GOP Candidates Whiffed the Climate Question Last Debate – They’ll Likely Do It Again

WASHINGTON, D.C. – At the last GOP debate, climate was a disaster issue for the Republican candidates, all of whom came up short when a young Republican voter asked about their plans to address the issue. This time around, we’re expecting no different. Climate change will continue to be a pain point for Republicans, who are caught between a MAGA base that demands climate denial and a mainstream Republican electorate that broadly supports climate action and believes in climate change. 


During the debate, Vivek Ramaswamy claimed he wasn’t “bought and paid for” – which couldn’t be further from the truth –  while calling climate change a “hoax” to a chorus of boos from the audience. Ron DeSantis failed to land any of his attempted punches, and the rest of the candidates largely sidestepped an answer on whether or not climate change is real and how they’d address it. Our polling shows that everyone on that stage has misread their electorate. Denial won’t win them the election. 


Polling shows that climate matters to voters across the board:

  • 82% of Gen Z said they are concerned about climate change, including 47% who were very concerned.
    • 77% of millennials said they were concerned about climate change. 
  • 69% of Americans say that they’re concerned about climate change, up from 63% in April 2023.
  • Over half (55%) of voters believe that climate change is “serious and urgent.”
  • A new Data for Progress and Climate Power poll found that two-thirds of voters (67%) say that “the impacts of climate change and extreme weather are kitchen table issues in my household” that they either sometimes or often think and talk about.