In stark contrast, the Republicans seem to simply not care about the environment whatsoever, when they are looking for a political candidate. According to the results, 83 percent of Republicans saying they would vote for the candidate who was silent on climate, 78 percent for the “green” candidate and 76 percent for the “not-green” candidate.
“The results suggest that by taking a green position on climate, candidates of either party can gain the votes of many citizens,” said Krosnick.
Assuming that Independent voters play an especially important role in determining the outcomes of elections, “our results suggest that candidates would do best to take green positions on climate change and would hurt their electoral chances by taking not-green positions,” he added.
Republican candidates might have even more to gain than do Democratic candidates by acknowledging global warming, he said. “In addition to helping to attract Independent voters, Republican candidates who take green positions may have some success wooing Democratic citizens in general elections, especially if their Democratic opponents remain silent on climate,” said Krosnick. “Taking a green position on climate will apparently not hurt a Republican candidate‘s standing with Republican voters, so this seems like a cost-free strategy.”
Krosnick noted that the new study does have certain limitations, because a brief survey can‘t include all of the issues and world events that candidates address during their political campaigns. Other factors could influence voters in an actual election as voters learn about the background and experiences of candidates, he explained.
“Perhaps most important, we did not examine what would happen in voters‘ minds if a candidate took a green or not-green position and was then attacked by his or her opponent for doing so, which could certainly be studied in future experiments,” he said.