Waterlines: Confluence and Hope through Environmental Communication. The 15th biennial Conference on Communication and Environment (COCE). June 17-21, 2019, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

How Bipartisan Support for the Green New Deal Disappeared in Four Months

Abel Gustafson's picture
Gustafson, Abel
Rosenthal, Seth
Bergquist, Parrish
Ballew, Matthew
Goldberg, Matthew
Kotcher, John
Leiserowitz, Anthony
Maibach, Ed
Category of presentation: 
Scholarly papers

The Green New Deal’s rapid rise from obscurity to prominence enabled us to measure naturally-occurring partisan polarization unfolding over time at a national level, as well as explore evidence for a possible causal mechanism. Here, we report findings from a sequence of two nationally-representative surveys of registered American voters that measured familiarity with and support for the Green New Deal (GND) shortly before and shortly after the issue entered the national spotlight. We find that the Time 1 to Time 2 increase in awareness of the GND was largest among conservative Republicans compared to other political segments. Compared to liberal Democrats, about twice as many conservative Republicans had heard “a lot” about the GND at Time 2. Among Republicans, higher familiarity at Time 2 is strongly associated with lower support. We also present evidence of a likely mechanism: a negative “Fox News Effect” among Republicans. The data indicate that Fox News viewing is a significant predictor of familiarity with the GND and of opposition to it, when controlling for likely alternate explanations. The negative effect of Fox News viewing on Republicans’ support is significantly stronger than the positive effect of MSNBC viewing on Democrats’ support.