The Paris Accords – What to make of the current polling

We recently released a poll renegotiation of the Paris Accords. Since our selection of this issue wasn’t a random choice — i.e. it was driven by a news cycle — a variety of other pollsters happened to release polls on the issue around the same time. It gives us an interesting opportunity to see how we line up with other pollsters on this topic.

Some of these pollsters include:

Washington Post/ABC.


And then of course there was the poll that the Obama administration quoted when first joining the Paris Accords.

Now compare that to the results of our poll, which found that 42% of America supports renegotiation.

So what can we make of this? It’s a tossup.  Some show strong support for the Paris Accords, one shows support for sending it to the Senate (ostensibly, to die), and one showing Americans support something along the lines of what the President was asking for: renegotiation. The answers lie in the framing. If the frame is: “Do you think Trump’s decision to scrap Paris climate plan will hurt the US globally,” this has potential for inflaming partisan feelings that push people to say yes. If the frame is: “Do you think the Senate should vote on the Paris Accords?” then Americans will likely respond affirmatively — government is doing its job, after all. They don’t see the long view that sending this to the Senate would be asking the Republican-controlled chamber to kill it. If the frame is  “trying to get a better deal for the US,” you might discover that a lot of Americans still reject the idea of Europe telling the US what to do.

The picture that comes to mind with multiple polls giving conflicting responses is one of a conflicted nation.  When it comes to these polls, its almost never “do you support or oppose X.” It is a nuanced question that appeals to a certain aspect of a voter’s ideology.  The framing that seems to have gotten the most traction is the idea that this is America venturing alone, risking isolation and ruin by disregarding these treaties. However, if this was framed as just “renegotiating a better deal for the US,” you’ll see a lot more people coming out in favor of it.

That’s all for now, stay tuned for a new poll on the VA Gubernatorial Primary.