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FAU Study: 90% of Floridians Believe in Climate Change

A Yale U. study found only 3 out of 4 Americans (74%) share that belief, and the study’s author says it may be due to Fla.’s “hurricanes and other extreme weather.”

BOCA RATON, Fla. – Floridians are more convinced that climate change is happening than Americans as a whole, and they more strongly support steps to address its impact, according to a Florida Atlantic University (FAU) survey.

The latest edition of the Florida Climate Resilience Survey found that 90% of respondents believe climate change is happening, consistent with earlier surveys that found 86% to 92% of Florida respondents had that belief.

In a separate survey from Yale University, only three out of four Americans (74%) think climate change is happening.

“Floridians might be more likely to believe climate change is happening due to their experiences with hurricanes and other extreme weather,” says Colin Polsky, Ph.D., the founding director of FAU’s School of Environmental, Coastal and Ocean Sustainability.

The survey also found that most Floridians want to do something about it – 69% support state action and 70% support federal action.

“The obvious hypothesis to test is that recent personal experiences with weather events increase support for addressing climate change, regardless of party affiliation,” Polsky says.

Of survey respondents, three out of five Floridians (60%) reported some level of negative impact by strong winds from a hurricane or tornado in the past 12 months, and 45% reported some level of negative impact from flooding.

What causes climate change?

While most Floridians believe climate change is happening, however, a lower percentage believe humans are a primary cause.

In the latest survey, 57% of Floridians believed humans are causing climate change. In a March study, 65% believed it.

Polsky said he expects that percentage to go back up, however, because the state added more than 400,000 new residents last year alone, and the last two surveys found that newer residents believe in human-caused climate change more than people who have lived in Florida longer than five years.

CES has conducted the Florida Climate Resilience Survey since October 2019 and now does so twice each year. The latest edition was conducted in English and Spanish from Sept. 22 to 28. The sample consisted of 1,400 Floridians, aged 18 and older, with a survey margin of error of +/- 2.53 percentage points and data collected using an online panel provided by GreatBlue Research. Responses for the entire sample were weighted to adjust for age, race, income, education and gender, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Surveys.

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