that Trump is making as much to appease Trump’s Republican base most of all. Like the mediocre steps that he’s taken to “build” a southern border wall and “make Mexico pay for it,” it is intended as much to show that base that the President is following through on his promise as it is to be a new direction for American policy on the environment.

It’s unclear just how much numbers like this will actually hurt Trump notwithstanding the fact that a majority of Americans oppose the President’s actions. As I’ve noted before with regard to issues such as gun control, the answer to that questions depends on more than how much an individual policy is supported or opposed by the public at large. It also depends on how important that issue is to voters when they make their decisions about who to vote for in a given election. For example, while the vast majority of the Americans support gun control policies such as universal background checks, poll after poll also shows that this is a relatively low priority issue for most Americans. This is why Republicans are able to oppose these measures without really having to worry about paying a price at the polls. Similarly, it appears from available polling data that climate change is not an important issue for most Americans, ranking far below issues such as the state of the economy, federal spending and debt, and health care. Given that, while the President’s decision will likely have an impact on his job approval numbers, which continue to trend in the wrong direction, the odds that it will have much of an impact on what happens in the voting booth is exceedingly low. And that’s one of the main reasons the Administration believes it can get away with a move like this even in the face of opposition from most of the American public.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Argon says:

    Pruitt was on a morning news show today. He once again refused to address what Trump actually believes about global warming and the extent to which carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are responsible.

    Pruitt himself equivocated about the role of CO2 in warming, suggesting that its contributions were not ‘precisely’ known. That’s true but only in a limited sense. It’s not known whether CO2 emissions account for 51.025% vs 56.3% of the warming. The exact number will never been known with great precision. However, we know that CO2 is responsible for a large percentage of the total. We also know that humans activities account for most of all warming observed in recent years.

    Of course, Pruitt also never addressed the dissonance of why, if CO2 has a very limited role in warming, he talks about the success so far in reducing CO2 emissions.

    He also tried to make talking points about the ‘jobs’ case, noting that thousands of mining jobs had be added recently. Of course, he had to then acknowledge that coal mining actually represented a small fraction of those jobs, or basically insignificant in the scheme of things.

    Pruitt’s time in the discussion broke down to about 95% pivoting to avoid addressing the original question and 5% BS.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  2. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Not a fan of Morning Joe…but they tore up Scott Pruitt this morning for lying about coal jobs created, the substance of the accord itself, and for going backwards in terms of policies promoting fossil fuel usage.
    As for this hurting them politically…it will some, probably not much. Getting out was clearly a politcal decision (there is no diplomatic or economic explanation). So where is the upside?
    It’s the drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip that will crater Dumb Dons approval…and that’s the only way to get him out right now. Make no mistake, It’s critical to get him out because he is manifestly incapable of performing the duties of the office.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  3. Franklin says:

    @Argon:

    It’s not known whether CO2 emissions account for 51.025% vs 56.3% of the warming.

    I didn’t watch him, but Pruitt is probably playing with definitions in order to be intentionally confusing (either that or he himself is confused). Water vapor and clouds make up the majority of the greenhouse effect, and CO2 makes up the majority of the greenhouse gas mass and volume. But these were relatively balanced for thousands of years (i.e. did not cause significant warming or cooling for thousands of years) until we started pumping extra CO2 into the atmosphere. Correct?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  4. KM says:

    Republicans like business, much more then they like their base. Dropping out of the Accord is bad for business and Wall Street is letting him know that. Unless you can directly make a profit off ruining the environment like coal does, climate change has a direct financial impact on your business that eats away at small gains not following the Accord would create. For instance, dealing with sunny day flooding and severe storm damage can be hell on the budget and well as distribution line disruptions caused by said weather. Add in the profits from going green (or that the very least, the *appearance* of going green) in terms of actual money, new technologies/processes and social cache means that a company looking to stay afloat isn’t going to ignore future prospects for long.

    Money talks, BS walks. The only people who think this is a good idea think it was Madoff-type scam to steal their meager tax contribution in favor of redistribution to brown people.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  5. al-Alameda says:

    A new poll from ABC News and The Washington Post shows that a majority of Americans oppose President Trump’s decision to back out of the Paris Climate Accord:

    At this point, It really doesn’t matter if a majority of Americans oppose the president’s decision to abdicate leadership in this area – a majority of Americans did not vote for Trump.

    Is this an issue that is in play for the 2018 election season? Marginally I would guess, because the Trump base is comprised of flat-out-AGW deniers or, if they do believe in AGW, they do not want to pay taxes or experience higher prices to fund mitigations.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  6. LaMont says:

    It would be great if we got poll results on the people of Pittsburgh!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  7. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @al-Alameda:

    if they do believe in AGW, they do not want to pay taxes or experience higher prices to fund mitigations.

    So, that’s the thing that gets lost. We are all already paying for AGW…and it’s not cheap.
    One small case in point I’m just dealing with this am; here in CT, under the new building codes adopted in October of ’16, the top wind speeds have increased from 105 to 125 mph…an increase of ~16%.
    Every structure, of any kind, costs more to design and build because of that.
    And that’s just one very small part of AGW.
    Groceries cost more, already.
    Making the power grid resilient is increasing power costs, already.
    So the basics of shelter, food, and power are already more expensive because of AGW.
    The bottom line is that AGW is costing all of us more. It’s kind of like the old FRAM oil filter commercial; you can pay me now, or you can pay me later. If you think AGW is a Chinese hoax then the concept of “paying later” is likely beyond your intellectual capacity.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  8. Hal_10000 says:

    the President’s decision is supported by 67% of Republicans.

    One thing I wonder about as Trump’s popularity sinks is how much of this is “evaporative cooling”. Fewer people identify as Republicans but those who do are more likely to be Trumpistas. I’ve frequently found that when you divorce alternative energy/climate change/etc. from Democratic talking points, Republicans are way more likely to be supportive.

    It’s not known whether CO2 emissions account for 51.025% vs 56.3% of the warming.

    True. A lot of the temperature rise in global warming is not CO2 itself but feedback from a warming planet. That’s not as well-understood as we’d like, but the last two centuries indicate we’re at least in the ballpark of how much feedback there’s going to be. So Pruit’s point is the equivalent of “it’s not the fall that kills you; it’s the sudden stop at the end and we’re not sure what precisely we’re going to land on”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  9. Unsympathetic says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    If the Democrat party had any idea how to win at politics, they’d be taking positions against Trump and doing the house-to-house legwork to acquire majorities in all districts that are up-for-grabs in the next 4 years. But they’re not doing that — because they can’t admit their legion of fail that was the 2016 campaign.

    Hanging Trump on all Republicans is the gift that [should] keep on giving — if Democrats knew how to actually take advantage.

    “Getting him out” is not advancing any D cause — rather, it’s an own goal. Pence will be perceived as a steady hand on the tiller.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  10. Argon says:

    @Hal_10000:

    So Pruit’s point is the equivalent of “it’s not the fall that kills you; it’s the sudden stop at the end and we’re not sure what precisely we’re going to land on”.

    I think it’s more akin to: ‘We don’t have exact estimates, so let’s do nothing.’

    The trouble with Pruitt’s position is that his optimistic assumptions are on the very low side of the likely impact scenarios. It’s a very bad bet to make, particularly for the country as a whole.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  11. Pch101 says:

    Republicans don’t care about majorities. They only pay homage to majorities when it serves their interests, which isn’t often.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  12. Pete S says:

    @Pch101: Too true. The only majority they care about is the majority of Republican primary voters.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  13. michael reynolds says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Support for your theory:

    Democrats currently lead Republicans by seven points in party affiliation, according to a new Gallup poll released Tuesday.

    While 38 percent said they identify as Republicans or lean towards the GOP, 45 percent of respondents said they identify as Democrats or lean towards the Democratic party.

    The reason for the Democratic advantage, Gallup notes, has more to do with Republican affiliation decreasing rather than Democratic affiliation increasing. Republican party affiliation has dropped four percentage points since the election in November, while Democratic party affiliation has increased by one percentage point. The amount of Americans who do not identify with either party has increased by three percentage points.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  14. al-Alameda says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    So, that’s the thing that gets lost. We are all already paying for AGW…and it’s not cheap.

    Most of the costs of AGW are externalized, we’re not paying the bill on a current basis, we pay following catastrophic failures and we pay the ‘deferred action’ premium.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. Anonne says:

    @Unsympathetic:

    Hanging Trump on all Republicans is the gift that [should] keep on giving — if Democrats knew how to actually take advantage.

    Yes, and no. The problem is that this tactic continues to pin the blame on an individual instead of the Party. There is no good reason that the party that gave us the Iraq War and the Financial Crisis should be in power 8 years after they drove us into the ditch. Republican Party policies and tactics brought us Trump, not the other way around. Trump is merely a reflection of the rancid nature of the base, thanks to decades of poison streaming over our airwaves.

    By pinning Iraq on Bush, it allowed all the other cockroaches like Mitch McConnell to hide and come back to power. Democrats have a crappy messaging machine that lets the GOP itself off the hook, because people only remember (or forget) the one leader in power, not the enablers that put him there to begin with. Our increasingly short attention span enables this memory hole and the nation as a whole is paying the price for our inattention, innumeracy and illiteracy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  16. teve tory says:

    We’re dumping 38 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every year.

    I don’t know precisely how many bones I’m going to break if an elephant jumps on me, but I know it’s too fucking many.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  17. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @al-Alameda:

    we’re not paying the bill on a current basis

    You are correct, but you are also paying the bill on a current basis if you buy groceries, or pay a power bill, or are doing any sort of substantial construction project.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  18. teve tory says:

    One small case in point I’m just dealing with this am; here in CT, under the new building codes adopted in October of ’16, the top wind speeds have increased from 105 to 125 mph…an increase of ~16%.

    Whose bright idea was it to write building codes that increased wind speeds? Frankly I didn’t even think states had that kinda power over nature. 😛

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  19. teve tory says:

    So now we have to delete “Read more at outside the beltway blah blah” every time we cut and paste?

    Genius idea, guys.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  20. Guarneri says:

    They’ve been telling us for 40-50 years we are doomed……by next Tuesday for sure. Who knows, maybe one of these centuries they’ll be right.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

  21. Matt says:

    @Guarneri: You think you’re being clever but all you’re showing is your ignorance of the scales involved with AGW.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  22. @Anonne: Right on! You’ve nailed at least four major points.

    1. rancid nature of the [GOP] base

    2. decades of poison streaming over our airwaves

    3. Democrats have a crappy messaging machine

    4. the nation as a whole is paying the price for our inattention, innumeracy and illiteracy

    P.S. I also liked the part about “cockroaches like Mitch McConnell.” I would add: and leeches like Paul Ryan.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1