Two thirds of registered voters in Texas believe that climate change is happening. But Texans are divided along party lines on the question of what the government should do about it, according to a University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll released Wednesday.
An internet survey of 1,200 registered voters conducted Oct. 18-27 found that 88% of Democrats say climate change is happening, followed by 74% of independents and 44% of Republicans. The poll has an overall margin of error of plus or minus 2.83 percentage points.
Nearly half of all those polled say the federal government should be doing "a great deal" or "a lot" about climate change, while 31% say the government should do "a little" or "nothing."
Broken down along party lines, 79% of Democrats and 41% of independents said the government should be doing a great deal or a lot, while only 18% of Republicans say the same.
More than half of Republicans say that the federal government should be doing little or nothing about climate change.
Texas Republican leaders have been slow to acknowledge a changing climate. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Gov. Greg Abbott commissioned a disaster report in which he referred to ways that the state could make itself "future-proof," but didn’t explicitly mention climate change.
"Future-proofing Texas means recognizing that the future is uncertain and that investing in strategic improvements now in recognition of future uncertainties is not only a good idea, but also good policy," the report’s introduction read.
Two constitutional amendments overwhelmingly approved by voters on Tuesday were largely a response to the catastrophic damage caused by Hurricane Harvey, which inundated large swaths of coastal Texas in late summer 2017. Scientists have agreed the storm was exacerbated by climate change.
Proposition 3, which provides temporary property tax exemptions for buildings and other property damaged in a disaster, passed with 85% of voter approval. Proposition 8, which creates the Flood Infrastructure Fund to promote large-scale flood-prevention projects, passed with 78% voter approval.
Sentiments on climate change can also be divvied up by age, according to the poll, which found that only about 2 in 5 voters over 45 strongly favor government action, while 60% of voters under 29 favor a great deal of government action.