Young and old Republicans’ fears for the environment diverge more than ever, poll finds

·2-min read

Increasing numbers of young Republicans are worrying more about the state of the environment than their older counterparts, according to polling published on Monday.

New figures, from Gallup, revealed that while less than 25 per cent of GOP voters overall expressed serious concern about the environment, those aged 18-34 are much more worried than their elders.

When asked to rate how much they personally worried about the quality of the environment, 32 per cent of Republicans aged 18-34 said they worried “a great deal”, compared to 18 per cent of those 35-54, and 14 per cent of over-55s.

Environmental concerns among the youngest group of Republicans has consistently outpaced the oldest group since 2001, Gallup noted – with the latest gap in worry between those aged 18-35 and those 55-plus, the largest it has ever been.

High-level of worry among 35- to 54-year-old Republicans was close to the oldest group, with both demographics polling lowest levels of worry in the latest four-year period. Meanwhile, young Republicans’ worry is near the highest it has been in two decades, Gallup reported.

How different age groups of different political persuasions feel about the environmental crisis (Gallup)
How different age groups of different political persuasions feel about the environmental crisis (Gallup)

Republicans older than 55 were also least likely of all age groups in the three groups to believe that the effects of global warming have already begun, Gallup found, suggesting a reason for their lack of concern about the environment.

When it came to Independent voters, those under-35 were more worried than older Independents. However, unlike Republicans, the majority of younger Independents were highly worried.

Overall, a near-record number of Americans (44 per cent) say they worry “a great deal” about what’s happening to the environment.

Nearly two-thirds of Democrats (64 per cent) across all age groups were worried “a great deal”.

The findings came from Gallup polls on the environment conducted from 2019 through 2022. The environment question has been posed to survey-takers every year since 2001, except 2003 and 2009.

Tackling the climate and environmental crises remains one of the most partisan issues in politics.

Not a single Republican senator has supported President Joe Biden’s bill to tackle the climate crisis and progress has now stalled once again after West Virginia Democrat, Senator Joe Manchin, pulled out of negotiations earlier this month.

Mr Manchin told senior Democrats that he would not support their attempt to push through an economic package which included billions of dollars to fight the climate crisis.

The US Supreme Court’s conservative majority also recently delivered a decision that threw up a serious roadblock to ambitious climate action.

The court’s conservative majority ruled 6-3 in the hugely consequential case, West Virginia v Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) this month. In a significant win for the plaintiffs – 19 Republican-leaning states and a handful of fossil fuel allies led by West Virginia – the court ruled that Congress did not explicitly empower the EPA to issue sweeping regulations under a part of landmark 1970 Clean Air Act known as Section 111.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting