Climate Change Skepticism and Voting Behavior: What Causes What?

Rod McCrea, Zoe Leviston, Iain WALKER

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


Political will for action on climate change requires support from the electorate and low levels of climate change skepticism. Rational models suggest that skepticism influences voting behavior; however, other theories suggest the reverse direction of influence may also hold. There is a body of research on associations between climate change skepticism and political preferences, but this has been limited to cross-sectional analyses. This article uses longitudinal data and cross-lagged modeling to infer the direction of influence in a post-election context. We found that voting behavior influenced climate change skepticism after an election more than climate change skepticism influenced voting intentions. This suggests that partisan politics increases fluctuations in climate change skepticism, and there may be more or less opportune times to pursue climate change policies. Similar research is now needed in pre- and mid-election cycle contexts to determine the direction of influence over the election cycle
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1309-1334
Number of pages26
JournalEnvironment and Behavior
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes


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