Views on Climate Change Getting More Partisan

NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist National Poll

During this almost-certain hottest summer in recorded history, how Americans view climate change is increasingly defined by their political affiliation…And, skepticism of institutions remains.

While the news this summer has been filled with stories of extreme weather – record-shattering heatwaves, smoke-filled skies, and numerous flash floods – Americans have become less likely to prioritize climate change over economic growth than they were a few years ago. Meanwhile, their confidence in major institutions is, in many cases, at or near all-time lows.

Climate or Economic Growth?
With which one of these statements about climate change and the economy do you most agree: "Addressing climate change should be given priority even at the risk of slowing economic growth", or "Economic growth should be given priority, even at the risk of ignoring climate change"?
NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll National Adults. Interviews conducted July 24th through July 27th, 2023, n=1,285 MOE +/- 3.6 percentage points. Totals may not add to 100% due to rounding.
  • A majority (53%) of Americans support the idea that addressing climate change should be a priority “even at the risk of slowing economic growth” as compared with those who say economic growth should be given priority (44%).

  • When this question was last asked in 2018, 58% rated dealing with climate change as the priority and 34% said economic growth was paramount.

  • This movement is largely attributable to partisan differences. While Democrats’ views are largely unchanged, there’s been a 13-percentage point jump in Republicans who say the economy should be prioritized (59% in 2018, 72% in this poll). Of note: 12% of Republicans were unsure in 2018, and just 5% are now.

  • Majorities also say climate change is affecting their local communities (62%), that it is a “major” threat (56%), and that it’s causing “serious” impacts now (55%).

In each case, there are large partisan differences with Democrats significantly more concerned about climate change than Republicans. For instance, a majority of Republicans say climate change is not having much or any impact on their communities (61%), and pluralities say that it won’t have a serious impact at all (43%) or that it’s a “minor” threat (37%).

"Despite a near-daily stream of extreme weather news stories, Americans increasingly are treating climate change as a partisan issue," says Lee M. Miringoff, Director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion. "Nonetheless, majorities are concerned, especially about how climate change is hitting their own communities."

Trust in Institutions

Americans’ confidence in major institutions is low across nearly the entire board. Majorities say they have “not very much” or no confidence at all in Congress (77%), the media (69%), the Republican Party (67%), the Democratic Party (62%), and the Supreme Court (58%).

Only the FBI garners a majority (51%) who say they have a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the agency. Note, this is an all-time low in our polling.

Supreme Court

Nearly six in ten Americans (59%) say the Supreme Court’s decisions over the past couple of years are “moving the country in the wrong direction.”


Americans are unimpressed with Biden’s handling of the economy and international relations. A majority (57%) say his decisions have weakened the economy and a similar number (56%) say his decisions have weakened America’s role on the world stage.

The President’s approval rating stands at 41%, down from 45% in our June poll.