Analysis of climate and other environmental questions on three regional survey projects conducted over 2017–2020 (9,000+ interviews) elaborate on the well-known importance of political factors by adding support for three newer propositions. First, strength of political identification predicts climate-change views within the ranks of conservatives but not within ranks of liberals, evidence that conservatives’ climate-change views are more politically determined. Second, factor analysis suggests that climate-change beliefs meet statistical criteria for being an indicator of sociopolitical identity, alongside the traditional indicators of ideology and party, or the newer one of Trump support. This result calls for caution interpreting models that include climate beliefs in addition to other identity indicators such as party or ideology among their independent variables. Third, having mostly same-party friends intensifies the already-strong effects of political identity on views regarding climate change, local weather, conservation, renewable energy, and wildlife management. Twelve examples show multiplicative (interaction) effects of political identity and same-party friends across different dependent variables, political indicators and datasets. These identity×friends results build upon other recent studies, confirming that sociopolitical feedbacks accentuate political divisions on the environment, and particularly so among conservatives.



Publication Date


Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Paper presented to annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, August 9 2020