Time for a Political Climate Change?: How Elected Leaders Influence Constituent Climate Change Attitudes
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA)
Among the counties bearing the greatest costs of climate change and natural disasters, belief in global warming is lower. Our research explores this counterintuitive relationship between experience of climate change and belief in climate change using Yale Climate Change Project, elected officials rosters, and FEMA data from 2014 - 2019. Our difference-in-difference regression model measures the county-level interaction effect of five types natural disasters (hurricanes, wildfires, winter storms, severe storms, earthquakes) and the partisanship of elected officials. We predict that the partisanship of a county’s elected officials has a greater effect on the county’s belief in climate change than the experience of climate change itself through FEMA-recognized natural disasters. This analysis raises questions of how political parties discuss, portray, and weaponize climate change to shape voting behavior and political attitudes toward the subject.
Dr. Tat Chan