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Poll indicates growing concern over climate change among Washington voters

Amazon and other tech employees walkout during the Global Climate Strike on September 20, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. (Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

A new poll indicates that Washington state voters have growing concerns over the long-term effects of climate change, and support eventually transitioning to electric vehicles within the next decade as a means to combat that.

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The poll was conducted by a trio of climate change organizations, sampling opinions from 1,112 Washington state voters. Of those respondents, just under 43% identified as Democrats; 25% identified as independents, while another 25% were Republicans. Seven percent were categorized as “something else.”

While 86% of those polled reported driving a gas-powered vehicle, 59% said they either “somewhat support” or “strongly support” a current statewide policy under consideration that would require all new cars sold in Washington to be electric, starting in 2030.

Just 35% reported they either “somewhat oppose” or “strongly oppose” such a policy, which would also still allow Washington drivers to buy and sell gas-powered vehicles manufactured prior to 2030.

Without that proposed policy, 43% believe that the switch to electric vehicles won’t happen fast enough to avoid the long-term impacts of climate change statewide. Another 31% said they weren’t sure whether the switch would happen fast enough, while 26% believed it would.

An even larger slice of respondents reported concerns over climate change as a whole, with 75% saying they were either “somewhat worried” or “very worried.”

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The poll also sought to gather opinions over whether voters believed that recent wildfires in Washington have been induced, at least in part, by climate change. While someincluding President Trump — have claimed that the state’s recent spat of fires is the result of poor forest management, governors in California, Oregon, and Washington have all pointed to climate change as the primary driver.

Among those polled, 51% agreed with those governors, saying that they believe climate change is having a “large effect” on Washington wildfires, while another 25% believe it’s having a “moderate effect.” Twenty-two percent said they believe climate change has had either a “small effect” or “no real effect.”

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