One of the most consistent areas for the Trump Administration has been its extremely anti-environmental stance on everything from national parks to climate change to pollution control rollbacks. The assumption is that Republicans simply do not support the environment, an assumption that I have always contested. A new poll may give the GOP and its leadership some cause for pause in that regard. There is growing unease — and majority — among Republicans over environmental harm. The numbers showing up for younger Republicans should worry the leadership. Trump and others have made the party synonymous with climate change denial and anti-environmental protection. That could ultimately force young Republicans out of the party even thought they share other values on fiscal conservatism, states rights, and other issues. With women showing a shift away from Trump and the GOP, the loss of young voters would leave a dim future for the party.
Some 58 percent of Republicans agreed with the statement “I worry about the damage humans cause the planet.” The percentage rises 18 percentage points among Republican voters aged 18-34 with 67% supporting the position. The number of Republicans reporting that they have changed their habits to “live eco-consciously” is up 10 percent.
While Trump remains highly popular with Republican voters, the GOP has been looking closely at how it will be able to maintain a majority party position with the average age of its voting base shifting upward. Trump could be creating a lasting wedge issue in the party with younger voters who want to be fiscally conservative but also conservationists.