The effects of information and state of residence on climate change policy preferences
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Discerning the general public’s support of climate change policies is a significant part of understanding the political and social dynamics of mitigating climate change. National level surveys are a useful tool for furthering this understanding but present multiple challenges, two of which are addressed in this paper. The first challenge is that the U.S. public’s limited knowledge of climate change issues requires that information is provided in the survey, and that the content of this information is thought to be critical in eliciting accurate responses. Second, the use of national surveys may mask regional and state differences that result from the distribution of predicted climate change impacts and varying social contexts. We explore these issues by assessing the impacts of (a) the provision of information on climate change impacts at different scales (national and regional) and (b) the respondent’s state of residence (Michigan or Virginia) on climate change policy support. We found a modest relationship between state of residence and policy support, with Michigan residents less likely to support climate change mitigation policies than residents of Virginia. The provision of information on the regional versus national level of predicted impacts of climate change did not influence climate change policy support.