Monmouth poll: Number of people who feel climate change is serious concern is dropping — especially among 18-34 group

Fewer than 50% overall feel it is big issue — and concern of younger adults has dropped most (17% from 3 years ago)

The number of Americans who feel climate change is a significant concern is decreasing, according to the latest Monmouth University Poll, released this week.

The poll found only 46% of adults saw climate change as a serious threat — down from a peak of 56% in 2021.

The reason for the drop may be more surprising than the drop itself. The poll found that young people (ages 18-34), who often are viewed as the strongest supporters of efforts to address climate change, were less likely to see it as a major concern.

Only 50% of those ages 18-34 felt climate change is a serious threat, down from a peak of 67% in both 2018 and 2021 — a stunning 17% drop.

Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute, said the views of the age group had impact.

“Support for climate action remains relatively high in absolute terms, but it has softened due to drop in the sense of urgency on this issue, particularly among younger adults,” he said.

In fact, support from government action among younger Americans peaked at 82% in 2018, before declining to 80% in 2021, and is now at 62% in the most recent poll (A 20-point drop from the apex.)

Among other notable findings of the survey:

  • 73% of Americans believed climate change is real and affecting the planet;
  • 23% of Americans disagreed on the notion of climate change;
  • Belief in climate change peaked in 2018 at 78%;
  • The lowest percent of climate change was 70%, back in the initial survey in 2015.

Support for government action against climate change also declined in the survey. Only 52% of Americans saw government action needed against climate change. The 2021 survey stood at 60% for this question.

Regarding government action, the survey found:

  • 59% supported government action, 36% opposed government action;
  • Peak for government support was 69% in 2018;
  • 66% supported government action in 2021;
  • 64% supported it back in 2015.

Some more points in the survey regarding causes of climate change, and the time to prevent climate change:

  • 34% saw human activity as the main cause;
  • 31% saw human activity and natural environmental changes as equally responsible;
  • 7% saw solely environmental changes;
  • 23% didn’t see climate change happening and 4% were unsure;
  • 51% said there is still time to prevent the worst possible outcomes, while 17% see it as too late.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from April 18-22, with 808 adults in the U.S.  The question results in this release have a margin of error of +/-4.1 percentage points for the full sample.