Americans oppose climate pact pullout 2 to 1; plurality rejects the economic argument (POLL)

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Americans oppose Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord by two to one, with a majority saying the decision will weaken U.S. leadership in the world and pluralities rejecting Trump’s claim it’ll boost the economy.

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The ABC News/Washington Post poll said the public opposes Trump’s move by 59 to 28 percent –- perhaps not a surprise, since views in another ABC/Post poll in January were very similar.

But the intensity of criticism has risen: “Strong” opposition has risen by 7 points, to 46 percent -- a high level of strong opposition. Just 18 percent strongly support Trump’s decision.

See PDF for full results and charts.

Doubts are widespread in the poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates:

• Fifty-five percent think Trump’s action will hurt U.S. leadership in the world; just 18 percent think it’ll bolster U.S. leadership, with the rest seeing no difference.

• Fifty-one percent think the decision will hurt international efforts to address climate change; 11 percent think it will help. A third expect no impact.

• Cutting to the core of Trump's argument against the agreement, the public by a 10-point margin, 42 to 32 percent, thinks withdrawal will harm the U.S. economy.

• Similarly, Americans by 47 to 39 percent think it'll cost more jobs (for example, in the renewable energy sector) rather than create more jobs (for example, in the traditional energy sector).

Groups

Criticism is especially high among young adults –- 72 percent of those age 18 to 29 are opposed, compared with 52 percent of those age 50 and older. Opposition also is higher among college graduates (67 percent) vs. non-graduates (still a majority, 55 percent). And while 54 percent of whites are opposed, that jumps to 71 percent of nonwhites.

Views are highly partisan. Sixty-seven percent of Republicans support Trump’s decision to withdraw from the agreement; 63 percent of independents and 82 percent of Democrats, oppose it. Support reaches 55 percent among conservatives, compared with opposition from 64 percent of moderates and 88 percent of liberals.

Such differences carry over into views of the economic and international impacts of the decision. Those age 30 and over roughly divide on whether it’ll create or cost more jobs; young adults, though, think it’ll cut jobs by a broad 66 to 21 percent. This view also is much more prevalent among college graduates, nonwhites and along partisan and ideological lines.

There’s also a sharp gender gap on economic impacts: Women by 50 to 31 percent think the action will cut more jobs than it creates, while men divide much more closely, 43 to 47 percent. Women also are a broad 16 points more apt than men to think withdrawal from the accord will hurt the economy more generally; 50 percent say so vs. 34 percent of men. Expectations of economic damage peak among Democrats and liberals, as well as among nonwhites.

The results, in all, show majority support for Trump’s move within his Republican base. Just 21 percent of Republicans think it will damage U.S. leadership, for instance (vs. 56 percent of independents and 82 percent of Democrats). And only 17 percent of Republicans think it will hurt international efforts to address climate change, vs. 51 and 80 percent, respectively. (Fifty-eight percent of Republicans think it’ll make no difference in these efforts.)

That said, a combination of overwhelmingly negative views among Democrats, and majority opposition among independents, clearly tips the political balance. Among Americans who either are Republicans or lean that way, 62 percent support Trump’s decision. Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, far more, 82 percent, are opposed.

Methodology

This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by landline and cellular telephone June 2-4, 2017, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 527 adults. Results have a margin of sampling error of 5.0 points, including the design effect. Partisan divisions are 33-23-38 percent, Democrats-Republicans-independents.

The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y., with sampling, data collection and tabulation by SSRS of Media, Pa. See details on the survey’s methodology here.