Southeastern coastal residents outpace the rest of the state in calling for action on climate change, but not by much, as the issue remains a priority throughout the state, according to a poll released last week.
The poll, which was conducted by Raleigh-based Public Policy Polling for the North Carolina League of Conservation Voters, found broad support for stepped-up efforts to combat climate change and increase the use of renewable energy, with 56% of respondents saying that a major mobilization akin to the coronavirus response is needed to ward off the worst public health and economic impacts of climate change in communities.
A geographical breakdown, based on the state’s major media markets in Wilmington, Raleigh, Asheville, Greenville, Greensboro and Charlotte, put respondents in the Wilmington area as having the highest level of conviction of the need to take action on climate change. Fifty-nine percent of Wilmington region respondents saying that recent storms and sea level rise are very convincing reasons compared to a statewide average of 49%. Respondents in the Raleigh region followed with 56% and the Greenville area registered the lowest at 39%.
PPP director Tom Jensen said that throughout the poll, large majorities favor taking action on climate change and said they would favor candidates who supported stronger measures. He said the effect of the pandemic and the need to be better prepared appears to be driving greater urgency in getting ahead of impacts of climate change. It found that 61% believe leaders need to act urgently to protect communities from the worst impacts.
The poll was conducted March 13-14, as school closings were announced and the first major round of aggressive social distancing controls took effect in the state.