Washington, D.C. — The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) announced today that it would expand its now $3.1 million Change the Climate 2020 program to elevate climate action in the 2020 Democractic presidential primary to Colorado, Michigan and Wisconsin ahead of the states’ March and April contests. LCV also released new polling conducted by Andrew Baumann of Global Strategy Group of Democratic primary voters in all three states which found that addressing climate change is a defining policy position in how voters will choose their presidential candidate – tied at the top of the list along with health care across the board.
“The climate crisis is a defining issue of the 2020 primary — voters are consistently ranking climate as one of their top issues and choosing their candidates based on who is making it a very top priority. LCV is making sure the eventual nominee is committed to immediate action.” said Matt McKnight, Director of LCV’s Change the Climate 2020 program. “As the early primaries and caucuses quickly approach, LCV and the Conservation Voter Movement of state affiliates are uniquely positioned to keep up the momentum in the next phase of primary contests in Colorado, Michigan and Wisconsin, where voters are clearly demanding that the candidates run on bold climate solutions.”
Since May of 2019, the Change the Climate 2020 program has called on every presidential candidate to prioritize addressing the climate crisis and its outsized impact on low-income communities and communities of color beginning on day one as president through earned and paid media, tracking candidate policies and updates at ChangetheClimate2020.com, engaging directly with the candidates and their campaigns in partnership with LCV’s state affiliates in New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, conducting regular polling of primary voters, and telling the stories of people and communities across the country impacted by climate change.
Over the past eight months, every leading presidential candidate has released a comprehensive climate plan, the climate crisis is a frequent topic of conversation on the campaign trail, and countless public polls show that confronting the climate crisis is a top priority for voters. Expanding to CO, WI and MI, in partnership with Conservation Colorado, Wisconsin Conservation Voters and the Michigan League of Conservation Voters will keep up the momentum in what could be a long Democratic primary.
The results of a new survey of likely Democratic presidential primary voters in Colorado, Michigan and Wisconsin conducted by Global Strategy Group found that nearly all likely primary voters in the three states view climate change as a very serious problem or a crisis (79%), think climate change is already or will impact their families (87%), and want to see their leaders take action within the next year (81%). And by a two-to-one margin, likely primary voters prefer a candidate with a plan to take action on climate change starting on Day One of their term over a candidate who has not pledged to act starting on Day One (67% – 33%).
In Colorado, 59% of likely primary voters said they are already feeling the effects of climate change and 86% said it is personally important to them that the Democratic candidate for president has a plan for addressing the climate change crisis and moving the United States to 100% clean energy. Coloradans also want to see their public lands protected — 88% of likely Colorado primary voters said it is personally important to them that the Democratic candidate for president has a clear plan for protecting Colorado’s public lands and wild places.
“As presidential candidates head up to the Rocky Mountains, they should step up their emphasis on climate action,” said Kelly Nordini, executive director of Conservation Colorado. “In the past year, Colorado has made historic strides in battling climate change, setting science-based targets to reduce pollution. Candidates who want to win here should follow our example by making climate action their top priority.”
In Michigan, 79% of likely primary voters said it is personally important to them that the Democratic candidate for president has a plan for addressing the climate change crisis and moving the United States to 100% clean energy. Control and cleanup of toxic PFAS chemicals is also a huge issue for primary voters in Michigan — 95% say they’d be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports a plan to clean up toxic PFAS chemicals that have polluted many of their communities’ drinking water, including forcing the military to clean up PFAS pollution from its bases.
“Michiganders of all political stripes are increasingly concerned about their own health and the health of their children that continues to be at risk from toxic contamination in our drinking water and air,” said Lisa Wozniak, executive director of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. “Plans are fine, but our message to candidates is don’t come here unless you’re prepared to talk specifically about how you’re going to tackle these twin crises: toxic contamination and climate change. Michiganders are expecting it.”
In Wisconsin, 77% of likely primary voters said it is personally important to them that the Democratic candidate for president has a plan for addressing the climate change crisis and moving the United States to 100% clean energy. Wisconsin primary voters also want to see control and cleanup of toxic PFAS chemicals, 90% say they’d be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports a plan to clean up toxic PFAS chemicals that have polluted many of their communities’ drinking water, including forcing the military to clean up PFAS pollution from its bases.
“Wisconsin voters are clamoring for action on climate change and water quality,” said Kerry Schumann, executive director of Wisconsin Conservation Voters. “We’re seeing it in the many local communities that are committing to 100% clean energy. We’re hearing about it in the heartbreaking stories of people getting sick from drinking contaminated water. Presidential candidates need to be clear that they are taking on these issues in a very serious way.”
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Change the Climate 2020 is elevating climate action in the presidential primary elections and ensuring that candidates fully appreciate the scope of the climate crisis, make climate change a top priority, and commit to an ambitious plan to address the crisis on day one as president. None of the activities conducted through this program are intended to convey endorsement, support or opposition to any particular candidate — the goal is to promote the issue of climate action as described above.