U.S. Democrats and Republicans can’t even agree on the weather: Reuters/Ipsos
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Only 200 miles separate Michael Tilden and Miranda Garcia in rain-soaked Iowa. But they are worlds apart when it comes to their opinion of the weather.
The contents of grain silos which burst from flood damage are shown in Fremont County Iowa, U.S., March 29, 2019. REUTERS/Tom Polansek
Garcia, a 38-year-old former journalist and Democrat from Des Moines, thinks flooding has been getting worse in the state, which just came out of its wettest 12-months on record. Tilden, a 44-year-old math teacher and Republican from Sioux City, thinks otherwise: “I’ve noticed essentially the same weather pattern every single year,” he said.
Their different takes underscore a broader truth about the way Americans perceive extreme weather: Democrats are far more likely to believe droughts, floods, wildfires, hurricanes and tropical storms have become more frequent or intense where they live in the last decade, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.
Americans’ political affiliation can affect how people perceive the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll.
The divergence shows how years of political squabbling over global warming – including disputes over its existence – have grown deep roots, distorting the way Americans view the world around them. The divide will play into the 2020 election as Democratic hopefuls seek to sell aggressive proposals to reduce or even end fossil fuel consumption by drawing links between climate change and recent floods, storms and wildfires.
Nearly two-thirds of Democrats believe severe thunderstorms and floods have become more frequent, compared to 42% and 50% of Republicans, respectively, according to the poll.
About half of Democrats, meanwhile, think droughts, hurricanes and tropical storms are more common in their region, versus less than a third of Republicans, according to the poll.