Bipartisan panel of politicos: Climate skepticism does not harm Republicans in general election

Republicans, meanwhile, don’t believe that their candidates — the majority of whom don’t believe human activity is altering the climate — are jeopardizing their electability in the general by opposing changing public policy to address the perceived threats of climate change.

More than 90 percent of Republicans — surveyed last month prior to the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary — said they don’t believe a candidate who doesn’t believe in man-made climate change is unelectable.

“Climate change is simply not a front-burner issue to most people,” said one South Carolina Republican, who, like all respondents, completed the survey anonymously.

Another South Carolina Republican was blunter: “’I really like their jobs plan, but, boy, I don’t know about their position on climate change,’ said no blue-collar swing voter, ever.”

One Nevada Republican compared the issue of climate change to another topic on which the polls are lopsided, but few voters actually choose candidates on that basis.

“It’s like campaign finance reform,” the Republican said. “Everybody was for it, but few voted on it as a determining issue.”

Democratic insiders were split on the question of whether disputing the notion of manmade climate change would be damaging in a general election. Some thought voters would balk at a candidate who denies the balance of scientific research, but others thought climate change isn’t a major issue for voters.
“I don’t believe this is a critical issue for many voters when compared to [the] economy and national security,” said a Nevada Democrat.

A handful of Republicans want their party to embrace the idea of climate change — but not to enact policies that harm the economy in order to address it.
“You don’t have to be a tree-hugging granola liberal to realize that man’s having an effect on the planet,” an Iowa Republican said. “To blindly deny man’s effect on the planet is as intellectually dishonest as saying only the U.S. can fix the problem. The truth lies somewhere in between.”

Read more: