Wisconsin Opinions on Global Warming: A State and County Summary

72% of adults nationwide in 2021 think global warming is happening.  Similarly, in Wisconsin, 69%, or more than two of every three people, believe climate change is happening. The range is from 61-80%. Only 5 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties are in the 61-63% range and five counties are at or above the national average, including Ashland, Bayfield, Menominee, Milwaukee, and Dane counties.

In 16 counties, 69% – 71% of people acknowledge climate change is happening. Sawyer, St. Croix,  Eau Claire, La Crosse,  Vernon, Portage, Door, Winnebago, and Rock counties are some of them (refer to map for others; select geography by scrolling to Wisconsin, then hover over specific counties). Pierce, Iron, Douglas, Dunn, Lafayette, Green, Ozaukee, Walworth, and Waukesha Counties are at 68%. Two-thirds believe global warming is affecting the weather.

62% of Wisconsin adults are worried about global warming (vs. 65% nationally). People in half of Wisconsin counties think global warming is already harming people in the US and 62% think global warming is going to harm people across the country. But, only 42% of Wisconsinites think global warming will harm them personally (national average = 46%).  40% of people in 38 counties think this, which is the same percentage of Wisconsinites reporting to have personally experienced the effects of global warming- but only across 21 counties. Could there be a link to the finding that statewide only one-third of adults discuss global warming at least occasionally or hear about it in the media at least weekly?

There was high agreement statewide on some policy approaches to solving the climate crisis according to the researchers. 78%, or more than three-quarters of people in all Wisconsin counties, support funding research into renewable energy resources and tax rebates for people who purchase energy-efficient vehicles or solar panels. Two-thirds think policy should require fossil fuel companies to pay a carbon tax and that strict CO2 limits should be required on existing coal-fired power plants.

In answer to the question of who should do more about global warming, more than two-thirds of Wisconsinites think corporations should do more, and 63% support citizens doing more to address climate change. More than half think Congress, the governor, and local government officials should act.

Visit the Wisconsin fact sheet, Wisconsin Public Opinion on Climate Change, for more information.

*This article summarizes data collected by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication’s newly released Yale Climate Opinion Maps (YCOM) 2021. The YCOM 2021 shows geographic variation across 30 measures of climate change beliefs, risk perceptions, policy preferences, and behavior.

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