OSU Study Finds Conservatives More Likely To Support Climate Change Policy When Personally Harmed

Nov 25, 2019

Personal experiences with natural disasters often influence support for climate change policies. An Oregon State University study surveyed 10 communities from around the country.

Graph shows conservatives are more likely to support climate change mitigation policies when faced with a greater level of personal harm.
Credit Courtesy of Hilary Boudet

Respondents saw disasters including tornadoes, floods, and wildfires. Hilary Boudet, a public policy professor, said people were asked about their political affiliation, how they’ve been harmed, and if they supported certain climate change policies. Their response?

“Generally liberals in the communities we surveyed supported climate change policies regardless of their level of personal harm that they reported from the extreme weather event, but that conservatives indicated more support for climate change mitigation policy when they also reported experiencing higher levels of harm from the event,” she said.

While the study suggests that personal experience may move the needle on how one views climate change, particularly among conservatives, Boudet adds that more research is required to see how this finding might translate to other locations and relate to actual policy action.