MEMO: 85% of young voters can be moved to vote based on climate issues.

To: Interested Parties

From: Climate Power 

Date: December 18, 2023

Re: 85% of young voters can be moved to vote based on climate issues. 


New voter profile data from the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning At Tufts University (CIRCLE), supported by Climate Power and Action for the Climate Emergency (ACE), studies young people’s relationship with climate change. Analyzing data from their comprehensive youth poll released last month, the findings represent a blueprint for Democrats to make inroads with youth voters by strategically targeting their messages. Based on the youth profile analysis, 85% of young voters can be moved to vote based on climate issues, creating an opportunity for Democrats.

Of the four profiles of youth voters, the largest group, representing 40% of young people and known as “not directly affected but believe in their influence,” believe in their ability to influence climate change. This group of voters is more likely to be Black, younger, and from lower-income communities. A majority of these voters are unaffiliated with either party and identify with a range of political affiliations. If targeted with the right climate message, they present the biggest growth opportunity for Democrats. 

The second largest group, “threatened and want government action,” representing 29% of young people, reported above-average levels of exposure to extreme weather events and above-average levels of feeling that climate is a threat. These voters were much more likely than youth voters overall to believe that the government has a responsibility to address climate change and are overwhelmingly Democrats. 

Toplines of the other youth profiles include: 

  • 16% of young people are “exposed but feel powerless.” This group reported experiencing the effects of climate change and believes it is a threat at a similar rate to all youth. This group is an older cohort and represents a range of political identities, meaning persuading this group is a growth opportunity for Democrats. 
  • 15% of youth are grouped as “disengaged from the climate issue.” They report little experience with the effects of climate change and are much less likely than youth overall to believe that it is a threat. This group leans Republican and doesn’t believe that it’s the government’s job to act on climate change. 

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to communicating with young voters about climate change, and Democrats must strategically tailor their messaging to target their unique concerns and motivations to win in 2024.