Pew research survey reveals U.S. climate change views

Nearly ninety percent of respondents to a recent survey supported further development of solar energy systems. (Oregon Department of Transportation/flickr)

Jenna Ladd | May 17, 2018

A recent Pew Research Center survey details how U.S. residents perceive both the effects of climate change and the federal government’s response to it.

The national survey, which was administered during March and April 2018 to 2,541 adults, found that six in ten people living in the U.S. say that climate change is affecting their local community. Differences were observed by political leanings, with 76 percent of Democrats saying that climate change is affecting their local community and about 35 percent of Republicans responding in the same way. Political party was not the only differentiating factor, however. Respondents also differed in their perceptions based on distance from the coasts. People that live within 25 miles of a coast were 17 percent more likely than those that live more than 300 miles from the coast to say that climate change was affecting their local community.

Regardless of whether respondents believe that climate change is affecting their community, a majority (67%) of respondents agreed that the federal government is not doing enough to combat climate change.

So, what climate-smart policies were respondents in support of? Seventy-two percent of participants supported efforts to further protect the environment from energy use and development. Similarly, 71 percent said they would like to increase reliance on renewable energy. Solar panels (89%) and wind turbines (85%) received overwhelming support from respondents, regardless of political affiliation.

This survey’s results reflect responses from a similar Pew research survey administered in 2016.

On The Radio – UNI study examines Iowans’ views on water quality

(Iowa Department of Natural Resources)
(Iowa Department of Natural Resources)
Nick Fetty | May 9, 2016

This week’s On The Radio segment looks at a recent survey conducted by researchers at the University of Northern Iowa which examined Iowans’ behaviors and views related to water quality.

Transcript: UNI study examines Iowans’ views on water quality

A majority of Iowans are willing to change their behavior to help improve water quality, according to a University of Northern Iowa survey.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

Public Perceptions of Water Quality in Iowa: A Statewide Survey, produced by the UNI Center for Social & Behavioral Research, recorded answers to a range of questions posed to Iowans on their views on water quality. Seventy percent of those surveyed said they would be willing to change a single behavior to improve water quality.

Andrew Stephenson (Project Coordinator, Center for Social and Behavioral Research): “One of the many aims of this project was to gather baseline information on Iowans’ reported engagement in positive behaviors related to water quality, such as picking up pet waste, washing vehicles at commercial car washes, and properly disposing of hazardous waste. Using this information, the Department of Natural Resources will work to develop an outreach campaign that educates the public and encourages positive behavior change among Iowans to improve and protect the quality of Iowa’s lakes, rivers, and creeks. Additionally, these data can serve as a benchmark to which the DNR can compare future measures to evaluate the effectiveness of their outreach efforts.”

Water-saving behavior changes could include refraining from pouring fat or oils down the drain, avoiding the garbage disposal and composting instead, going meatless for one day per week, and even placing a brick or half-gallon jug in a toilet tank to save water when flushing.

For more information from the survey, visit

From the UI Center for Global & Regional Environmental Research, I’m Betsy Stone.

On the Radio: Iowans look to energy policy when choosing presidential candidates

(Daniel Morrison / Flickr)
(Daniel Morrison / Flickr)

July 20, 2015

This week’s On the Radio segment looks at a recent poll that shows Iowans consider energy policies when choosing presidential candidates. Listen to the audio below, or continue reading for the transcript.

Transcript: Iowa Poll on Energy Policy

Iowa voters consider energy production to be a major factor when selecting candidates for the upcoming presidential election.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

An April poll by the Consumer Energy Alliance found that 82 percent of registered Iowa voters said that they consider the energy policies of presidential hopefuls to be a major factor when selecting a candidate. The poll also found that 52 percent of Iowans support offshore drilling for oil in U.S. waters near Alaska, while 32 percent opposed it. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management finds that there are approximately 27 billion barrels of oil and 132 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Alaska outer continental shelf.

Proponents of offshore drilling say that it will create jobs and lead to energy independence, while opponents cite environmental concerns with the drilling as well as with the drilling of fossil fuels.

For more information about the poll, visit

From the UI Center for Global & Regional Environmental Research, I’m Jerry Schnoor.