MADISON, Wis. – According to a recent Wisconsin Conservation Voices poll, 8 in 10 Wisconsinites believe climate change is real and 6 in 10 believe we must do everything necessary to avoid its worst impacts. In addition, there is very strong support for government action, even amongst people who say they don’t believe in climate change.

The results from the poll show a deep concern for Wisconsin’s natural resources, especially its lakes, forests, and waters, and the belief that government should take action now to stop climate change.

“This poll makes it abundantly clear that Wisconsinites want our elected officials to prioritize protecting the things that make our state special and to face climate change head-on,” said Executive Director Kerry Schumann. “Nearly 80 percent of us believe human-induced climate change is real, yet there are still elected officials in Wisconsin who deny its reality. Decision makers have an opportunity to take action on an issue that has broad voter support and would improve our quality of life.”

Key takeaways from the climate poll

Wisconsinites expressed a deep appreciation for the state’s outdoors, food, and people. Respondents listed the state’s lakes, forests, and four-season activities as important to them. 

When asked open-ended questions, Wisconsinites associate climate change with the weather, particularly rising temperatures. They also identify water contamination, water infrastructure, and longer tick and mosquito seasons as top concerns related to climate change.

It’s clear from the research who voters place the majority of blame for this crisis: Republican politicians. When asked open-ended questions, Wisconsinites blamed the government and politicians, particularly Republicans, for standing in the way of action on climate change. No matter their belief in climate change, survey respondents strongly support government action on fighting it and its effects.

The majority of voters, regardless of whether or not they believed in climate change, were supportive of government action to reduce carbon emissions. Voters were especially excited to:

  • Reward farmers who implemented sustainable practices (90 percent support);
  • Require corporations to pay fines for damage (88 percent support);
  • Update water infrastructure systems with federal funds (88 percent support);
  • Offer incentives to small businesses and families to weatherize (87 percent support);
  • Provide schools with air conditioning and filtration systems (87 percent support).

One of the biggest surprises in the poll showed even people who don’t believe in climate change strongly support those same government actions.

“Water and climate change are top of mind for Wisconsinites,” Schumann said, “It’s clear that protecting our environment and our people is a primary concern. Unfortunately, in the current political situation in the state, these deeply held concerns are ignored.Certainly, this is not effective representation on the part of our elected officials.”

Wisconsin Conservation Voices commissioned Avalanche to do the poll of 1,553 Wisconsin voters. You can access the highlights of the Avalanche poll here.

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