Time for some speculation. Interesting speculation perhaps, but speculation.
Did John McCain win New Hampshire due to Republican primary voters’ Global Warming concerns?
According to Time magazine, Global warming was one of eight key items for the New Hampshire primary, and the only substantive issue of the eight:
… Everywhere they go throughout the state, candidates from both parties field questions about global warming from voters … woe to the candidate who tries to side-step the issue. … That could result in some raised temperatures for Republicans who are still getting used to the idea that global warming might be real.
While far (FAR) from tremendous on Global Warming issues, John McCain has long been one of the (very) few prominent Republicans who ‘gets’ it on Global Warming, having come to a realization after the 2000 election, even to the extent of being a founding member of StopGlobalWarming.ORG, which is run by Laurie David, the producer of An Inconvenient Truth.
As I’ve written before, John McCain does seem to ‘get it’ when it comes to Global Warming. Amid the R candidates’ split between deniers, delayers, and those who understand science, McCain is the one who most is in the conversation ‘global warming is real, what should we do about it.’
I believe climate change is real. I think it’s devastating. I think we have to act and I agree with most experts that we may at some point reach a tipping point where we cannot save our climate. I don’t think we’re there yet, but the overwhelming evidence is that greenhouse gases are contributing to warming of our earth and we have an obligation to take action to fix it …
On New Year’s Day, the NY Times editorial The One Environmental Issue had this to say about McCain:
The overriding environmental issue of these times is the warming of the planet. The Democratic hopefuls in the 2008 campaign are fully engaged, calling for large — if still unquantified — national sacrifices and for a transformation in the way the country produces and uses energy. The Republicans do not go much further than conceding that climate change could be a problem and, with the notable exception of John McCain, offer no comprehensive solutions. …
The only Republican candidate who comes close to the Democrats with a plan for addressing climate change is John McCain, one of the authentic pioneers on the issue in the Senate. In 2003, along with Joseph Lieberman, Mr. McCain introduced the first Senate bill aimed at mandatory economywide reductions in emissions of 65 percent by midcentury. He also regularly addresses the subject on the campaign trail.
The other leading Republican candidates — Mitt Romney, Rudolph Giuliani, Fred Thompson, Mike Huckabee — talk about energy issues almost exclusively in the context of freeing America from its dependence on foreign oil. All promote nuclear power, embrace energy efficiency and promise greener technologies. Only Mr. Huckabee has dared raise the idea of government regulation, embracing, at least theoretically, the idea of a mandatory cap on emissions. The rest prefer President Bush’s cost-free and demonstrably inadequate voluntary approach, which essentially asks industry to do what it can to reduce emissions.
Note that “regularly addresses the subject on the campaign trail”. How often do other Republican candidates address Global Warming? Unprovoked by questions? Hmmm …
Now, let us be clear, John McCain’s approach to Global Warming is inadequate against what the science states is required to avert catastrophic climate change. It is inadequate … Yet, McCain acknowledges the reality and does suggest action to try to deal with the reality of humanity’s impact on the planet.
Yet, if voting in a Republican primary and concerned about Global Warming, to which candidate could we turn?
The weather was hot in New Hampshire on primary day …
Global Warming was one of “eight keys to New Hampshire” … New Hampshire voters, even more than others in the nation, are Global Warming aware due to efforts of organizations like the Carbon Coalition. Is it probable? Is it possible? Is it plausible that concerns over Global Warming tipped the Republican primary to John McCain?
Possible … plausible … but probably not provable.
It seems to be that pollsters did not view Global Warming as a legitimate issue of concern for Republican voters. While the Democratic primary voters had a chance to explain how Global Warming affected their voting (polling from NY Times Profile of New Hampshire Primary Voters provided below), no similar question seems to exist for the Republican side.
Hot weather might have won John McCain the 2008 New Hampshire primary. Might have, but we’ll never know for sure.
Global warming is
|78%||An urgent problem requiring immediate government action||37||39||18|
|21%||A longer-term problem requiring more study||43||39||14|